or the random fluttering of a butterfly, accompanying the passage of time against a pastoral backdrop
— December 19th, 2016 —
To mark the SIHH 2017, Enchanting Nature™ comes to life as never before on the new Lady Arpels™ Papillon Automate watch. Equipped with an exclusive automaton module, it depicts the random fluttering of a butterfly, accompanying the passage of time against a pastoral backdrop. The scene is illuminated by a wide range of traditional crafts, gathered together at Van Cleef & Arpels’ watchmaking workshops in Meyrin, Switzerland.
The vitality of nature
One of the Maison’s cherished motifs since the 1920s, the butterfly is unveiled in a new light this year, with this automaton watch that expresses all the spontaneity of nature. A world of bucolic poetry reveals itself beneath the glass of the dial, punctuated by a delicate butterfly settled on a flower. As the hours and minutes flow discretely by on the right, it comes to life with random beats of its wings – two to five times in a row, depending on the power reserve.
When the watch is not being worn, the butterfly is set in motion 19 times per hour at irregular intervals, reaching a total of up to a hundred beats. The rhythm speeds up when the watch is on the wrist, with the same number of beats being reached over a shorter period – 30 minutes, for example, if the arm is moving actively.
This graceful spectacle is also available on demand, via a push-button that triggers five consecutive beats of the butterfly’s wings.
The savoir-faire of Van Cleef & Arpels’ watchmaking workshops
The decoration of the Lady Arpels Papillon Automate watch is remarkable as much for the diversity of craft skills employed as for the relief effect created by elements positioned at different levels. In order to evoke both the vitality and the delicacy of nature, the Maison selected several decorative techniques. The craftsmen at Van Cleef & Arpels’ watchmaking workshops in Meyrin are experts in all of them. Created entirely within the canton of Geneva in Switzerland, the dial brings together different enameling processes. The butterfly, whose wings are adorned with two shades of plique-à-jour enamel, appears on a flower of sculpted mother-of-pearl with an iridescent sheen.
Champlevé enamel contributes a soft bluish tone to the flowers, blending in with leaves that are also embellished with a gradation of curved plique-à-jour enamel. Developed specifically by Van Cleef & Arpels, this new technique combines effects of transparency and volume to highlight the depth of the dial.
The background accentuates the sense of perspective: a moon in paillonné enamel is reflected in water set with blue, mauve and violet sapphires. This spectacle of glittering corollas is also interspersed with round and pear-shaped diamonds. The scene continues on the back of the watch – with an engraved tableau on the rear of the white gold case – and on the oscillating weight, which is elegantly revealed.
Lady Arpels Papillon Automate watch
Case: 38mm white gold
Dial: Round and pear-shaped diamonds, blue and mauve sapphires, mother-of-pearl, champlevé, paillonné, plique-à-jour and curved plique-à-jour enamel
Case back: Engraving on gold and sapphire glass, visible decorated weight
Movement: Automatic mechanical movement equipped with a random automaton module and animation on demand, developed exclusively for Van Cleef & Arpels. This movement is the object of four patent applications by Van Cleef & Arpels.
Bracelet: Blue alligator, white gold pin buckle set with diamonds