The name of Van Cleef and Arpels was united in 1896 by the marriage of Estelle Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef. Ten years later, their families combined to found the prestigious Parisian boutique Van Cleef & Arpels. The following three decades would prove to be highly creative for the luxury brand. In 1939, VC&A becomes one of the first European luxe brands to travel the Atlantic and open boutiques in New York City.
Van Cleef & Arpels have traditionally seen watches as an extension of their jewelry brand. Their transition from jeweler to watchmaker began in the 1920s, during the creation of platinum chatelaine watches studded with diamonds. The unique ‘padlock’ design of their watch-bracelet “The Cadenas” in 1927 reflected their desire to combine function with beauty. Their exclusive timepiece range was launched in 1972, and sold as part of the Boutique Des Heures collection.
Five Unique Watch Designs
- The Folié des Prés: This exquisitely feminine ladies’ watch takes 120 hours of handmade work to create. A white gold strap is decorated with violet and rose sapphires in a floral pattern.
- The Monsieur Arpels ‘Dual Time’: This masculine timepiece features a steel case and dusky alligator strap. The lacquered white mother-of-pearl dial indicates the power reserve in addition to the date and time.
- The Pierre Arpels Yellow Gold: Personally designed by Pierre Arpels in 1949, the PA has become one of VC&A’s signature timepieces. A yellow gold rim around a white lacquered dial add to the individuality.
- The Alhambra Vintage M: This timepiece represents the mystique of the Middle East with it’s distinctive symmetrical club design. Mother-of-pearl inlaid with diamonds adds to the exoticism.
- The Secret Miroir Des Eaux: An innovative design featuring a watch hidden inside a secret drawer, this combination of onyx, diamonds and white gold is a truly unique collectible.
Five Innovations from Baume et Mercier
- 1923: The first gold watch with a leather strap was created.
- 1932: VC&A create the world’s first wristwatch made from enamel and wood.
- 1949: The round watch with an ultra-slim case was created by VC&A.
- 1990: The groundbreaking Mystery Setting is patented by VC&A – a process where diamonds are set individually on an extremely fine metallic net.
- 2006: The Lady Arpels Centenaire is created with a poetic complication that allows it to track the seasons.
Learn More About Van Cleef & Arpels
22, 24 Place Vendôme
Facebook Fan Page