Telling the time gets personal with the Alhambra secret pendant watch.
While the wristwatch has become the most recognisable silhouette of wearable time-telling instruments, the first personal portable “clocks” were worn around the neck in the 16th century. The pendant watch was valued not just for its function but also as a symbol of luxurious style. Van Cleef and Arpels revisits this classic timepiece style, for the first time, in the form of a secret pendant watch under the emblematic Alhambra collection.
A simple motion reveals each watch face when you need to tell the time. And when you don’t, the intricate workmanship of the pendant cover stands out. Echoing the design aesthetics of the Alhambra collection, each of the four creations is bordered by a double beaded contour accentuating the curves of the motif.
As much an exquisite timepiece as it is a detailed work of art in jewellery form, the four secret pendant watches have their dials concealed under the iconic four-leafed clover-inspired motif, each adorned with different precious materials that were carefully curated by the Maison’s gemmologists. The diamonds, for example, have to meet the highest gemmological standards: D to F for colour and IF to V VS for clarity, in order to achieve the intended sparkle for each creation.
The first design featuring diamond pave and yellow gold, sees these meticulously selected precious stones paved with the traditional snow setting technique – stones of different diameters are brought together to cover as much of the surface as possible. The results are dazzling. When the watch is opened to reveal the guilloché gold dial, the densely set diamonds set off an intense sparkle as light passes through the gold structure’s openwork. Every step counts in the detailed process, making it a statement piece that will stand the test of time.
The mesmerising radiance of guilloché gold is also present in another one of the new creations; an elegant mother-of-pearl dial concealed by guilloché rose gold, and embellished with 71 diamonds. Alternatively, if you’re a fan of the carnelian stone present in many of the Maison’s creations, the third design showcasing carnelian set in rose gold, beneath which a white mother-of-pearl dial lies, might catch your eye.
Finally, rounding off the secret pendant watch collection is a limited edition fourth model that features the turquoise stone. To find this striking azure blue stone in a quality that meets Van Cleef & Arpels’ stringent criteria is a rarity in itself. Complemented by diamonds set on the side of the case and around the dial, this rare beauty is a gem to behold.
Images courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.