Van Cleef & Arpels’ tribute to novelist Jules Verne has led to an extraordinary collection, bent on bringing out the child within.
By Charmaine Ho
The words "art of travel" may evoke images of monogrammed luggage and exotic locales for many, but for 19th century French novelist, Jules Verne his images were of impossible locations and modes of transport that were then -- at best -- just figments of an over-imaginative mind.
The forefather of science fiction, Verne's popularity lay in his profound ability to weave extraordinary tales of adrenaline-filled voyages and swashbuckling adventures. He was a masterful storyteller, who entranced his audience much in the way that Van Cleef & Arpels has with its Poetic Complications -- making the French luxury house's Five Weeks in a Balloon timepiece a fitting tribute to a kindred spirit.
Like the house's beloved Lady Arpels Féerie and Lady Arpels Butterfly Symphony timepieces before, Five Weeks in a Balloon is equipped with the manual-winding JLC 846 that's specially developed with a retrograde module for Van Cleef & Arpels. A bird to the left of the dial soars higher with each passing hour while minutes are indicated with the balloon's anchor to its right.
This poetic way of telling time is brought to life with a layered dial that's been masterfully decorated with champlevé enamel and mother-of-pearl inlays, resulting in a three-dimensional scene that re-enacts the journey Verne's heroes made over Zanzibar in his 1863 tale of the same name. A worthy timepiece to continue Van Cleef & Arpels' 115-year-old legend.