Inside Van Cleef & Arpels’ mesmerising watch exhibition in London

Van Cleef & Arpels is heading to London for its new watchmaking exhibition. 'Poetry of Time' will open on May 26 and showcase a rich archive of pieces alongside novelties introduced at this year's Watches and Wonders fair in Geneva

By Joshua Hendren

It’s time for London’s community of watch fanatics to delve into the wonderful world of Van Cleef & Arpels as the French jeweller debuts a new exhibition at Cromwell Place, a gallery space in South Kensington.

Van Cleef & Arpels white gold and yellow gold Lady Arpels Jour Nuit, set with diamonds, mother-of-pearl and yellow sapphires

‘Poetry of Time’ is the French maison’s first ever watchmaking exhibition in the UK and showcases over 75 timepieces spanning archival designs to modern creations, including brand-new novelties introduced at this year’s Watches and Wonders fair in Geneva.

To begin, guests can discover a display of heritage jewels and watches, including a platinum bracelet watch from 1925, bejewelled with white diamonds and onyx. The exhibition then follows six themes: astronomy, nature, dance, couture, love and luck.

The oldest watch being shown in the Van Cleef & Arpels exhibition is this platinum, diamond and onyx bracelet watch from 1925

The astronomy section includes the new Lady Arpels Jour Nuit and Lady Jour Nuit watches, which showcase a glittering night sky frosted with diamonds and a rotating sun and moon.

The nature section, meanwhile, includes the new Lady Arpels Brise D’Été watch, which brings flowers into bloom, and utilises delicate butterflies to take flight through an animation module to indicate the passage of time. 

Van Cleef & Arpels white gold and yellow gold Lady Arpels Brise D’Été automaton watch

Other highlights include the Éveil du Cyclamen automaton – created in partnership with the François Junod workshop – which displays the opening of a flower on demand, revealing a butterfly inside, and the Ludo Secret watch, a model first created in 1934, in rose gold and pink sapphires.

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