Unveiled last January at SIHH 2013 event, the new Van Cleef & Arpels Ballerine Enchatee belongs to their well-known Poetic Complicationfamily of timekeepers that feature meticulously crafted displays that are (almost literally) animated by retrograde movements. Playful yet deeply romantic, this timepiece is seems to pick up where the gorgeous 2007 Poetic Complication Feerie left off.
Although the jeweler doesn’t say a word about the origin of the movement that powers this delicate watch, I have a strong feeling that it is equipped with the same (or, at least, a version of) Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 846 hand-wound movement that features an exclusive retrograde add-on module. We have already seen this caliber in the other member of the collection: the beautiful Van Cleef & Arpels Five Weeks in a Balloon model that was presented just over two years ago.
The pair of photos that you can see above and below gives a good idea on the workings of the watch. Somewhat surprisingly, the time is indicated not with hands or legs, but with layered veils of the dancer’s XIX century-style tutu: the famous skirt, which is usually associated with this high-brow dance form.
Shaped like wings of some exotic butterfly, the left part of the skirt indicates hours and the right one points at minutes.
To activate the display, though, you will have to push at a fairly large button at 8 o’clock, which will make both parts of the veil come to life, stay at their respective positions for a while and then return to their normal places.
Done in relief technique, the white gold ballerina is decorated with tiny diamonds that are complimented with similarly cut precious stones that serve as hour and minute markers.
Another four dozens of larger diamonds serve as a perfect frame for the blue guilloche dial, which is covered with more than a few layers of translucent Grand Feu enamel that gives the face of the watch its characteristic depth and make the timekeeper look even more refined (it takes a highly skilled artisan to make such a dial and even then you can never be sure that the part will come out of the oven looking the way youwant it to look).