Jean Bienayme, International Marketing and Communication Director at Van Cleef & Arpels discusses the brand’s latest novelties and what to expect for the coming year.
What can you tell us about the novelties Van Cleef & Arpels presented at this year’s Watches & Wonders?
This year the booth is inspired by two elements. The first is a garden – birds and of course nature which at Van Cleef & Arpels is a very important part of our DNA. Then we have astronomy – stars, planets – and based on that we have the three Automaton creations. Two of these are also inspired by gardens and birds, and one is inspired by the Planetarium. Then we have a very new watch; Heures Florales, which features new poetic complications, a new module, and a new story based on flowers. With this new bracelet, we are trying to progressively evolve through our sustainable bracelet.
You can see that the dial is three-dimensional, there is a layer of flowers, grey mother of pearl, miniature painting, gold skirting on the branches and also a yellow and white diamond setting. There are many layers with more than two hundred components just on the dial alone. It has a self-winding movement, so the oscillating weight at the back is also part of the story. What is most amazing about this piece, is that the number of flowers that are open indicates the hour, and the minutes can be found on the side of the case. With each hour that passes there is a surprise, so when it is two o’clock, the number one flower closes and two others open, meaning that the face is different each time. When it is two o’clock in twelve hours’ time, it will not be these same two flowers that are open. We are very happy with the reaction so far to this piece because it is totally new for us. We say that Van Cleef & Arpels is about enchanting, and I think with this watch, you can be surprised and enchanted each time an hour passes.
When stepping into this booth, it is like stepping into a magical, pristine paradise, and we can feel the consistency within the brand, tell us about this concept…
Absolutely, and one of the reasons you can feel that in the booth, is because on one side we have all the creations, but the booth itself is about crafts. There is the Bayeux Tapestry, which is a very famous knowhow in France, and then there are many other crafts featured and that’s what it’s all about. We can feel this in both the booth and through the pieces that are presented, and I think it expresses what you said and what you feel, about consistency. Van Cleef & Arpels is truly about craftsmanship, know-how and expertise at the service of a story and it is always the same approach throughout all of our segments.
How do you preserve the legacy at Van Cleef & Arpels whilst staying relevant to the customers of today?
When we see the evolution and the progression of the Maison in the markets worldwide there is an appetite for peaceful creation, but at the same time, something that’s based on very strong expertise. This means that our expertise gives value to the inspiration through the quality of the stones, the materials, and the work of the jewellers and the stone setters. I think that when you combine inspiration with expertise, this has a strong meaning for our clients and audiences at large. At Van Cleef & Arpels our clients can find something specific that they won’t find at another brand. You can love it or not, but it is always beautiful and made with the best expertise. There is a positive rapport with all of our proposals in all regions and I am sure it is because of the combination of these elements.
We have these beautiful pieces here with us today, but what else can we expect in the pipeline this year?
During this fair we are really focusing on these narrative pieces; Poetic Complication and Extraordinary pieces. This is highlighted particularly with Heures Florales, and then we have another chapter which jewellery watches. This part of our watch offering isn’t under the spotlight at this moment, but this year you can expect something interesting, deeply rooted in the inspiration of the Maison, inspired by our jewellery for daily wear. And you can discover that very soon.
What can you tell us about the jewellery offering this year?
In France, at the end of May, there will be a lovely moment dedicated to a jewellery collection that is dear to the heart of the Middle East, and in this collection, we will also have something related to watches. This will be interesting. Then at the beginning of July, during the Paris Couture Week, we will present an amazing high jewellery collection. When I say amazing, there is an incredible story behind it, a one-of-a kind story, but I cannot tell you anymore right now, because we want don’t want to ruin the element of surprise.