Watches: Van Cleef & Arpels Pierre Arpels Heure d'ici & Heure d'ailleurs
By Thierry Ané on March 1, 2014
“Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs”, time here and time elsewhere… There is only one watch brand that can name a timepiece this way without sounding ridiculous: the inventors of “Poetic Complications”, also known as Van Cleef & Arpels.
Thanks to a fruitful collaboration with Agenhor, the company led by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, the brand has turned the poetic display of time into a trademark and has released stunning whimsical models over the past few years. The now famous Le Pont des Amoureux perfectly exemplifies the originality of their approach and how poetic and romantic their interpretations of time can be.
Until now, however, it seemed that the concept hardly applied to men’s watches. Models like the From the Earth to the Moon timepiece are certainly beautiful and unique but they remain a little too fanciful to be actually worn other than extremely sporadically.
This year, with a wave of her magic wand and the help of Agenhor’s talents, the brand’s fairy transformed one of the most down-to-earth complications, the second time zone, into an understated and poetic interpretation of travel.
What makes the Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs model so special is the contrast between the simplicity of its design and the complexity of its movement.
Part of the understated Pierre Arpels collection, this new model is housed in a 42mm white gold case held by two unobtrusive central strap attachments and fitted with a shiny black alligator strap with pin buckle. The apparent simplicity of the case is matched with the purity of the dial’s layout. Two apertures at 11 and 5 o’clock respectively display the reference time (“Heure d’ici”) and the second time zone (“Heure d’ailleurs”). A slender baton-shaped hand traverses the distance between the two jumping hour displays to indicate the minutes on an arc of a circle track that faces the “Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs” inscription. Nothing else disturbs this white lacquered dial with a nice “piqué” motif on the centre.
To achieve such a refined presentation of time, the watch relies on the first movement entirely developed by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht and his team (not just a module added to a base calibre). At the passing of each hour, the watch comes to life as the two jumping hours and the retrograde minute hand simultaneously move. To store enough energy for these jumps, while maintaining the thinness of the Pierre Arpels case, the watch is equipped with a platinum micro-rotor with a blue lacquered design that echoes the “piqué” motif of the dial. Naturally, it can be admired through the sapphire case back.
The Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs embraces the poetic approach of the brand while remaining formal enough to be suitable for an everyday use. It manages to be original and elegant at the same time. It retails for $41,000.