Close-Up: Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium Poetic Complication

If you’ve ever wondered when Jupiter will next be aligned with Mars, Van Cleef & Arpels has a watch that will tell you. Its Midnight Planetarium Poetic Complication watch, introduced at SIHH 2014, has six rotating disks, each bearing a tiny sphere representing one of the six planets visible with the naked eye.

The disks rotate at different speeds so that each sphere makes one revolution around the dial in the time it takes the actual planet it represents – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter or Saturn – to orbit the sun.  Saturn’s revolution takes the longest of the six, 29 years; Mercury’s the shortest, 88 days. Time is indicated by a shooting-star symbol rotating around the dial’s circumference.  The watch has a whimsical feature: you can choose a day as your lucky day and then rotate the bezel until the red pointer is aligned with that day on the graduated calendar. When the day arrives, the Earth symbol (the blue sphere) will be directly underneath the star that is outlined on the watch’s crystal.

Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium

The planet module was designed by Christian van der Klaauw, renowned for his movements featuring astronomical indications. The movement is self-winding and contains 396 components.  The case is 44 mm in diameter and made of rose gold. The dial is made of aventurine and the planets of semiprecious stones.  Price: about $245,000; a diamond-set version (below) will be about $330,000.

Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium Baguette

This article was originally published on January 22, 2014, and has been updated.





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  1. I love the idea. Seeing the present planetary alignment of the solar system. Of course this particular sample is super high-end. But I would love to see another manufacturer bring out something swiss and automatic in the range of $3-6k USD. It seems like Omega would be particularly well suited to the task given their space program heritage.

  2. Garrett K

    As Robert Kiyosaki said in “Cashflow Quadrant”….. “I sat in the car that I want. Then Kim leaned over and said, ‘You want this, don’t you?’ .. I nodded, happily. She replied with, ‘Then go find an asset to pay for it.’ …. Soon I had my car, and we had an asset giving us more cashflow. We got richer and STILL got our toys!”

    Lesson – It’s time for me to go acquire an asset to pay for this delicious piece of artwork.

    Thank you for creating it! Worth every single penny!

    • Dick Pain

      G-Day Garrett,
      Your comment intrigues me.
      Can you enlighten me as to what ASSET you refer please.
      I’m up for the Lesson, when the student is ready the teacher arrives.
      Alternativly, hows your philanthropic nature !

  3. Lorraine Caron

    Do you make them for people who can’t afford the precious stones and metal. A poor persons watch who actually admires what you do and what it is about.

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