As per its usual SIHH tradition, Van Cleef & Arpels rolled out an array of notable timepieces for ladies this year, including an amazing astronomical complication that we will explore in depth in the coming weeks. Not to be overlooked, however, was the one new gentlemen’s watch that the master jeweler unveiled — the Midnight Heure d’Ici & Heure d’Ailleurs, a clever new take on the classical GMT watch.
The watch — whose name en français literally means “Time Here and Time Elsewhere” — comes in a 42-mm-diameter case made of rose gold that houses a self-winding dual-time movement developed exclusively for Van Cleef & Arpels in a partnership with the movement specialists at Agenhor (Atelier Genevois d’Horlogerie). It combines a jumping hour — two of them, actually, representing two time zones — with a retrograde minutes hand. The “Heure d’Ici,” or reference time, is indicated in a window at the top of the dial at 11 o’clock, while the “Heure d’Ailleurs,” or second time zone, is displayed in the lower aperture at 5 o’clock. These hours digits jump simultaneously when the retrograde minutes hand hits 60 on the graduated scale thanks to a sector that synchronizes both hour disks with the hand. At the start of each hour, of course, the minutes hand will snap back to its zero position to begin counting down the next hour.
The generously proportioned dial, framed by a thin rose-gold bezel, is made of black galvanic brass and catches the eye with its stamped, radiating sunburst motif. The applied numerals, indices, and frames around the jumping-hour windows are made of the same rose gold as the case. The single, rose-gold crown is used both to wind the movement (which amasses a 48-hour power reserve) and to set the dual time zone displays. The Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Heure d’Ici & Heure d’Ailleurs, which joins the brand’s permanent collection when it launches at retail in July, comes on a black alligator strap with a rose-gold folding buckle. The price is $28,300.