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Hands-On: The Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Nuit Lumineuse, An Unusual Electromechanical Luminescent Watch With No Battery

This is a very attractive watch even without the sorcery stunt, however in comparison with some of the other high adornments pieces and Poetic Complication pieces it seems somewhat on the plain side (on the off chance that you can call a 42 mm white-gold watch with an aventurine glass and precious stone set, hand-painted dial “plain”). The lone sign that there is more here than meets the eye is the fairly mysterious little pusher set into the case band at 8:00 – and of course, the observant among us would also promptly take note of that this is a retrogade hour watch; there’s no moment hand, which given the artistic aspirations of the Midnight Nuit Lumineuse is not something you can truly hold against it.

You will also see that there is a specific constellation on the dial: Monoceros, or the Unicorn; the unicorn has been used as a design theme by Van Cleef & Arpels previously in its history and makes a return now on the watch. In the sky, Monoceros is a Northern Hemisphere constellation, close to the skyline, which is somewhat hard to see with the unaided eye, in spite of the fact that it does contain Beta Monocerotis – a gorgeous, triple-star system, which however just visible through a telescope, was described in the eighteenth century by the celebrated spearheading astronomer William Herschel as “quite possibly the most delightful sites in the heavens.”

Just as with the genuine constellation, a closer gander at the watch rewards you with something lovely to take a gander at as well. Pressing the catch set into the case-band causes six of the stars in the constellation to illuminate. What’s more, not exclusively is there no battery behind the light show, there isn’t so much as a regular generator.

Pressing home the slide triggers a mechanism inside the watch, controlled by the development, that causes a strip of clay to vibrate. The key here is that sure materials show a property called piezoelectricity. Piezoelectric materials will distort when you run a flow through them – presumably the most eminent model in watchmaking is quartz. Tuning fork shaped quartz crystals are at the core of each quartz watch: slice them to a specific shape, and pass a current with a specific voltage through them, and they’ll vibrate at a specific frequency.

The flawless piece for our purposes is that the converse is valid – on the off chance that you disfigure a piezoelectric material, it will create a flow. That is the thing that powers the Midnight Nuit Lumineuse. The artistic strip has piezoelectric properties – as it vibrates, it generates a flow, which lights the LEDs under the diamonds.

This is a truly astute and unique approach to energize a watch, and as we said, we can’t remember truly seeing anything very like it. It’s an absolutely superb new complication and we wonder a lot of how else could be managed this by Van Cleef & Arpels, who hold a patent for the mechanism. Certainly perhaps the most interesting complications we’ve seen in some time.

42 mm case in white gold. Dial: aventurine glass, white gold, smaller than normal composition, diamonds. Case back: etching on white gold reflecting the dial design. Restricted creation however not a restricted release; will be essential for the perpetual assortment. Visit Van Cleef & Arpels online to see other Poetic Complications .