Historical Perspectives: Van Cleef & Arpels And The Unusual Cadenas Wristwatch

Historical Perspectives: Van Cleef & Arpels And The Unusual Cadenas Wristwatch

A Little Bit About Van Cleef & Arpels

This story begins route back in 1898, when a lady named Estelle Arpels wedded a man named Alfred Van Cleef. Both Van Cleef and Arpels came from families with an interest in the gemstone business. Van Cleef’s dad, Charles, was a gemstone shaper in Amsterdam before he moved to Paris and had Alfred in 1873. Estelle Arpels was the little girl of Léon Arpels, who was an unmistakable valuable stone vendor in his own right. 

A close up of the dial on the first 1940s Cadenas.

From above, you can truly perceive how the Cadenas (or ‘Lock’) got its name.

Shortly subsequent to getting hitched, Estelle, Alfred, and Estelle’s sibling Charles set up a jewel managing business in a second floor office at 34 Rue Drouot in Paris. The business developed rapidly and the company moved to 22 Place Vendome not long after in 1906, where the store actually lives today. Estelle’s different siblings Julien and Louis joined the company in 1908 and 1912, individually. Which began as an unassuming four-man precious stone managing business developed into an all out 14-man extravagance gems house by 1912. 

The hand-engraved Van Cleef signature on the caseback of a late 1930s Cadenas watch.

Van Cleef & Arpels proceeded with its development by following well off customers to their late spring homes in Dinard, Nice, Deauville, and Vichy, opening more modest shops in every one of those areas. Van Cleef & Arpels before long got perhaps the most noticeable and alluring brands among the world’s first class. Something to recollect was that in the mid 1900s Paris was in its prime. It was undisputedly the world capital of culture. Ladies of a specific social standing used to have their pieces of clothing made solely in Paris, paying little heed to where they were from and where they lived. The world’s elite rushed to Paris to be important for the flourishing social and expressions scenes. VCA’s gems is an impression of that time.

Early 1940s Van Cleef and Arpels ‘Ressort’ (loop) bracelet with “Cadenas” (latch) catch. (Picture: Van Cleef and Arpels by Sylvie Raulet)

In expansion to being quite possibly the most esteemed goldsmiths in Paris, Van Cleef & Arpels was likewise known for pushing limits. During the 1920s, a yearly deal (wheeze!) was presented from December 10-31, where each piece was indexed and sold at a profoundly limited value, a lot to the disappointment of the competitors. Furthermore, VCA kept on making surprising and extraordinary bits of gems with one of a kind methods, for example, serti invisible, which was licensed in 1933 (patent no. 764,966, in the event that you were interested). This strategy took into account stones to be set flawlessly and without metal prongs so it showed up as though the stones were held together by nothing. This procedure truly raised the Van Cleef & Arpels brand, is as yet used today.

Van Cleef and Arpels bracelet with serti invisible rubies, 1980. (Photograph: Van Cleef and Arpels by Sylvie Raulet)

Soon everybody needed to wear Van Cleef & Arpels and the rundown of acclaimed and illustrious customer base was broad. Van Cleef & Arpels got private commissions from any semblance of King Farouk, the Prince of Nepal, Prince Ibrahaim of Egypt, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, and acclaimed adornments darling Elizabeth Taylor. These uncommon customers permitted the maison to make some insane bits of gems with crazy stones – think accessories with 90 carat jewels (indeed, jewels plural). Plainly, VCA had set up itself as a market leader. 

Getting Into Timepieces

So at this point, you are probably asking yourself, “what the hell does this have to do with watches?” Well, a ton. While Van Cleef & Arpels was not a leader when it came to horological advances, the brand was positively up there when it came to early wristwatch plan. Ladies were dynamic watch wearers at the turn of the 20th century. Keep in mind, it was a women’s interminable schedule watch development that was set in the main unending schedule wristwatch by Patek Philippe in 1925. 

A Van Cleef and Arpels ‘shade’ watch, 1939. (Picture: Van Cleef and Arpels by Sylvie Raulet)

In the last part of the 1920s, women’s watches were still frequently worn on chains or pendants, yet Van Cleef & Arpels moved away from this by actualizing bracelet watches. There were four explicit lines of women’s wristwatches created by Van Cleef & Arpels from the 1930s. They were the Shutter watch, the Maguerite (a clasp joined to a chain), the Diabolo bracelet watch, and the Cadenas or “lock.” The Cadenas stayed underway until the 1960s and was as of late resurrected by Van Cleef & Arpels in 2015.

Two Van Cleef and Arpels Cadenas watches with sapphires and precious stones, from 1936 and 1935, separately. (Photographs: Van Cleef and Arpels by Sylvie Raulet)

The Cadenas Watch

First delivered in 1935, the Cadenas watch is perhaps the most famous watches at any point made by Van Cleef & Arpels. Rumors from far and wide suggest that Wallis Simpson (the Duchess of Windsor at that point) herself motivated the plan, yet this presently can’t seem to be affirmed (she definitely  possessed one  though). The configuration gets its name from the lock formed catch that hooks onto the snake like bracelet. The top of the watch is trapezoidal and the dial of the watch is place on a point so when you wear the watch the dial lies opposite to the plane of your wrist. You read it practically like you would peruse a men’s driving watch.

A close up of the Cadenas’ calculated dial.

The utilization of serti invisible stone setting strategy takes into consideration a consistent look.

More regularly that not, the watch included some sort of pearl setting as well, regardless of whether it be along the top of the case or a tidying all through. It was normal to see the usage of the protected serti invisible for which Van Cleef & Arpels was acclaimed, and you can see that on the watch here with sapphires on top of the case. I have seen different models with rubies and jewels, and some without stones by any means. A large portion of these watches were not worn especially hard, so there are models out there still, and many are in acceptable condition.

The within the sapphire-set clasp.

The Van Cleef and Arpels Cadenas has a profile not at all like some other watch.

The watch you see here was created in the last part of the 1930s and is set apart with French measure marks, and the fasten is numbered 55705. The 18k yellow gold case is endorsed by Van Cleef & Arpels on the underside, close to the twisting crown on the back. The case estimates 25mm by 17mm and it is set with seven square-cut sapphires, while the fasten is set with another five square-cut sapphires. The two settings include the serti invisible technique – notice you don’t perceive any setting prongs, simply the actual stones. The bracelet is a coordinated twofold yellow gold snake style bracelet with a pivoted tear-drop formed clasp.

A close up of the snake-like twofold chain bracelet.

One of the best highlights of this watch is the smooth surface of the bracelet and the way that it falls on the wrist. In contrast to, say, a Rolex bracelet, which you need all the more intently fitted on the wrist, this watch is intended to wrap gently, making it one truly exquisite watch. The dial is minuscule and somewhat difficult to peruse cautiously as planned. Notwithstanding, recollect that this watch is an impression of the occasions. During the 1930s and 1940s ladies who might wear this watch weren’t likely as worried about time as we are today (recall, the end of the week wasn’t so much as a thought until 1929), so they didn’t require a major watch to disclose to them when the time had come to go to their next arrangement. They additionally unquestionably wouldn’t have worn this watch with pants, yet I believe it’s a really incredible look.

The vintage Cadenas on the wrist.

The dial is determined to a point, so the watch resembles a basic bracelet to others.

Another fascinating element is the minuscule, physically twisted Cyma type 354 inside. The Swiss maker was established in 1862 and flourished during the 1920s and 1930s, both in creating developments for watches like this one, and for making its own watches. Entertainingly, simultaneously as this watch was created, Cyma was making military looks for warriors in World War II. Finding a starker difference between two watches would be difficult.

The Cyma type 354 inside the Cadenas.

The Cadenas Today

In my assessment, the Cadenas has kept up its status today as one of a definitive women’s watches. Vintage models are still present in the bartering market, anyway you will in general see them in adornments deals rather than watch deals. The costs change from $5,000 to $15,000 contingent upon age, condition, and gemstones. Some of the time they get insane costs like the one that had a place with the Duchess of Windsor that sold for CHF 362,500 back in 2011. 

The current Van Cleef and Arpels Cadenas.

Van Cleef & Arpels additionally brought the Cadenas back  in an advanced understanding at SIHH 2015. The plan is practically indistinguishable, except for a refreshed quartz development, new jewel setting, and an alternate dial design. Van Cleef & Arpels proceeds to rethink this exemplary with new gemstone and bracelet alternatives, with the watches retailing from $20,800 up to $153,000.

The new mark on the advanced Van Cleef and Arpels Cadenas.

For me, these watches are a lovely portrayal of a past time. The vintage pieces are very much created, perfectly completed, and are inconceivably exquisite on the wrist. They represent a period in the watch and adornments world when individuals were stretching the limits and doing truly cool things, all during a time a long time before you could share insane wristshots on Instagram. It’s stunning to perceive how far we have come and how the business proceeds to evolve. 

For more, visit Van Cleef & Arpels on the web .