Through the ages, nothing has captured our imagination quite like the cosmos. Galileo, Copernicus, Bowie, Madonna—some of the sharpest minds in history have focused their gaze on the skies, enriching our appreciation of the universe. And today, Van Cleef & Arpels is continuing in that starry-eyed tradition. On the heels of its astronomy-themed 2021 high jewelry collection, the luxury house has unveiled the Planétarium automaton: a one-of-a-kind kinetic treasure depicting the planets, sun, and moon.
Let’s call it out of this world. Thanks to the brand’s innovative watchmaking technology, each celestial body moves at its actual speed of rotation. Rendered in chrysocolla, emeralds, tourmalines, and tsavorite garnets, an exquisite Earth, for instance, takes 365 days to round a gem-encrusted sun, all the while being circled (over 29.5 days) by an opal moon. Across this microcosm galaxy, a moonstone Mercury, an agate Venus, a carnelian Mars, a chalcedony Jupiter, and a jasper Saturn likewise travel along their orbits in a feat of mechanical choreography, accompanied by a custom melody. Setting it all in motion is a shooting star that appears from a hidden door whenever the mechanism is engaged.
The Planétarium automaton is one of three new additions to Van Cleef’s pantheon of bespoke objects, which have quietly complemented its legendary jewelry and timepieces since the brand was founded in 1906. Noted commissions have included an enameled-gold replica of one socialite’s yacht that doubled as a butler’s bell, and a vivarium of gold, lapis lazuli, and coral that served as a home for a maharaja’s frog. Heavens, Van Cleef has seen it all. vancleef.com