Cover Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier watch in rose, white and yellow gold with pink sapphires, white & yellow diamonds and white mother-of-pearl with a self-winding mechanical movement equipped with a flower-opening module for the hours and lateral minutes display

Van Cleef & Arpels took home the prizes for Innovation and Mechanical Clock at the prestigious watchmaking awards

Widely considered to be the Oscars of the watchmaking world, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) is an annual competition that recognises the finest horological creations from the last 12 months. This year, 21 prizes were handed out across various categories such as Men’s Watch, Ladies’ Complication Watch, Innovation, and more. 

Van Cleef & Arpels impressed with a double win, clinching the Innovation Prize for its Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier watch, and the Mechanical Clock Prize for its Fontaine aux Oiseaux automaton. 

The Innovation Prize is awarded to “the best competing timepiece offering an innovative vision of time measurement and/or opening up new development pathways for the watchmaking art”. Van Cleef & Arpels’ Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier watch came out on top by combining the maison’s watchmaking expertise, jewellery craftsmanship and artistic savour-faire to bring a charming story to life on the dial. 

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Nature has long served as inspiration for Van Cleef & Arpels, but in this timepiece, the maison has harnessed its savoir-faire to take its interpretation of flora and fauna to the next level. There are 12 flowers on the 3D dial, each equipped with a mechanism that allows the petals to open and close, poetically displaying the hour with blooming buds. This is complemented by a retrograde minute display in a lateral window on the side of the case. 

With the Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier, telling the time becomes a spectacle, as the flowers blossom and close in a random pattern—much like in nature itself—refreshing the dial’s scenery every 60 minutes to surprise and delight its wearer. 

The second award Van Cleef & Arpels scored at the GPHG was the Mechanical Clock Prize for “mechanical time-measuring instruments, such as longcase clocks or table clocks”. It won with an Extraordinary Object named Fontaine aux Oiseaux, through which the brand’s watchmaking, jewellery and artistry skills come together to create a sense of wonder. 

Depicting two birds perched on a water bath, the Fontaine aux Oiseaux is an automaton combining on-demand animation and retrograde time display. On the side of the base, a feather moves progressively along the time scale. Once it reaches 12 o’clock, it returns to its start point to repeat its journey for the next half-day. When activated, the automaton comes to life for about a minute, revealing a tender scene. 

Due to the movement of its various elements, the water in the basin starts to ripple, while a water lily slowly blooms and a dragonfly rises up into the air to flap its wings and gently flit about. The birds at the edge of the bath also sing as they raise their heads and move their wings to begin their courtship display. As they move closer together, their legs lift one after the other in a realistic manner. Once the scene is finished, the dragonfly returns to its hideaway, the birds take up their original positions, and the water lily gracefully closes.

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