Amongst Paris’ emblematic places, the place Vendôme acts as a jewel case, containing the most beautiful luxury goods from French jewellers and watchmakers. Behind the glittering showcases of each brand can lie know-how unknown from general public, especially in the production of luxury watches.
Cartier, who serves as global reference in fine jewelry, has the attributes of the great Swiss watchmakers. The brand’s watchmaking engineers offer prodigious products of innovation and refinement, such as the Rotonde de Cartier Astrotourbillon watch.
The specificity of this watch lies in the heart of the mechanism that comes out by looking over the watch face at the rhythm of the passing hours. This unique complication brings aesthetic lightness and purity to the whole, and remains nonetheless a technical achievement, elegantly highlighted. The presence of the « Tourbillon » complication already marks the belonging to an elite, further amplified by the creativity of Cartier watchmakers.
Le temps poétique
Another exemple, Van Cleef & Arpels, known and recognized for their wonderful diamonds and other gemstones, demonstrate their know-how by winning the Geneva watchmaking Grand Prix 2010, in the category « Ladies’ watch » with the Van Cleef & Arpels Le pont des Amoureux.
The magic of the poetry is based on the meeting of those two lovers, only two times a day on this background enamelled by the backlighting technique.
The lady gives the hours with her umbrella while the gentleman shows the minutes and will meet his sweetie at noon and midnight. The « Retrograde » hour and minute complication will separate our lovers until the next appointment.
The Van Cleef & Arpels shop, bearing the sweet name of « Le temps poétique », is located 22 place Vendôme.
The so-called « Manufacture » Brands
There are also, around the square, the largest manufactures such as Patek Philippe, Jæger-Lecoultre, Breguet, Piaget, Rolex and many others, in order to represent the jewel in the crown of technicality, prestige, and luxury watchmaker.
Strengthened by their bicentenary heritage for some of them, the brands’ workshops design and create totally independently the prototypes of their exceptionnal mechanisms, called « calibers ».
The conception of some models can take years of exclusive work, in order to tackle the technical challenges.
The Patek Philippe 5159G is an example of demonstration of a know-how in term of watchmaking complication, whose utility is not to be demonstrated. Indeed, this model is composed of a « perpetual » calendar which indicates day and month, while respecting leap years and month with 30 days. Moreover, we can also see a retrograde movement of the day hand that will come back in the opposite direction each completed month.
By adding a « moon phase » to this watch, Patek Philippe has brought the poetry touch that links the passing of time with the stars’ perpetual mechanism.
The jewel case with multiple facets
Whether made of diamond, gold or steel, the watch carries the watchmakers’ soul who have meticulously put their heart into it. The watch also passes down the heritage of the great Houses that have survived throughout the centuries, as well as the prestige from great names of the global luxury.
The square, and its surroundings, has no less than 30 trade names, going from the small craftsman to the multinational, who will be pleased to welcome you and make you discover their wonderfull watches. Time is universal, and you will find the best way to enjoy it at the Place Vendôme.
Arnaud Lallemant, Mai 2012
Traduction : Martin Moulin
Crédit photos : Patek Philippe et Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier