Best of the Best 2012: Women's Watches: Decorative Artistry: Van Cleef & Arpels Polar Landscapes

  • Van Cleef & Arpels Polar Landscapes
  • Engravers have imparted a particular expressiveness to the polar bears' faces
  • The Polar Landscapes series also includes a design with engraved seals in diamond pave and and Aurora Borealis in mother-of-pearl
  • In a fourth design, whales are contrasted against a sea of mother-of-pearl and blue glass

Parisian jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels has dramatically increased its influence in the watchmaking world over the past several years by introducing a series of decorative-arts timepieces. Its network of artisans specializing in a variety of disciplines has grown to such a degree that the company seems to effortlessly roll out stunning watches every year. Polar Landscapes ($114,000)—four designs limited to 22 watches each—exemplifies the striking results the company achieves using mixed-media techniques. Artists render scenes of icy terrains in mother-of-pearl marquetry, and employ diamonds and engraved metal to depict wildlife. (877.826.2533, www.vancleef.com)

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