Van Cleef & Arpels' midnight planetarium watch could well be the most beautiful ever created

Luxury watchmaker Van Cleef & Arpels has crafted perhaps the most magnificent watch we've ever seen here at Pocket-lint. As soon as we clapped eyes on images of the Complication Poétique Midnight Planétarium watch we fell in love.

Not only is it encased in 18ct rose gold and sport double sapphire crystals, it features six of the planets of our solar system orbiting the Sun in real time.

Each of those planets - Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn - is itself represented with a precious stone. Aventurine, serpentine, chloromelanite, turqoise, red jasper, blue agate and sugilte have been employed to double as the planets and stars. The Sun is a similar rose gold to the frame.

The strap is made of alligator leather, but beyond the materials used, it is the mechanism inside that is truly spectacular. As each planet orbits the Sun in real time, that means some of them move very slowly indeed. For example, while it will take just three months for Mercury to complete an orbit, Saturn will take 29-and-a-half years.

You can see why Van Cleef & Arpels has stopped at Saturn. Uranus takes 84 years to complete an orbit, while Pluto takes 248. There's little point having a dial on a watch that you are unlikely to ever see rotate.

Price for the Van Cleef & Arpels Complication Poétique Midnight Planétarium is available only on request via the company's website at vancleefarpels.com. We suspect it's not exactly cheap. Not only are there just 396 of the watches in existence, even the company's more standard watches fit within the $20,000 (£12,111) to $49,999 price bracket.



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