business of Van Cleef & Arpels was established in Paris in 1898, following the marriage of Alfred Van Cleef and Estelle Arpels. The couple, along with Estelle's brother Charles Arpels, opened their first boutique in 1906, soon after joined by Julien Arpels. After more than 100 years, Van Cleef & Arpels are still renowned for their expertise in precious stones and have won particular acclaim for a groundbreaking gem-setting procedure known as the 'serti invisible' (invisible setting), whereby stones and gems are set in a side-by-side formation with no apparent metal or mounting visible from the front. Van Cleef & Arpels: The Poetry of Time
explores the beautiful watches created by this luxurious jeweler. Combining the spirit of invention with the love of precious gems, Van Cleef & Arpels create watches with delicate and elegant lines, pushing imagination and ingenuity to the forefront, endowing their creations with the Haute Jewelry spirit. The company makes a point of reviving traditional skills and developing new techniques, such as three-dimensional enamel and mother-of-pearl marquetry. Not content to juxtapose precious materials with exceptional gems, Van Cleef & Arpels, like the alchemists of old, instils a soul into its creations.