The wristwatch is again in the midst of transition. With new smart watches on the wrists of fashionable people everywhere, the watch is back with a vengeance. While looking forward, fashion always also looks backward and that means it is time to get out your vintage watches!
Van Cleef & Arpels is reintroducing a watch that was created in an era when wearing any kind of timepiece at all was considered ill mannered. In the early part of the 20th century, a woman who checked the time in public was considered gauche. The idea being that the timepiece was a signal that the wearer might have someplace better to be.
Of course people have always had places to go and people to see and hoped to be on time! The Cadenas (French for “padlock”) was created by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1935 as a way to address this issue for women. At first glance, it looks like a bracelet. Given a closer look, the chunky bauble conceals a discreet clock face that only the wearer can see. Legend has it that the watch was a request of Wallis Simpson to bridge the gap between good form and necessary function. Now, some 80 years later, the watch has been updated and it making its latest debut as both a watch and a beautiful piece of jewelry. Make that heirloom jewelry. The watch starts at $36,200 – plenty of add-ons are available.
New drawings for the 2015 relaunch of the Cadenas watch.
New Cadenas watch
Cadenas watch drawing from 1935
Cadenas watch from 1939
Cadenas watch 1940
Cadenas watch drawing from 1939
Timeless no? Forgive the pun, it était nécessaire.