Van Cleef & Arpels

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If you’ve ever wondered when Jupiter will next be aligned with Mars, Van Cleef & Arpels has a watch that will tell you. Its new Midnight Planetarium Poetic Complication watch has six rotating disks, each bearing a tiny sphere representing one of the six planets visible with the naked eye.

The disks rotate at different speeds so that each sphere makes one revolution around the dial in the time it takes the actual planet it represents – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter or Saturn – to orbit the sun.  Mercury in 88 days, Venus in 224, Earth in a year, Mars in 687 days, Jupiter in 12 years and Saturn in 29. It’s a very complex watch and a true display of supreme watchmaking. Time is indicated by a shooting-star symbol rotating around the dial’s circumference. Leveraging the brand’s specialty in jewelry, each of the planets are represented by precious and semi-precious stones, ranging from red jasper to serpentine and turquoise. An even more extravagant edition is available with baguette-cut diamonds set into the bezel.

The planet module was designed by Christian van der Klaauw, renowned for his movements featuring astronomical indications. The movement is self-winding and contains 396 components.  The case is 44 mm in diameter and made of rose gold. The dial is made of aventurine and the planets of semiprecious stones.  Price: about $245,000; a diamond-set version will be about $330,000.

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This exquisite watch does more than tell time, it shows the movements of the planets in our Solar System. It’s called the Midnight Planétarium timepiece and it’s the dazzling creation of luxury watch maker Van Cleef & Arpels. Wearing a miniature Solar System on one’s wrist that’s made of 18-carat gold and semi-precious gems is one of the most opulently awesome things we’ve ever heard of.

“This watch isn’t just for looks: The planets actually move in time with their real-life depictions. A self-winding mechanism containing 396 separate parts moves each miniature planet in true time to its actual orbit length. That means it will take your tiny Saturn 29 years to make its way around the watch’s dial, with Jupiter taking about 12 years, Mars 687 days, Earth 365 days, and Mercury 88 days. (Neptune and Uranus aren’t included as their orbits are longer than most human lifetimes at 165 years and 84 years respectively.)”

Head over to mental_floss to learn more about this incredible timepiece.

[via mental_floss]