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    The Cadenas watch

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    Van Cleef & Arpels had been making sumptuous bejeweled watches since the 1920s, but it was not until 1935 that the Maison created the model which would define the marriage between beauty and functionality: the Cadenas watch. The cadenas, or “lock” in French, is a strong symbol of union and alliance between two families or two individuals. Legend has it that the Duke or Duchess of Windsor originally suggested this concept for the watch. Since then, it has been a permanent feature in our timepiece collections.

    The Cadenas watch: a strong symbol of union and alliance.

    Cadenas watch, 1940, Van Cleef & Arpels' Collection  - Van Cleef & Arpels
    Cadenas watch, 1940, Van Cleef & Arpels' Collection

    In the early 20th century, it was considered inelegant for a woman to look at the time in public or to even wear a watch. The Cadenas watch was invented to remedy this situation. In all appearances an exquisite bracelet, the Cadenas watch contained a dial which only its wearer could see.

    With the Cadenas watch, the Maison created a truly timeless classic. Perfectly adapted to the 1930s, it is equally at home among the trends and tastes of the 21st century.

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