The art of watch-making

    "Plique-à-jour" Enamel


    This filigree enamel technique enables light to shine through the enamel like stained-glass. The motifs on the dial are held by fine gold partitions, making them look like miniature stained-glass windows. This enameling technique is one of the most demanding; since this is also the technique which best highlights the crystalline clarity of glass and the delicacy of the metal supporting it. Creating a golden frame for each element of the scenery is a critical step, due to the painstaking detail required.

    On the Lady ArpelsTM Papillon Automate watch, the dial’s vegetation is adorned with champlevé enamel, with the exception of certain particularly rounded blades of grass, which are decorated with a greenish-blue gradation in curved plique-à-jour enamel.  This plique-à-jour enamel technique – developed specially by Van Cleef & Arpels in our watchmaking workshops in Meyrin – enables the enamel to assume the three-dimensional form of the motif. The transparency of the material combines with the effect of volume to emphasize the depth of the dial.

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