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The Automate Fée Ondine : an ode to imaginery

Van Cleef and Arpels (VC&A) spent seven years developing the Automate Fée Ondine, the most complex piece they ever created.

An extraordinary objet combining technical prowess and flabbergasting beauty. A true œuvre d’art that makes you forget in an instant its primary function: giving time.

Nicolas Bos, CEO of VC&A explains that the original idea was to change their working scale and become a legend in writing a story that they have long dreamed of : creating an automate. «This object beautifully serves the narrative and poetic dimensions of the brand, imprinting us in a visual and magical universe» declares Bos.

As a matter of fact, the Automate Fée Ondine requires a tremendous experience and knowledge in savoir-faire, gem setting, stone carving and watchmaking in order to reach a level of precision and minutia that has never been seen before.

The articulated fairy needs 55 seconds to unfold her poetic story. She moves her enamel wings while staring at the butterfly wings carved in opals randomly moving at the opening and closing of the lotus. Each petal is hand-carved and hand-painted. The water lily is made of enamel strips assembled one by one and moving in a wavy-motion. The mechanism is a true prowess on its own. The ladybug on the side weighting less than 4 grams is invisibly set with baguette cut rubies indicating time. But the most spectacular thing remains Fée Ondine made of an aquamarine carved, sculpted and faceted only by hand giving you a look as if she was alive…

The result turns out to be much more beautiful than what they could have ever imagined.

Van Cleef & Arpels
Automate Fée Ondine
Van Cleef & Arpels
Automate Fée Ondine
Van Cleef & Arpels
Automate Fée Ondine