Cadenas looks very different from most Van Cleef & Arpels creations, which are often very French and poetique in their inspiration. Cadenas is, on the other hand, a bracelet-watch that is tough and chunky. Like the Zip necklace, the design was probably inspired by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor – King Edward VIII who abdicated on 10 December 1936 after 11 months on the throne because of his refusal to renounce his love for divorcee Wallis Simpson.
This bracelet watch dates to 1935, and the central block holding the timepiece itself, and the curved loop linking it to the bracelet, look very much like a sturdy padlock. Or a robust anchor chain – cadenas is Spanish for chains. In the 1930s, apparently it wasn’t seemly for women to look at a watch to find out the time, and so there was a practical reason for hiding the watch face on a bracelet. At SIHH 2015, Van Cleef & Arpels will be presenting – along with other pieces – a new series of Cadenas jewellery watches. They have been updated with a greater visibility of the dial which now has hour indications, and an improved closing system with two small ceramic spheres that ensure a more secure buckle locking. The collection now comprises nine models, in white or yellow gold, some of which with pavé diamonds, one with pink sapphire, with alligator strap or flexible metal bracelet. The watch has a quartz movement. More info from http://www.vancleefarpels.com/
Below, the Cadenas watch with alligator strap (left), and Cadenas Bracelet Or (right) with mother-of-pearl dial:
It’s difficult to appreciate the real three-dimensional appearance of the watch from the photos, and the drawings below provide a better idea:
In the photos below, Cadenas Sertie, with snow-set diamonds on the top of the case, in yellow and white gold, mother-of-pearl dial, alligator strap:
Below, Cadenas Sertie Bracelet Or, with snow-set diamonds, in white and yellow gold, mother-of-pearl dial:
Below, detail of the watch face: