Full disclosure: a lot of the (that’s read: all of the) profound things shared here are directly taken off a conversation between Nicolas Bos and Wei Koh at SIHH. A conversation that I was most blessed to have a front row seat to. Here’s, in essence, a recollection of that conversation from where I was seated.
Traditionally, complications are always perceived to give more precise information. Whether it be the distinction between solar time and civil time, it must provide this precise information so that one is able to use it to its fullest utility.
And at some point, it is important to consider that perhaps we have too much information. Especially in a day and age, when all of this information is, quite frankly, readily available in much more practical forms and mediums.
Therefore, it’s important to ask, in today’s horological context, what is a complication meant to do? If we see it in this light, then may be the simple answer to that question is that it’s meant to make you happy.
Maybe it’s just meant to engage you; maybe it’s meant to uplift you.
This is where, Van Cleef & Arpel’s approach to creating complications has got the right idea in place. Take for instance the Lady Arpels Papillon Automate, which was shown at SIHH this year.
Now, this watch is an automaton, but one which co-exists with its wearer and enters into a sort of companionship with the person. It’s reflective of the person’s mood, which is quite exquisite when you think about it. Because there are enough objects of art in this world that evoke emotions but very few which are reflective of a person’s emotions at a given moment in time.
The butterfly automaton of the Lady Arpels Papillon Automate synchronizes to its companion’s energy levels and in that sense, reflects the person’s mood.
Mr. Nicolas Bos, Van Cleef & Arpels’ brilliant CEO explains, “It’s all tied in to the story of our poetic complications. We’re still trying to write different chapters in that story. This story, ultimately, has deep roots in the world of automatons. This is also what has led us to the table automaton that we’re so proud to have been able to bring to SIHH this year.