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WOW Singapore|WOW Jewellery 2021
The Van Cleef & Arpels Ballerine Musicalle watches are visual and aural delights, but not in the way minute repeaters are
Ashok Soman

Some watches are hands-down amazing, and this trio of wonders falls into that category. Indeed, “amazing” is not a formal or informal category of timepieces but if it were, the Lady Arpels Ballerine Musicale would be the apotheosis. We also love that it gives us a chance to bandy that lovely word around. Essentially, there are three versions of this watch that are distinguished not only by aesthetics but also mechanical execution and components. All three variants have the same functions, right down to the retrograde hour-and minute indicator, the animation visible via the window on the dial, and the music that accompanies said animation. However, the music and the visuals are different in each of the three watches. Of course, this business about having different music means that each model is mechanically distinct too.

Now, we have to say that the model is very large and thick for what it is. The diameter of 44.5mm and thickness of 14.45mm makes some sports watches look downright diminutive; it is also in white gold, which gives it quite a bit of heft though not as much as a steel dive watch with a steel bracelet. As evidenced by the name of the piece, this is not a high-end stab at the unisex watch, but we will be bold here and say that it is perfectly suitable for men and for women. The word “Lady” in the name will put many men off, but if you are lucky and savvy enough to acquire this watch then you might find your partner coveting it.

Having seen, felt, and heard these watches, I can report that it would not be out of play on the wrist of a commodities mogul or perhaps a Russian oligarch. In previous years, I would have said that those Vendome lugs rule this out entirely for men, but I fall back on my own words in our unisex watch feature: a fine watchmaking piece like this is for anyone with the stones to carry it off. Oh yes, there are stones aplenty on all three watches, but the true pleasure here is for both the eye and the ear.

ROBUST MUSIC

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