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$ 35,000

Iconic 1940s Van Cleef & Arpels Sapphire 18kt Yellow Gold "Cadenas" Wristwatch

Documentation Signed
Origin France
Period 1900-1949
Materials Made From: Sapphire & 18kt yellow gold, the present 'Cadenas' Lock Form wristwatch is an iconic classic. Famous for its affiliation with the Duchess of Windsor, the design is largely attributed to her personal input for its creation.
W. 42 mm;
Condition Excellent. The Cadenas bracelet watch is completely original & in working condition.All original stones are present with no chips or discoloration to bracelet/ lock form case & clasp. Dial is well preserved.The watch has also been cleaned & serviced.
Creation Date 1940s - 50s
Description In the late 1930s and1940s, the world was in one of the most turbulent periods of history. Europe began to fall to the German Army starting with Paris in June 1940, Italy just declared war against France and the United kingdom. King Edward had just abdicated his thrown for the love his life which has been commonly referred to as one of the greatest love stories ever. In light of what was occurring and with a threat from Germany that they specifically wanted to capture the Duke, the Duke and Duchess escaped through Europe and moved to New York. Here, they have lived for a small amount of time at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel amongst being photographed at many other locations throughout the United States. (See photos for reference)

Also, at this time Van Cleef and Arpels main offices were still under operation in France, but about to open their New York Firm doors in 1941. In 1936, Van Cleef first patented the Cadenas and it was only patented to be produced in 18kt yellow gold for mass production as seen in the present example. Other variations with gemstone cominations of ruby and sapphire were also produced as custom orders due to their more detailed gemstone case design. The reason for this only adds more fascination with this famous model as it has been commonly believed that the reason for this stems from the involvement that the Duke and Duchesss played in designing this revolutionary design concept.

The Van Cleef & Arpels Cadenas bracelet watch is probably one of the most interesting and iconic timepiece designs ever produced. . The term 'Cadenas which in French translates to ‘lock’, was designed by the Duke for the Duchess of Windsor to symbolize the "wedlock" of their union and love and has been famously known to be a re-occurring gift where on several occasions the king would commission a platinum diamond set cadenas for the Duchess on several of their anniversaries. As a result, the platinum Cadenas Van Cleef and Arpels Lock Form Wristwatch has become synonymously known as the Duchess of Windsors especially commissioned watch. Even more Interesting, as a result Van Cleef agreed that they would, never produce a patent to make them in anything, but yellow gold as a result of the direct contribution the Duke and Duchess had; Hence one of the reasons so few examples have ever been found in Platinum to date. . Similar to many other unique designs, the ' Cadenas' was a custom tailored piece created by Van Cleef and Arpels for the Duchess of Windsor, to represent one of the many milestones of their truly extraordinary love story: A King who abdicted his throne for the love of his life. The Duke of Windsor spent many hours with Jacque Van Cleef, himself of Van Cleef & Arpels to add his personal touch to these gifted creations and even included secret messages, numbers and codes that only they would understand in relationship to their most sacred memories, trip locations and anniversaries. These modifications and secret commissions to these one of a kind designs, often made it exceedingly difficult to locate or track in archives when combined with their use of secret code and dialogue that only they understood as seen with the other examples in her collection ( a "zip" necklace that was also gifted to her and later modified, Sothebys circa 1987) and during such a chaotic time period.

Given the nature of their relationship within the context of a turbulent time period, their collection was considered one of the largest and most important and interesting in the world, as innovative designs were engineered by the Duke to mark their anniversaries and romantic trips throughout their lifetime.
One of the most famous examples and most recently sold ones is a platinum Cadenas which sold in Sothebys, Geneva 2011 and i
This example was produced Circa 1936 around the same time as the present timepiece.

Please feel free to touch base regarding additional photos.

Every timepiece is guaranteed authentic and has been cleaned and serviced by our inhouse timepiece engineers before being offered here online and comes with a two year warranty from our store.

Additional Resources and Interesting Articles & Videos Below:

Below is the most similar example, recently sold in Sothebys, 2011 Duchess of Windsor collection , note is the only watch in the whole collection and in the 1987 collection that went to market there were no watches included in that sale so this was acquired during the interim period in the 1990s.

Top 10 most expensive collections which discusses the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's collection

Informative Video about the Case Design of The Cadenas Model from Van Cleef & Arpels

Italian Resource regarding Van Cleef & Arpels Cadenas Patent Information
(English Translation Required) :

Below is an interesting video of the 1987 Exhibition and interview with Jacque Van Cleef about working with the Duchess of Windsor.
They discuss different instances where she made personal modifications or duplications to designs of pieces in her collection.
Additional Discussion by Jacque Van Cleef on the Duchess's alterations to gifts and demand to have a 2nd version made to her liking by adjusting a design partially
(skip to 7:18/ 7:29)

Interesting Cadenas Article regarding the concept as one of the most emblematic pieces of Van Cleef & Arpels Horology Design Today

Article about the Meaning of the Cadenas as a Symbol for their love and alliance of a lock meeting its counter part "french translation of cadenas is Lock",531741.html

Discussion of the 2nd Cadenas which sold and how Sotheby's set the world record for Cartier jewelry using her collection.

Interesting Video of the Duke and Duchess of windsor when they went to new york in 1950, where she assisted with Fashion and Jewelry design and documents her travels to New York where and close to when the present watch is known to be created

Interesting Video which Refers to acquisitions that were considered some of most important designs in the 1950s

Interesting Video Discussion of the collection as the Sale of the century

Discussion by Van Cleef & Arpels which names the Duchess of Windsor as their most Important Collector
(as they refer to the zip necklace)

Timepiece Dimensions:
28 mm Across x 42mm From the Top of Case Lug to the Bottom of Case Lug
Bracelet Length: 180mm
Weight: 55 grams
Thickness: 16mm
Styles / Movements Fine Jewelry, Rare Jewels, Signed Pieces
Incollect Reference Number 213912
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