Moments of Wonder

Thursday, June 22, 2017
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Where did the idea of the famed diamond and platinum Van Cleef & Arpels Cadenas watch come from? Legend has it that the Duke or Duchess of Windsor suggested the concept for this piece, which resembles an ornate bracelet. In 1936, the king became the Duke of Windsor after abdicating his throne to marry his great love, American divorcée Wallis Simpson. It was during this year that he gave her the timepiece, which includes two engraved inscriptions. The first one reads, “For their third anniversary.” Since they met five years before and were not married until 1937, it is a mystery what this date celebrated. As reported by the New York Times in an interview with the Countess of Romanones of Spain, to whom the duchess left the piece, the second inscription is just “too intimate to tell.” She did drop one hint: interestingly enough, it had to do with a bathtub. It seems that the secrets to these inscriptions will be forever set in a priceless object of time, passion and love.

Carol Brodie is a jewelry expert and the host of Rarities Fine Jewelry on HSN, who writes our monthly “Hidden Gem” column.

Photos: The Duke and Duchess of Windsor circa 1941. (on left) Similar Cadenas Pavée timepiece by Van Cleef & Arpels featuring diamonds set in 18K white gold and diamonds.


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