Pompon watch by Van Cleef&Arpels
The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, more commonly referred as SIHH, is largely a masculine event promoting luxury timepieces with fine design, robust movements and lots of complications for men. But several brands also do a strong business with women so there is always a place reserved for delicate, beautiful jewellery watches. Some even feature movements that rival many men’s watches. Among the 15 established brands (11 owned by the Richemont luxury holding company) and the nine independent artisan workshops displaying for the first time at SIHH, few have as strong a relationship with women.
Written by Anthony De Marco
And it’s nearly impossible to begin without noting the ultra-extravagant Pompon secret bejewelled timepiece. The small quartz-powered watch dial is hidden under rows of jewelled tassels. The watch is detachable and could be worn with a bejewelled necklace or bracelet attachment.
There are two versions of this watch: One in pink gold, round diamonds, round pink sapphires, red spinels, white cultured pearls, coral and white mother-of-pearl. The other is a unique piece in white gold, round diamonds, onyx, black spinels, white cultured pearls and white mother-of-pearl.
Cartier’s influence with women is as legendary as Van Cleef & Arpels. In fact, it quite possibly sells more jewellery than any other luxury brand in the world. But we’re talking about watches, and the brand has been extremely influential in ladies watches throughout its history.
One of the things Cartier excels is in the shapes of its cases. This year the brand introduced an oval-shaped jewellery watch called “Hypnose.” It comes in five distinct styles and two sizes using the motif of a “never-ending spiral,” according to the Parisian luxury brand. The bezel consists of two rows of diamonds. The dial is either covered in round diamonds or has a sunburst guilloche face. It is available in white or rose gold and in leather or a pavé diamond and white gold bracelet.
Cartier Hypnose watches in white and rose gold with diamonds
Christophe Claret Marguerite Watch with white gold and pink gold bezel with diamonds
Piaget Limelight watches in white and rose gold with diamonds
The independent watchmaker creatively answers the timeless French question, “He loves me … he loves me not.” The hours and minutes are indicated by two butterflies flying around the dial. The dual display dial shows either the statement “Il m’aime passionnément” (He loves me passionately); or the “3”, “6” and “9” hour indicators. The display is changed with a pusher at 2 pm. The bezel is set with 73 diamonds.
The back of the case features the “He loves me. He loves me not” game; when the winding rotor stops, the ruby that is nearest to the red heart indicates the answer (“yes” or “no”) with an indication in the centre. There are three versions of this watch: one in white gold case with blue details, one in a red gold case with red details, and one in a white gold case with red details.
Piaget, another brand with an extremely influential history with women, introduced several ladies watches that feature jewels and precious metals, artistic craftsmanship and complicated movements. Among them are the two newest editions in its Limelight series. The first, “Limelight Stella”, is a jewellery watch with a moonphase complication. The moonphase and night sky can be seen in a large aperture at 12 o’clock, with the new moon being invisible. The complicated watch is powered by 584P automatic calibre. The 36mm case of the Limelight Stella has an “oval inside a circle” theme that extends through to the heart of the dial. The fan-shaped moonphase aperture is hemmed by two lines set with 14 brilliant-cut diamonds.
The pink gold version of the watch has a polished or gem-set bezel, while the white gold version features a gem-set bezel.There are also two high jewellery interpretations of the watch in a 39 mm white gold case enhanced by two different techniques: rail and progressive setting for the baguette-cut diamonds; and a white mother-of-pearl dial with white gold hour-markers.
Next is the “Limelight Gala Milenese”, easily identifiable by their 18k (pink or white) gold mesh bracelets that are seemingly integrated within the case. The case is surrounded by 62 brilliant-cut diamonds.
The luxury watch brand dedicated 2016 to women, calling it the “Year of the Velvet Diva” and created a collection of five watches under the Velvet theme. They all combine high-crafted jewels with robust movements.
The Blossom Velvet is perhaps the most jewellery-centric watch of the group with its flower and stem motif and 36mm pink gold case fully paved with brilliant-cut diamonds. Mauve Grand Feu enamel dial contains sculpted Grand Feu enamel flowers cantered with round white diamonds along with pink gold stems. Brilliant-cut diamonds surround the mother-of-pearl time display in the centre of the dial. The watch is powered by the RD821 automatic movement.
Roger Dubuis Blossom Velvet Watch