Ladies watches dominated the High Jewellery & Métiers D’Art watch category, sparkling through the showcases at this year’s SIHH. Creative watchmakers employed amazing skills and unique, artisanal techniques to create extraordinary timepieces, flooring any woman with an eye for fine craftsmanship. Here are a few of our favorites.
CARTIER TOURBILLON MYSTÉRIEUX AZURÉ PENDANT
This piece takes us back to 160 years ago, when Fine Watchmaking and High Jewellery were associated with the French Maison. The Tourbillon Mystérieux Azuré pendant watch in white gold, with one 25.93-carat oval-shaped Ceylon sapphire, diamonds, sapphires and onyx is a unique piece. Is it a pendant, a watch or a medallion? It’s a truly incredible work of art! In its creation, Cartier’s designers and craftsmen were inspired by the mystery of the night butterfly. The watch houses caliber 9463 MC, an in-house mechanical movement with manual winding, and the mysterious double tourbillon.
ROGER DUBUIS BLOSSOM VELVET
A ‘jeweller of rare artistic masterpieces,’ Roger Dubuis launched charismatic models in the Velvet collection, an expression of the Swiss watchmaker’s vision of the Diva. The steadily beating mechanical heart, Caliber RD821 is housed in Trompe l’oeil cases, relating tonneau and circular shapes into one ultra-feminine case size of 36mm. The case is rimmed with brilliant-cut diamonds, which also adorn the bezel and lugs. The characteristic split-level mother-of-pearl dial is surrounded with diamonds and graced with an engraved and sculpted floral marquetry motif, which is really the focus-point of this beautiful series.
PIAGET ALTIPLANO 38MM ENGRAVED GOLD DIAL
This piece was crafted by artisan Dick Steenman, under whose agile fingers the 18-carat pink gold of the watch’s dial transforms into the Piaget rose. He uses a scriber to outline the petals, before encountering the daunting task of “sculpting” each petal. The engraver’s work is very challenging due to the extreme thinness of the dial, and the piece requires 30 hours of work, but the masterful results speak for themselves. This watch pays homage to the brand’s ultra-thin icon, the Altiplano 38mm. The in-house Piaget 430P ultra-thin hand-wound movement powers the 8-piece limited edition timepiece.
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS LADY ARPELS RONDE DES PAPILLONS
Hardly new to the brand, Butterflies have been used in various concepts at Van Cleef & Arpels since the 1920s. This year, the beautiful winged insect takes centre-stage in the watchmaker’s new Poetic Complications timepiece. Three colored butterflies come together in a playful aerial to-and-fro ballet between the clouds, which sets the tempo for the minutes, while the flight of a swallow indicates the hours. On the watch’s mother-of-pearl dial, the passage of time is interpreted with this winged ballet, while engraved gold and miniature painting showcases the savour-faire of the Maison. The watch is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement with a retrograde jumping hour, and has variable speed minutes, with an exclusive on-demand animation module.
AUDEMARS PIGUET MILLENARY HAND-WOUND
Thanks to advanced jewelery-making skills, the pearls in the Millenary Hand- Wound are set using an unconventional setting technique. The dial is charmingly composed of a slice of gleaming black onyx, an off-centered disc and small seconds counter with white, perfectly rounded pearls (each hand-picked), and pink gold hands. The 18-carat pink gold 40mm case is fully set with 438 brilliant- cut diamonds, which further enrich the beauty of this watch, while the crown is set with an onyx cabochon. The elegant timepiece is powered by the in-house hand-wound 5206 Caliber and comes with 49 hours of power reserve.