Ladies’ watches are no longer an afterthought, but have become the ideal venue for the elaborate craftsmanship that is now expected from the top tier brands of high watchmaking. These five timepieces, introduced at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in January, combine fine craftsmanship with advanced technology in a beautiful package that epitomizes the modern craft of watchmaking.
Ballon Blanc de Cartier: Cartier’s Ballon Bleu, with its signature sapphire crown, is now followed by the Ballon Blanc, with a 0.20 carat diamond crown instead. The bracelet of this jewelry watch version contains 9.35 carats of diamonds. The mother-of-pearl flinqué dial has blued-steel sword-shaped hands. The 30mm case is rhodium-plated 18k white gold. The movement is the Cartier quartz Caliber 056.
Piaget Limelight Blooming Rose: The latest in this brand’s ongoing tribute to the world’s most beautiful flower has an upper case that swivels 45º to unfurl the rose – producing two new diamond-set petals for a total of four. It is set with 269 diamonds totaling 2.5 carats, and has a black lacquered dial. The movement is the Piaget quartz Caliber 56P.
Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Zodiac: From the Astronomie Poetique collection of Extraordinary Dials, this series of 12 limited edition watches is inspired by the signs of the zodiac. Shown here is Virgo, with a background of translucent green enamel, mother-of-pearl marquetry and diamonds. It contains a manual wound mechanical movement and is limited to 22 pieces.
Richard Mille Natalie Portman Spider: Co-designed with brand ambassador Natalie Portman, this watch is based on the image of a spider, with its abdomen supporting the bridges of the tourbillon and the legs supporting the barrels. It is set with diamonds in18k white gold. The caseback reveals a baseplate cut away to resemble a spider’s web, set with black sapphires. The watch is limited to 20 pieces.
Vacheron Constantin Metiers d’Art Fabuleux Ornements: This wonderfully ornamental collection is inspired by the decorative arts of four distinct cultures: Ottoman architecture, Chinese embroidery, Indian manuscripts and French lacework. They feature the hand-engraved skeletonized Caliber 1003. The dial of this one, inspired by Ottoman architecture, is chamfered pink gold, mother-of-pearl and half-pearl beads, with a coin-edge inner bezel.