To celebrate the 15th anniversary of this amazing magazine, we take a look back over the hit list of the 15 most exquisite feminine and jewellery timepieces imagined over these last 15 years.
An alphabetically-listed selection, perhaps somewhat subjective, yet one which we fully embrace, beginning with a double ovation for Audemars Piguet. Firstly, with the 2015 relaunch of the Millenary model now devoted to the ladies whereas it was imagined some 20 years beforehand for men. This Millenary Frosted Gold Philosophique is a nod at the first single-hand creations launched in 1982. It centre stages a novel way of measuring time. Its diamond-dust-effect white gold case and midnight-blue hand-hammered-finished dial are exquisite.
We adore the Royal Oak Carolina Bucci just as much which embodies the purest form of femininity though, for once, is not strewn with diamonds. The resulting finish is all down to the Florentine hammering technique applied to the yellow gold case where a diamond-tipped tool is used to engrave the metal with sparkling micro- dimples.
Serpenti, the Tubogas-styled model which embodies one of the Italian brand Bvlgari’s key signatures, was created in all variations of gold, stone paving and settings. The chocolate ceramic Spiga version enhanced with rose gold inserts and a sprinkle of diamonds on the head of the precious reptile remains the rarest yet the most talked about.
When Cartier introduced its Clé model in 2015, the idea was to unveil an innovatively-shaped case inspired by a perfect circle. A challenge which was doubly successful in its version with the dial set with vibrant diamonds and rubies, patented technical prowess for which only the brand holds… the key. Basically, each stone is placed in an invisible cone system which quivers each time the wrist moves.
After the worldwide success of its J12, Chanel’s Boy.Friend watch is an alternative which is more technical than Première and less jewellery-style than Mademoiselle. Its octagonal case is fashioned in beige gold, an in-house-created alloy with a hue softer than rose gold and not as absolute as yellow gold. A sort of new Gabrielle Chanel-style twisted essential which shakes up genres and transcends codes.
Given its name, La D de Dior Cocotte conjures up delicate sweetness. Its 38 mm diameter dial embraces the jewellery savoir-faire and ingenuity of Victoire de Castellane who has been weaving her creative magic for the firm for some 15 years now. Worth noting is its faceted sapphire crystal, its face strewn with various- sized diamonds which render the metal totally invisible and its yellow gold bezel topped with coloured gems like confectionery in a candy jar.
Fabergé’s Lady Compliquée Peacock, inspired by the firm’s 1908 Peacock Egg, was honoured in the “Ladies’ Complication Watch Prize” category during the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève for its construction imagined by Agenhor. The hours are read at 3 o’clock on a mother-of-pearl disc which rotates counter-clockwise whilst the retrograde minutes are displayed by the fanning tail feathers of the gracious hand-sculpted bird. The ensemble is set in a 38 mm-diameter platinum case hosting a dial covered with diamonds, tsavorites and Paraiba tourmalines added using the snow-set technique.
Time to look at a 1975-invented model for which 2016 marked its major comeback, in particular in its Royalty Blue version. Girard-Perregaux’s Laureato. It’s not its rose gold case or its integrated bracelet, let alone its diamond-strewn octagonal bezel which makes this piece interesting but basically the vibrancy of the lacquered blue on its checkered dial. A contrast that is just as noteworthy as the smallness of its 34 mm diameter.
The jeweller Graff turned the secret watch on its head – a concept which some are of the opinion has been almost overly exploited by watchmakers – by envisioning its Halo Secret ring. Mounting made exclusively of white gold, all covered with diamonds, with the top part protected by a sliding dome which reveals the hidden dial and which itself is set with a one-carat brilliant-cut diamond.
Difficult to choose but a single woman-dedicated limited edition imagined by Hublot. After hesitating between Velvet and Orlinski, in the end the French artist wins hands down. The famous facets adorning his bestiary blend in flawlessly with the case’s edges, offering it depth and interesting relief, with every other angle enhanced with diamonds which brings out the subtlety of the design.
Fleurs de Jardin by Jacob & Co. is a pure harmony of fine watchmaking and fine jewellery in a single piece based on the Astronomia Solar mechanism whose three- satellite movement makes a full revolution around the dial every 10 minutes. Beneath this ‘greenhouse’ dome of multicoloured corollas nestles the butterfly-shaped flying tourbillon which completes the hour display offset on a creamy-white mother-of-pearl ring.
Since Jaeger-LeCoultre invented its calibre 101 in 1929, it has forever remained the smallest hand- wound mechanical movement in the world. Beneath the cambered leaf hidden by brilliant- and baguette-cut diamonds, the gold-proposed 101 Feuille model unveils a miniature silvered-opaline dial.
Maximilian Büsser, MB&F’s founder, took some 15 years to accomplish his first-ever exclusively feminine model. We wouldn’t have expected anything but perfection as regards the invisible baguette-cut diamond setting and the offset hour dial display poised at 50° on the central flying tourbillon.
Patek Philippe’s Nautilus, designed by Gérald Genta, 25 has never stopped being an icon, and even more so in recent years. The ever-so rare reference 5719 is in white gold covered with virtually 20 carats of brilliant- and baguette-cut diamonds and is driven by the self-winding 324 SC calibre.
In such a feminine hit list, we couldn’t go without mentioning a Piaget-created cuff watch. The brand, expert on the subject since the 1970s, decided to introduce a new model in each of its fine jewellery collections. Duly noted, with the Sand Waves secret cuff watch from the Sunlight Journey collection set with an opal weighing in at over 10 carats. Extreme beauty!
The original article can be read in the latest issue of The Watches Magazine.