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Cuff me if you can: the ultimate bracelet

They can be extra narrow or very thick. Cuff bracelets and watches are strong and feminine at the same time. Chunky cuff bracelets bring flair to any outfit and create a statement that sets them apart from simple bangles.

By Joshua Jampol

In choosing the right cuff, the trick is not to make the wrong statement. Working your outfit around one eye-catching piece is a must and the secret is not to wear more than one. Try and link any coordinated statement accessories into the look to create a balance. The key to wearing them is to keep other jewelry simple, in order for the big bracelet to shine without making your look seem overpowering or overdone.

Weight is always an issue. Messika’s popular Move collection includes a line for men, with lighter titanium replacing gold, giving what some call a more “manly” look. It also means that Messika can make larger cuffs for broader male wrists and still keep them light. Women prefer simpler cuff bracelets. As a matter of fact, leather is the most casual and more affordable than gold or silver… though alligator cuffs can cost upwards of €1,500.

Colorful stones on leather are the hallmark of Hélène Prime, whose winter collection offers handmade leather and amazonite or malachite bracelets in all colors. Adorned with fine gold or mother-of-pearl, all retail for between €300 and €500. Her wide range of horn cuffs – her first design – with gilded crimp, are available in the same price range.

“Adding a stone adds rock chic, or what I call glamour chic,” Prime says. “It’s more sophisticated and stronger than a bangle without a stone, and gives a stronger identity.”

Messika
Move bangle in black titanium 
Hélène Prime
Chocolate leather cuff with Amazonite 

Piaget and Audemars Piquet have created real statement pieces. The lace-like Extremely Piaget 18k white gold is set with over 1,600 brilliant-cut diamonds (27 carats) and costs €165,000. The Cuff Watch, though discontinued, has a corset-inspired style in 18k white gold and 83 baguette-cut diamonds. Its shape and lace motif highlight the wrist like a corset shows off a lady’s hourglass figure. The 40-mm Audemars Piguet Diamond Fury holds over 4,600 brilliant-cut diamonds (25.6 carats) in the case and bracelet, plus another 208 diamonds in the dial (.54 carats).

Jewelry cuffs carry no extra weight from calibers or movements, like watch cuffs, which have become one of the most popular styles of cuff bracelets today. Beautiful to behold, they are also functional; they look like a bracelet, but work like a watch, and come in many different styles. You can find a diamond-studded sterling silver cuff watch to wear on special occasions or a sporty model for daily use.

You can wear a cuff watch without a tattoo or a guitar, but you really do need an attitude, because they will get you noticed.

Some say cuff watches are vintage – way too vintage. The kind of thing you remember wearing when you were 16. Others say they are too expensive. Or for rock stars. Or something a 14 year-old thinks adults wear regardless, auction houses such as Phillips in association with Bacs and Russo often showcase in their catalogues vintage Piaget cuffs that sell at incredible prices.

Yet just as many argue that the cuff watch is comfortable, draws compliments and can be stylish – again, when worn in the proper environment. It will bring gritty sophistication when worn on a motorcycle or with a safari shirt, but it won’t go well with a suit.

Piaget

Extremely cuff watch
Audemars Piguet
Diamond Fury