The majority of women’s watches above the price of CHF 50,000 are heavy on diamonds and other precious stones, and many can be categorised as jewellery watches, with the inevitable eye-watering price tag. But there is also a growing choice of haute horlogerie timepieces for women, some with grand complications.
Chopard – Gardens of Barbados inspiration: CHF 459,000
Gardens of Barbados © Chopard
“Rihanna loves Chopard” is a high jewellery collection unveiled in Cannes last May, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the film festival and the 20th anniversary of its partnership with Chopard. The singer and fashion icon didn’t just lend her name to the collection, she also played an active part in designing the range, adding her special brand of urban glamour to Chopard’s refinement. As well as jewellery, the collection includes this sublime self-winding automatic watch, clothed in a lacy filigree of diamonds totalling 30.76 ct.
Corum Heritage Sublissima or rose : CHF 86,400
Heritage Sublissima, or rose © Corum
Rose gold, mother-of-pearl and diamonds are a winning combination for this ultra-feminine timepiece. This traditional round watch, part of Corum’s Heritage collection, embodies timeless style, with its delicately understated and breathtakingly elegant design. The 25 diamonds embellishing the 38 mm case appear oversized compared with how the bezels of ladies’ watches are usually set, and for good reason: they total 6.16 ct. The watch is driven by a self-winding mechanical movement with a 50-hour power reserve.
de Grisogono Luna S02: CHF 73,200
Luna S02 © de Grisogono
As is usual for de Grisogono’s ladies’ collections, the new Luna range offers a wide variety of different setting options in a plethora of bold and vivid colours. We went for the black model with guilloché dial and shagreen strap. The curvaceous white gold case is set with 162 diamonds in 35 different sizes, with the largest stone in the central 6 o’clock position, producing a bold three-dimensional effect. The hours and minutes are powered by a quartz movement and elegantly displayed by dauphine hands. The corrector is hidden on the back of the watch.
Jaquet Droz Lady 8 Eight Flower CHF 178,200
Lady 8 Eight Flower © Jaquet Droz
More than simply a jewellery watch, the Lady 8 Flower is also an automaton. Under its sapphire dome, a white gold lotus flower opens and closes on demand via a push-piece, revealing the diamond hidden in its centre. The time is displayed below, on a white gold dial set with 353 diamonds, contrasting with the blue sapphires that define the outline of the case. Inside the watch are the gears that activate the floral automaton and the self-winding mechanical movement, which has a 38-hour power reserve, and is wound by a platinum rotor.
Van Cleef – Charms Extraordinaire Fée Rose de Nuit – CHF 63,900
Charms Extraordinaire Fée Rose de Nuit © Van Cleef & Arpels
A fairy, a flower, stars and a half moon : Van Cleef & Arpels has accustomed us to finding movement in its delicate figures and has succeeded in making the display of time poetic. On this Charms model, however, the scene is static and we find two conventional hands. But the magic is still there. The gracious fairy has a touch of marvel, the sculptured mother-of-pearl petals seem to flutter, and the hand-painted night sky with its diamond celestial bodies invokes a sense of mystery. The white-gold case has three rows of sapphires and diamonds in a gradient of sizes and a floral charm that follows the movements of the wrist.
Patek Philippe- 7140G– CHF 82,000
Réf. 7140G © Patek Philippe
There’s a great deal of debate on the topic of watches as art. Even though a watch needn’t be art to be of note, I’m a firm believer in their potential to straddle the boundaries of function, shape, and doctrine where appropriate. In the case of those Corum Bubble watches, it is apparently a brand’s attempt at creating a pristine objet d’art. It is correct, the Corum Bubble watches aren’t love anything else that the brand makes (or much like anything anyone leaves, for that matter), but they are intended to be beautiful items, which is something that they have in common with different timepieces bearing the Corum logo.The devotion to the world in these pieces is staggeringly unwavering. In my opinion, this group works only because it is so unconcerned with anything but the most loyal realisation of its own distinct idea. To take advantage of the re-release chance, Corum has partnered with famous cymbal producer Paiste. Paiste have been enlisted to create a exceptional dial for the Corum Bubble Paiste special edition watch. The dial of the Corum Bubble Paiste is a tiny cymbal made by Paiste in precisely the exact same way they’d make a full-size cymbal. I am quietly confident it would function as planned have been it removed from the home and attached to a kit, but even if it’s only for display, it looks great.
Some lucky person will receive a Patek Philippe grand complication watch this Christmas – perhaps even this ultra-thin automatic perpetual calendar. This new version in white gold (the timepiece was originally released in rose gold) with sunray silvered dial, features 68 diamonds around the bezel. It comes fitted with a matching grey alligator strap, but the additional turquoise green strap gives it an extremely modern appeal. Inside beats the Calibre 240Q, just 3.75 mm deep – a development of the famous micro-rotor Calibre 240, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year – with perpetual calendar, moon phase and 24-hour indications.