There is nothing better than a watch that never needs to be taken off – a watch that looks good with an evening gown, a business suit or a pair of shorts and flip-flops - a watch that often falls asleep on its owner’s wrist because she doesn’t ever want to take it off. It sounds like a tall order, but this year sees the launch of many new models that would look good just about anywhere.
Rolex’s Oyster Perpetual Date ‘Special Edition’ in white gold and with its arabesque diamond setting certainly fits the bill. So does Link’s Driver with its black dial and contrasting white leather strap. I think I can safely say that almost all of Baume & Mercier’s ladies’ collections fit into the ‘everyday el-egance’ category; two of my personal favourites being the Diamant and Hampton collections in all their gorgeous variations. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s new Reverso Lady Duetto with its articulated white rubber strap is also a great option for the lady looking for just one versatile timepiece to accompany her everywhere. Although more and more ladies are collecting watches, the majority still only own one or two watches which means that timepieces that are comfortable, practical and accessorize with any wardrobe are always going to be a smart choice.
Oyster Perpetual Date ‘Special Edition’ by Rolex, DRIVER by Links, DIAMANT by Baume & Mercier
REVERSO LADY DUETTO by Jaeger-LeCoultre, OVERSEAS SELF-WINDING DUAL TIME by Vacheron Constantin, COUTURE THEME by Piaget
In the high jewellery category the major brands are continuing to invest in the design and gemstone setting of some extraordinary works of art. Piaget’s Couture Theme Collection includes an original 18 carat white gold cuff watch in the form of a corset. 1576 brilliant-cut diamonds (85.8 carats) and 83 baguettes (7.4 carats) are masterfully set to create a stunning timepiece that is both elegant and seductive. A little less elaborate, but equally charming, is Van Cleef & Arpel’s Folie des prés (Folly from the meadows, in English) which is a bucolic piece of jewellery true to Van Cleef & Arpels’ feminine style. In fact, floral designs seemed to be quite popular this year with Perrelet’s Diamond Flower and Pierre DeRoche’s Shiny Pebbles Nacre marrying diamonds and flowers delightfully. Although for those wanting a maximum amount of sparkle, there is always Dior’s Christal Tourbillon with its baguette diamonds and black sapphire crystals, but there are only ten of them available so it’s surely going to be a fight!
FOLIE dES PRÉS by Van Cleef & Arpels, DIAMOND FLOWER by Perrelet, SHINY PEBBLES NACRE by Pierre DeRoche
The sports watch sector is huge for men and it is becoming increasingly popular for women too and not only in the digital domain. Like the men’s sports category, there are watches that can take an aerobics class, a game of tennis or white water rafting in their stride, and there are watches whose appeal is more of a fun, sporty look. In the hard-core sports category, Adidas and Timex would have no trouble keeping up. While in the ‘sporty look’ sector, the choice is really exploding. Seiko’s Sportura is a refined interpretation of a ladies chronograph available in both black and white with a screw-lock crown and caseback and water resistance to 100 metres. In a sexy all-black rendition, there is Chopard’s Happy Black (there is also a Happy White version) and for girls who are looking for something more colourful, there is Graham’s kaleidoscopic Swordfish ‘Ali Baba – 1001 Nights’ with a multitude of coloured precious stones and Omega’s Timeless Olympic wristwatch with multicoloured Arabic numerals. (For more on sports watches, read Keith W. Strandberg’s ‘For use and abuse: sports watches 2008’ in this issue).
CHRISTAL TOURBILLON by Dior, IRONMAN by Timex, SPORTURA by Seiko
HAPPY BLACK by Chopard, KALEIDOSCOPIC SWORDFISH ‘ALI BABA – 1001 NIGHTS’ by Graham, BRASILIA by Ebel
White watches were hot last year and they are even hotter this year. White watches go with any wardrobe and look especially great in the summer on bare arms. The choice has just exploded over the last few years. Here are a few of the latest styles offered in the white watch segment. Firstly is Ebel’s latest, men’s size, Brasilia especially designed for women who love larger sized timepieces. The Brasilia is set with diamonds on the bezel and has white ceramic inserts in the sides of the case. Alfex’s new white Happy Moments model from its Big Line Collection presents a fun open calendar and star seconds indicator that add an interesting twist to this all white timepiece. Armand Nicolet has developed a new shaped case for its white, automatic, TL7 to provide a larger face and a more comfortable fit for women. The guillochÉ dial with inserted mother-of-pearl parts and diamond dots is particularly flattering in its stainless steel and white alligator strap version. The sporty white version of Corum’s Admiral’s Cup changes its look completely in this new white version. The International Signals Code pos-itioned behind the indexes give a flash of colour that complement the white dial and strap. With so many white watches on the market, look out for more white hot timepieces in the pages of Europa Star in coming issues.
HAPPY MOMENTS by Alfex, TL7 by Armand Nicolet, ADMIRAL’S CUP by Corum
Redesigning time has been quite a trend these last few years, especially in the men’s watch arena. Think of Harry Winston’s Opuses, Hautlence, Urwerk, Vianney Halter and so forth. However, watches don’t have to lose the hour and the minute hands to break from the mould. De Grisogono and Hermès have both taken the watch off the wrist and developed it into a necklace. De Grisogono in a diamond-studded pendant and Hermès into a more minimalist leather necklace. Legendary designer Diane von Furstenberg has taken a completely different direction with her Sutra Diamond Collection for H. Stern, replacing the classic sapphire crystal with a crystal cut like a diamond. Where the majority of brands are decorating their timepieces with gemstones, Diane von Furstenberg has placed the hour and minute hands inside a precious looking stone. Gucci continues its own style with its new Chiodo and a bracelet in the form of the iconic Gucci horse stirrup providing a recognisable and unique watch for the famous fashion house. The majority of Cartier’s novelties are strides ahead of anything else on the market as far as design is concerned. (See the Santos 100 in Malcolm Lakin’s ‘There’s no Business like Show Business’ in this issue). However, one of the most elegant has to be the company’s Perles timepiece, which incorporates Cartier’s signature off centred dials and unusual forms with pearls that spin within the dial, creating something more than ‘distinctively different’.
JEWELLERY PENDANT WATCH by deGrisogono, HARNAIS POCKET by Hermès, SUTRA DIAMOND Collection for H. Stern
CHIODO by Gucci, MONTRE PERLES by Cartier, BRESSEL LADY by JeanRichard
As mechanical watches have been quickly gaining in popularity for both sexes, many brands have been moving away from ladies quartz watches and going in the direction of mechanical watches. There are some great new ladies’ mechanical timepieces coming on the market this year. JeanRichard’s Bressel Lady, with its hours, minutes, seconds and power reserve indicator, shows off its decor-ated automatic movement through a sapph-ire crystal caseback. Léon Hatot also displays the beauty of its new mechanical chronograph movement in its Heartbreaker model. The Heartbreaker’s window in the caseback is in the form of a heart, as is the shape of the dial and the sapphire crystal. Maurice Lacroix’s Sparkling Date is a newcomer to the world of ladies mechanicals with its hand-decorated mechanical automatic ML 127 movement with retrograde date and moon phase indications. This handsome timepiece with its purple and black lacquered dial is limited to 250 timepieces, which is rather a shame; let’s hope there will be more versions to come! In Zenith’s His for Her Collection, this year sees a new Chronomaster Moonphase with a perpetual calendar, black dial and diamond bezel. For women who love the masculine yet elegant look, this would be a perfect choice. Lastly, in the ladies mechanical round-up, one of my longstanding favourites is Blu and its Lady blu Aventurine timepiece. The mysterious aventurine dial rotates once around its axis every 12 hours and is powered by an automatic mechanical movement. This year sees the addition of two halos of diamonds for the bezel and rotating inner-dial. This is just a taster of some of the spectacular new mechanical timepieces for ladies this year. Make sure you don’t miss our complete ladies’ mechanicals report in the next issue of Europa Star.
HEARTBREAKER by Léon Hatot, SPARKLING DATE by Maurice Lacroix, LADY BLU AVENTURINE by Blu
Source: Europa Star June-July 2008 Magazine Issue