Spring buds and ladies watches blossom in Basel - Part 2

July 2010

Spring buds and ladies watches blossom in Basel – Colours, shapes and sizes - Part 2 of 2

The frivolity of colours
Talking about watches in terms of colour always seems to be a frivolous activity for a serious watch magazine. However, for retailers, especially those that don’t make it to BaselWorld, it is important to know what next season holds in terms of colour trends. If there was one colour that jumped out during BaselWorld, it had to be purple, or mauve, or plum, prune or violet, or whatever the different brands had decided to call it. Purple watches were shining from windows all over the fair. Check out Hautlence’s HLC03, Mira’s Fée Céleste, Dior’s Fashion Line and Storm’s Vesta and Gemonite models.
Blues, in all their hues, were also really hot. From midnight blue to turquoise and everything in between. And black and white still remain very popular across the watch spectrum.

Spring buds and ladies watches blossom in Basel - Part 2 HLC03 by Hautlence, M107SBK by Mira

Spring buds and ladies watches blossom in Basel - Part 2 GEMONITE CHRONOGRAPH by Storm, CHRISTAL HAUTE COUTURE LINE by Dior

A lesson in fashion: Dior
For a women’s watch reporter, Dior is one of the most exciting companies to visit, and this year was no exception. With 30 new models in all, timepieces of all shapes, sizes and colours were introduced, presented and tried on. One of the most striking collections was the company’s Christal Haute Couture line. Each timepiece is 33mm in size, entirely set with coloured precious stones and represents the different outfits or passages of the models on the catwalk. The attention to detail is as elaborate as the work that goes into the creation of a haute couture dress or jacket, with elements reminiscent of embroidery, linings, pleats, feather stitches, shirring and rose motifs. The first timepiece, or passage as Dior artistically calls it, is set with 11 carats of violet iolite baguettes and is followed by a mandarin timepiece with a mother-of-pearl, diamond and orange garnet dial. In third position, comes a green timepiece decorated with white mother-of-pearl, diamonds, black lacquer and 16 carats of tsavorite garnet baguettes. Each piece is limited to eight pieces and is equipped with a Zenith Elite automatic movement.
Dior’s Press and Public Relations Director, Anne Charrier explains how Dior’s VIP clients often come into the boutique for a new outfit and will buy everything from a dress, to shoes, handbag and a matching wristwatch. With this new Christal Haute Couture Collection, it must be difficult to resist - a salesperson’s dream!

A question of size
One of the biggest questions in the field of women’s watches today is choosing a size. Big is still very popular, but the traditionally small women’s watch is also making a marked comeback. It seems that everyone is rather unsure of how many millimetres to use. Some companies are producing both big and small collections to try and capture both trends - Chanel (J12 and Première), Dior (Christal 28mm, 33mm 42mm and 44mm, and the tiny La Mini D de Dior) and Ebel who has three sizes for its Beluga collection (Mini 26mm, Lady 30.5mm and Grande 37mm). While others are trying to find a middle ground, around the 38mm mark, which also opens up the Asian men’s market (Carl F. Bucherer’s Patravi EvoTec Big Date, for example). What a conundrum it is! Only time will tell which way the trend is moving, although there will probably never be one size to fit all.

Circles, rings and loops
Interlinking circles and rings have always been popular in jewellery and now they are being interpreted in watches too. There is something particularly pleasing to the eye of a never-ending circle or loop, which works beautifully on a round timepiece. Here are a few examples of brands that had successfully captured the sensuality of the circle during BaselWorld: Bedat & Co.’s Ref. 881 has a combination of differently set rings with brilliant cut diamonds and baguettes that intertwine around the dial. Sarcar Genève’s Solitaire Lady has a diamond set dial that is divided into rings with an off-centred hoop at seven o’clock. Boucheron’s Crazy Ma Folie plays with rings in diamonds and coloured precious stones that create a spiral effect on the dial that is accentuated by a crazy second at seven o’clock. And finally, Citizen has created a concept women’s watch called the Eco-Drive Loop with an arced second hand that circles the Eco Drive’s solar cell and changes the whole aspect of the watch, giving it a very contemporary and pure feel.

Spring buds and ladies watches blossom in Basel - Part 2 Ref. 881 by Bedat & Co., ECO DRIVE LOOP by Citizen

Spring buds and ladies watches blossom in Basel - Part 2 SOLITAIRE LADY by Sarcar, CRAZY MA FOLIE by Boucheron

Flash and fancy versus what sells best
As watch journalists, we see hundreds of watches per day that are sent to us via email, press kits, USB keys and website links. We are attracted to the craziest complications, the funkiest colours, the most daring stone settings, because they stand out from the crowd. However, these aren’t the pieces that keep most retailers alive. It is often the simplest, and unassuming pieces that are the most popular, as they don’t cost tens of thousands to purchase and they can be worn with everything.
So not to forget this very important sector of women’s watches, here is a selection of timepieces that deserve attention. In no particular order: Louis Erard’s Emotion with an automatic movement and date; Raymond Weil’s Freelancer Summertime, also with an automatic movement and date at 4 o’clock; David Yurman’s Ladies Classic with a mother-of-pearl dial, signature cable design on the case and Swiss quartz ETA movement; Bulova’s BVA Series 130 with its open heart, self-winding mechanical movement and 44 diamonds; and Haurex’s Miroir with its violet ceramic bracelet, natural crystals and quartz movement.

Spring buds and ladies watches blossom in Basel - Part 2 EMOTION by Louis Erard, FREELANCER SUMMERTIME by Raymond Weil

Spring buds and ladies watches blossom in Basel - Part 2 BVA SERIE 130 by Bulova, LADIES CLASSIC by David Yurman

Jewellers turned watchmakers – Damiani
After Harry Winston, Chopard, Graff and Tiffany, Damiani officially joins the ranks of jeweller turned watchmaker this year. Admittedly, the company has been making watches for over a decade, but the company had never really invested in making them a successful product line in their own right. This year, however, Damiani has pulled out all the stops with a number of eye catching collections that unite Damiani’s mastery of jewellery with timekeeping. The highlight of their novelties is most definitely the Belle Epoque Masterpiece One with 90 baguette diamonds and 12 baguette rubies to mark the hours. The timepiece has an external bezel with 56 diamonds and an oversized brilliant cut ruby that can be rotated so that its user can mark a special time of the day. In addition to the ‘Masterpiece’ setting other settings are also available in ‘light’, ‘semi’ or ‘full’. This simple, yet stunning collection certainly puts Damiani firmly on the map of jewellery watchmakers.

Spring buds and ladies watches blossom in Basel - Part 2 BELLE EPOQUE MASTERPIECE ONE by Damiani, GIRO by Bertolucci

Bertolucci puts Basel on hold, but not creativity
Bertolucci wasn’t to be found in the halls of BaselWorld this year. It is always a worry to notice a gap where a brand used to be, but after meeting with Bertolucci in their premises in a modern Geneva loft, there seems to be no reason for alarm. The company decided to use its marketing budget (which is, incidentally, exactly the same amount as last year) differently. It is no secret that to exhibit at BaselWorld is an enormous investment and a huge chunk out of any brand’s marketing budget. So for this year and next year, Bertolucci has decided to focus its attention on creating local events and promotions in its individual markets. “Our retailers have been asking for more promotions locally,” explains the brand’s Marketing and Communication Director, Béatrice Rouhier. “We love BaselWorld and will certainly be back in the future, but for the time being we have decided to invest differently,” she continues.
Bertolucci has a number of new pieces this year to prove that the brand is not holding back on the creative side. Traditionally a women’s brand, Bertolucci has been gradually bringing out more men’s pieces. The pièce de resistance this year is the Forza which comes in an all-black 45mm, PVD, oval case and surprisingly manages to keep all the Bertolucci design codes whilst staying extremely masculine. The Giro is a perfect unisex piece, available in automatic or quartz, that radically changes look depending on its colours and stone settings. The Serena, Serena Garbo, Volta and Stria lines are all going strong and are as popular as ever with Bertolucci’s female clients. So even if BaselWorld is on hold, the brand certainly isn’t. (For information: Bertolucci is still exhibiting in Basel, but at an off-site location.)

The recession may not be entirely over, but when there are so many different women’s watches to talk about that it is impossible to mention them all here, things are most definitely looking better. So stay tuned to Europa Star throughout the year for more features on ladies watches, starting with a focus on women’s complications in the next issue. So until then…

Source: Europa Star June - July 2010 Magazine Issue