Dial things up a notch with these versatile creations that serve double duty as both watch and jewellery
Watches and jewellery tend to be perceived (and discussed) as separate product segments. It’s understandable and perfectly logical. After all, a gem-set timepiece is still, at its core, a timepiece – decking pave setting a watch with diamonds does not make it a piece of jewellery, whatever the level of bling. In the same vein of things, setting a little watch movement into a piece of jewellery does not make it a timepiece per se.
Needless to say, products that can comfortably play both roles as watch and jewellery are rare. Secret watches come to mind as a category, but outside of them, offerings are few and far between.
There are such pieces out there though. Unsurprisingly, they tend to hail from maisons that have experience as both watchmaker and jeweller, which makes them well-poised to straddle both worlds and offer creations that offer elements from each one. Here are a few choice picks.
Cartier Panthère de Cartier
Cartier has reaffirmed its roots in the past couple of years by returning to the basics, and re-exploring the designs of the iconic watches that have long been critical to its success.
The revamped Santos de Cartier collection comes to mind with its design. The Panthère de Cartier is yet another classic that Cartier has put back into the spotlight. Far more than just a diminutive wristwatch for ladies, the model is an exercise in design, and shows off Cartier’s deft touch in playing with lines, angles, and surfaces to create something that’s more than either jewellery or watch.
Calling all the references in the new Panthère de Cartier line a watch-jewellery hybrid will be stretching it. We are, however, partial to the reference in pink gold with a triple loop bracelet, as well as the limited edition model in pink gold and lacquer.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold Carolina Bucci Limited Edition
The latest iteration of the Royal Oak Frosted Gold, first unveiled in 2016, is a 300-piece limited edition by Italian jeweller Carolina Bucci.
The Royal Oak Frosted Gold line was, if you’re unaware, the brainchild of Bucci herself. She had been challenged by Audemars Piguet’s CEO François-Henry Bennahmias to create a Royal Oak that’s meant for women, and settled on decorating its various surfaces with a Florentine finish that sparkles like diamond dust – or fresh powder snow. In her namesake limited edition, Bucci chose yellow gold for the case and bracelet, and replaced the traditional “Tapisserie” dial with a mirror instead. The palpable contrast between the rough case-and-bracelet surfaces, and the perfectly smooth dial, is quite unlike anything else.
The result? A now familiar watch-jewellery hybrid that offers a new surprise.
Piaget Extremely Lady
The Extremely Lady watches’ origins hark back to the 1960s with all its opulence and attitude. This spirit remains today, embodied in the oval shaped case and dial, as well as the integrated bracelet.
Several elements stand out here.
For a start, note the gem-set bezels that frame the dials, each rendered in a semi-precious material ranging from mother-of-pearl to lapis lazuli. The intricately finished bracelets are another highlight; they show off Piaget’s savoir faire in goldsmithing, and boast seamless textures mimicking various materials such as fur and wood. What made us pick this watch was a simple exercise in reduction.
Can the Extremely Lady timepieces stand on their own if the watch were to be removed to leave its bracelet, case and stone dial? Conversely, can these same timepieces exist without the bracelet, gem-set case, and dial? The answer to both is a resounding no – this is a hybrid through and through, and a very well-integrated one at that.
Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Planétarium
Less an actual watch per se and more a romantic execution of having the planets on one’s wrist, the Lady Arpels Planétarium captures the motions of the three innermost planets as they orbit the sun – in real time.
That means that Mercury, rendered here in pink mother-of-pearl, takes 88 days to make one complete revolution, just like its real counterpart. Earth, on the other hand, has been crafted here in turquoise and takes a full 365 days to make its way around the sun.
What’s amazing here is how our celestial moon, represented here with a brilliant cut diamond, orbits the Earth in real time as well, with an orbital period of 29.5 days. The sensual beauty and romantic touches of jewellery is only matched here by the watchmaking wizardry powering the mechanism that drives the planets around the dial.