I promise to come back with a comprehensive article about the minimalist design, about the brilliant simplicity of a well-made watch. But today I feel eager for light and brilliance.
Here is a selection of personal favorites – and not just because of the gem stones. As you will see, there is originality and personality for a watch even beyond diamonds.
Audemars Piguet Diamond Outrage
Audemars Piguet has been my obsession for the past two years. Sometimes I’m glad I do not have heaps of money, otherwise I would spend all of it on Royal Oak. Their women’s watches come first on my personal wish list and I really like the aggressive way they have been naming and using diamonds for the last three years – an aggressive yet very elegant and sophisticated manner. After Diamond Punk and Diamond Fury, Diamond Outrage followed this year – another challenging creation that includes diamond-set spikes (between 29 and 40mm high) This spike explosion has 11,043 diamonds which have been set, one by one, by the Audemars Piguet artisans.
Breguet Reine de Naples Princesse
Reine de Naples is a legend, it does not need any introduction. And neither does Breguet, for that matter.
The first Reine de Naples was created in 1810, whereas the new princess is a dignified offspring of that initial masterpiece. Rose gold, oval silhouette, mother-of-pearl, guillochage, diamonds on the bezel and the graceful bracelet. And let’s not forget about the transparent caseback, through which you can admire the exquisite movement.
Cartier Panthère Joueuse
It’s a good year for Cartier. They returned to the fine, subtle, sophisticated, vintage aesthetics which made them famous. They celebrated Tank’s 100th anniversary – a model about which you can read an excellent article in this issue of Lifetime Collectible Watches magazine. And they launched some of the most beautiful jewelry watches in their history, such as the “playful panther”. The head and the paw of the panther play the role of the minute hand, while the ball that the feline is trying to catch marks the hours. The case, the ball, the head and the paw of the panther are plentifully paved with diamonds.
This year, Chanel has managed to launch an extremely consistent yet heterogeneous collection – métiers d’art, humor, mechanical savoir-faire. I like this J12 because it is very small (yes, I’m also oscillating between tiny and imposing sizes), but full of personality. The 19mm case (yes, that’s right, it’s really small) is a very successful combination of steel, ceramics and diamonds.
De Witt Lady Pressy Honey
From time to time, I like De Witt, which now deals with Napoleon’s emblem – the bee. I have chosen this watch for its gold dial made into a skeletonized honeycomb pattern picked out in diamonds and cognac-colored garnets. The diamonds can also be found on the bezel and the bracelet. Another point in favor of this watch – it has a self-winding caliber.
Harry Winston Midnight Diamond Drops
The first time I saw it, it reminded me of Chopard. The second time, too, but I realized it is a very beautiful watch, built with a great deal of savoir-faire. A 29mm case accommodates a dial in the same blue color as the Hope diamond, which Mr. Winston purchased in 1949. The stones are mounted in the famous Cluster technique, invented by the house of Harry Winston. The dial is partially covered with 102 diamonds symbolizing snow, and it is framed by diamond hour markers, while the case is paved with 64 diamonds itself. Besides, the watch has progressed from the 2014 quartz caliber to the current mechanical automatic movement.
Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Moonphase
Hublot was never shy about bringing bold models to life, as is the case with this Spirit of Big Bang, designed in a purple color that cannot be ignored. The skeleton movement is accentuated by the purple quartz dial. The Moon phases, the date and the small seconds are also full of color, while the 42mm tonneau case is paved with 48 amethysts, to keep the same chromatic theme.
Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Relief Seasons Spring
Jacquet Droz, a niche brand that deserves more coverage in specialized publications, brings spring on the engraved mother-of-pearl dial of this delicate, romantic, optimistic and simply beautiful model. The blooming plum trees are one of the most beautiful demonstrations of craftsmanship I have ever seen in the watch industry. The model is paved with innumerable diamonds, but I also like the oscillating weight of the movement, made of gold and mother-of-pearl.
Richard Mille RM 037 Gem-Set NTPT
Richard Mille goes all the way when it comes to diamond-paved models, as this watch set with 250 gem stones fully demonstrates. The challenge was the fact that the diamonds were set on a carbon case, much more difficult to handle than gold, so that special machines were needed to drill the tiny holders and the holes required to accommodate the diamonds. The watch features the CRMA1 caliber, a skeletonized automatic movement accommodating the hours, minutes, the date and the function selector.
Zenith Elite Lady Moonphase
To conclude, we have an understated watch, with a 33mm case displaying the changing faces of the Moon on a blue disc set against a beautiful silver dial. The rose gold model shines with 62 diamonds on the slim bezel, and it features the Elite 692 automatic movement.