If the glittering timepieces at Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2016 (SIHH) are an indication of anything, it’s that female connoisseurs can look forward to exciting designs worth their weight in carats. Charmaine Ho reports.
2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year for female watch connoisseurs. Or, at least, that’s what the showing at SIHH at the start of the year seemed to indicate. With Roger Dubuis dedicating this year to its divacentric Velvet collection (its booth at the fair even displayed mannequins decked in haute couture creations by Alexander McQueen, Martin Margiela and Chloé to drive the point home), and Jaeger-LeCoultre announcing an exciting collaboration with Christian Louboutin to celebrate the 85th anniversary of its emblematic Reverso collection, there were plenty of things for ladies to get excited about—not least the bevy of glittering timepieces worthy of any white-tie event.
Take Cartier’s Panthères etColibri timepiece, for example. Just one of several designs that place the house’s beloved panther mascot front and centre of the brand’s playing field this year, the watch is the result of that magical moment when haute horlogerie and haute joaillerie collide.
Set with over 600 diamonds, it’s equipped with the manual-wind calibre 9915 MC with on demand power reserve that sees a baby panther leap from its mother’s paws to chase a golden hummingbird when its crown is pressed.
Then, there is Piaget who flexed its muscles once again for a record breaking performance with the latest rendition of its Altiplano 38mm 900D, which was first launched two years ago. Cloaked entirely in baguette- and brilliant-cut diamonds (about 4.67carats worth), the 5.65mm thick timepiece bears the honour of being world’s thinnest mechanical hand-wound Haute Joaillerie watch.
As much as watchmakers were focused on presenting timepieces that encapsulated the best of haute horlogerie and haute joaillerie, there were other watchmakers who chose to take a different tack; seducing women with stunning high jewellery designs that doubled up as watches instead.
ILLUSTRATIONS: WOO JIA YIN
After unveiling its Diamond Punk to much fanfare last year, Audemars Piguet, for one, returned to the table with Diamond Fury—a full diamond pavé cuff that looks like it may indeed contain Decepticon DNA.
Taking over 1,500 hours and 4,641 diamonds to achieve, the cuff’s unapologetic bold and somewhat aggressive looks hide a darling secret: It contains a secret panel that unclips to reveal a petite secret dial.
Also not to be left out is Van Cleef & Arpels’ Rubis Secret Watch bracelet, which sparkles with 115 rubies that weigh in at an impressive 151.25 carats. Set in white gold, accompanied by a trove of roundand square-cut diamonds, this headturning bangle features two ingenious technical feats: An invisible hinge allows it to be fully opened; and a secret side drawer that slides open at a gentle press to reveal the watch dial—all without ever risking the safety of its gems.
It’s no secret that the luxury market kicked off the year on the same sombre note that started trumpeting at the latter part of last year. Yet, despite the bleak forecasts and predictions on 2016 (you can almost hear luxury brands belting out Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” to rally the troops against a daunting economic horizon), the brilliant showcase of timepieces at SIHH show that beauty, under the most expert and skilful hands, can thrive even in times of adversity—a fact that any discerning woman can, and will, appreciate.