Women and jewels can never be separated for long. Just like a bespoke jewel, a watch is a work of art, adding a new dimension to adornment. It also reflects exquisite craftsmanship and shows the wearer’s aesthetic appreciation for the finer details in life. What makes the use of jewels in watches more interesting is the fact that they were not always intended to be used for adornment. Instead, they had a functional purpose that had to do with the effective working of the timepiece. The inherent properties of jewels (their hardness, that they are slow to wear out and that they can be worked upon to get a smooth finish) led to reduced friction, which in turn led to greater accuracy and efficiency of the movement and the timepiece.
But, the aesthetic potential of jewels and gems in watches cannot be hidden. And why should it be? A jewelled watch takes on precious stones, shapes and materials and uses the expertise of a series of craftsmen who work in a painstaking manner to design intricate and astounding pieces. Here are a few that are enigmatic and breathtakingly beautiful…
BVLGARI – SERPENTI INCANTATI
You will hardly come across a brand that can claim to be emboldened by a culture dating back 2700 years. The Serpenti is one of the most iconic and timeless creations of the brand. Over the years there have been several executions and reinterpretations of this classic. It is well- known that the snake is a charming part of the brand. The slithering reptile traditionally belongs to the bestiary of Ancient Rome and has long since been successfully tamed by the Roman jeweller! For the very first time, the reptile coils around the watch dial. Each part of the head and body of the snake has been entirely rethought and redesigned with extremely contemporary lines.
CHOPARD – HAPPY FISH
It was in 1993 that Caroline Scheufele created one of Chopard’s icons, the Happy Sport watch. The finely curved Happy Fish has a regal air about it. Ever since, recurrently reinterpreted over the years in occasionally humorous and consistently elegant ways, it has appeared under countless highly evocative identities. Inspired by refined, dynamic and natural women with strong personalities, the fish is sculpted in mother-of-pearl, with hand-applied gold leaf decoration and jasper eye. It swims against a backdrop of snow-set blue sapphires, with seven free-moving diamonds above. The exquisite jewellery craftsmanship continues on the bezel, set with diamonds of three different alternating sizes for a softer effect.
ROLEX – OYSTER PERPETUAL PEARLMASTER 39
The new version of this classic is a treasure among its gem-set watches. In 18 carat Everose gold and adorned with the rarest diamonds, this interpretation highlights the extent of Rolex’s expertise in gem-setting. In this 39 mm Pearlmaster, Rolex combines to perfection the art of watchmaking and sophisticated gem-setting of the highest order. This precious watch is also equipped with the new-generation calibre 3235, backed by 14 patents, incorporating the Chronergy escapement developed by Rolex. The new Pearlmaster 39 carries the Superlative Chronometer certification redefined by Rolex in 2015, which ensures singular performance on the wrist.