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Like those who wear them, the best ladies’ timepieces are a combination of beauty and substance.
1. Premier Precious Weaving Automatic
Brand: Harry Winston
Award: Best Dial Design
As the first complete timepiece collection developed by Harry Winston in 1989, the Premier has always followed a design code that exudes the glamour, elegance and craftsmanship associated with the brand that is, first and foremost, a jeweller.
This year, the house’s artisans have taken inspiration from the ancient Japanese art of raden for the dials of the Premier Precious Weaving Automatic.
There are four versions available. The first, in rose gold, features a chrysanthemum, the symbol of the Japanese royal family, formed from weaving alternating petals of white and iridescent mother-of-pearl with silk thread. The second, also in rose gold, has a repeated motif inspired by the scales of the koi made from overlapping silk, gold thread and mother-of-pearl. A similar but darker version of this dial design is also available in white gold. Finally, the fourth timepiece features an abstract motif formed with mother-of-pearl, silk and gold leaves framed by a white gold case.
2. Signature Morganite Secret Watch
Award: Best Secret Watch
Chanel’s high jewellery watch collection, Les Eternelles De Chanel, may have entered only its second year, but from the flawless execution of the creations, it’s apparent that the collection is mature beyond its years.
This year’s four novelties are inspired by a design motif that is almost synonymous with the maison – quilting. Its most recognised use is probably in Chanel’s iconic bags, such as the timeless Classic Flap. To represent this motif on the timepieces, precious stones are set to form squares that appear to be arranged diagonally.
In the Signature Morganite Secret Watch, 953 brilliant-cut diamonds totaling 103.8 carats are set on 18-carat white gold around an impressive 43.6-carat faceted sugarloaf cushion-cut morganite. The soft pink hue of the morganite, combined with the brilliant sparkle of the diamonds, gives the timepiece a decidedly feminine flair.
3. Reverso One Cordonnet
Award: Best Classic Watch
Originally released in 1931, the Reverso’s swivel case was targeted at polo players, who may wish to turn their watches back to front in order to protect the sapphire crystal from rogue balls or mallets during polo games.
The timepiece has certainly managed to move out of the box it was put in. It turns 85 this year and is still going strong as one of the must-haves for every serious watch collector – a large portion of whom are certainly not polo players.
To commemorate the anniversary, Jaeger-LeCoultre has released several new iterations of the Reverso this year, each one meant as a tribute to the early models. The Reverso One Cordonnet is a ladies’ version featuring a leather cord strap similar to that found on a timepiece from 1936. Within its two-toned case of steel and pink gold is a dial decorated with a guilloche sunburst pattern and elegant blue Dauphine hands.
As with many Reverso timepieces, the back of the case can be personalised with an engraving.
Brand: Christophe Claret
Award: Best Complication
If one is able to look past the overly cutesy design, you’ll have to admit that Christophe Claret deserves credit for creating a complication that is for women only. Marguerite certainly isn’t a downsized, less cool version of something that already exists for the men, which is something many watchmakers are wont to do when creating timepieces for their female clientele.
On the dial side, the hands have been replaced by two butterflies that flit around a daisy to indicate time. The darker-hued one gives the hour, while the lighter one, the minutes. With the click of a pusher at two o’clock, the numerals disappear to reveal a hidden message that reads: “Il m’aime passionnement" (he loves me passionately). Perhaps Christophe Claret recognises the cheesiness of this message, because the brand has made it customisable, and it can be reconfigured in the owner’s preferred language, too.
The fun continues on the caseback, where a daisy-shaped oscillating weight plays dual roles as a lucky draw wheel. When it comes to a rest, the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ that is closest to the red lacquered heart located at the bottom of the case gives the answer to the well-known ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ game.
5. Limelight Gala Milanese
Award: Best Black-Tie Watch
The first Limelight Gala timepiece debuted in 1973 featuring a white gold strap that could not be adjusted to suit different wrist sizes without being returned to the Piaget workshop. In 2013, Piaget cleverly side-stepped the issue with the original by launching it with a satin strap instead.
This year, the gold strap returns – but fret not, it isn’t the same gold strap of old. This year’s version features a sliding buckle that can be easily adjusted without professional intervention. As indicated by the model’s name, the strap is of Milanese mesh, a strap style comprising fine links of metal more commonly used for men’s timepieces. Piaget, however, has made the style feminine by making the links extra fine and finishing the gold so that the whole strap has a shimmer akin to that of stain when viewed from a slight distance. Utterly fluid and almost as soft as fabric, the strap curves comfortably around any wrist and is the ultimate testament of Piaget’s expertise in working gold.