Looking back through history, men have always worn jewellery to denote status. From lip plugs in Africa to Sir Walter Raleigh’s saucy pearl earring, fancy papal accessories to Elvis’ diamond knuckledusters, men have every right to enjoy wearing jewellery.
Since watches are the most accepted form of male adornment today, let’s take a look at the diamond watches for men that could never be mistaken as a watch for women. Beyond the blinding bling of rapper’s watches, you’ll be happy to know that there is a select universe of watches out there that prove that diamonds can be a man’s best friend.
Hublot: an icy cocktail of diamonds in a sapphire crystal glass
As they say, if you’ve got it, flaunt it and one of the best ways to show what you’re all about in the watchmaking world is with a sapphire crystal case. Sapphire crystal watch cases are the big thing these days, allowing an X-ray view of every last component of a watch.
Devilishly difficult to machine and usually reserved for ultra limited editions, a laRichard Mille, sapphire is the second-hardest material on Earth after diamond and is practically impossible to scratch. Which is why an icy cocktail of these ultra-resilient materials made perfect sense to the designers over at Hublot when they came up with the Big Bang Unico Sapphire Baguettes watch. With the complex mechanics of a flyback chronograph on full view, the bezel has been set with a discreet sprinkling of 48 baguette-cut diamonds.
Jacob & Co.’s astronomically beautiful watch
Named after the highest grade of diamond clarity, the Astronomia Flawless watch by Jacob & Co. brings you the motion of the planets and the emotion of the world’s finest diamonds.
This astronomical complication is in permanent motion thanks to a system of differential gears allowing the Sun, Moon and Earth to go through their motions. The large 2.20-carat Fancy Yellow diamond in the centre represents the Sun while the cool 1.00-carat diamond is the Moon. Both diamonds are spherical and feature Jacob & Co.’s hallmark 288 facets. Directly opposite the Moon is a representation of planet Earth in rose gold and enamel.
In case the planetary ballet is not fast enough for you, there is a triple axis tourbillon to keep your attention riveted on the amazing mechanical fireworks beneath the sapphire crystal case.
H. Moser’s resolutely disconnected diamond and sapphire watch
Humour and watchmaking are a bit like oil and water until you discover independent brands like H.Moser & Cie. Producing just over 1,000 high-end mechanical timepieces a year, the brand decided to turn the tables on all the hype generated by the Apple Watch and presented its Swiss Alp Watch in 2016. Shaped like the Apple Watch, the white gold Swiss Alp Watch with its fumé dial and mechanical heart was the antithesis of a disposable, technological gadget.
Taking the concept to new heights, H. Moser unveiled a Swiss Alp Watch on the Rocks at Baselworld 2017. Smothered in sapphires and diamonds, “this resolutely disconnected watch” is an ode to objects made slowly and lovingly by hand as opposed to cold, technological products that need constant upgrading. The 232 baguette-cut sapphires on the dial are set in different tonalities of blue to recreate the brand’s famous fumé dials and offer the wearer a high jewellery take on a pixellated screen.
What was even harder, though, was setting diamonds on the rounded edges of the case, which has been beautifully executed with an invisible setting. At the heart of the watch, a mechanical movement with a power reserve of four days ensures its lucky wearer “time for yourself, for friends and family...fully rechargeable by hand” – if you have 700,000 Swiss Francs to set aside.
To the Galaxy and Beyond with Graff’s GryoGraff
The galaxy is always a good excuse to light up a watch with diamonds and precious stones. Graff, the famous diamond house, brings you a slice of outer space with this stunning GyroGraff Galaxy watch complete with a realistic hand-engraved white gold Moon.
The galactic scenery is beautifully captured with Grand Feu enamel and the hazy colours of the Milky Way, with its 100 billion planets and double that amount of stars, dominates the upper half of the dial. Equipped with a double-axis tourbillon and a power reserve indicator, Graff diamonds on the bezel counteract the forces of zero gravity with style.
All on board Harry Winston’s opulent Ocean Biretrograde vessel
As you would expect from America’s “King of Diamonds’”, the Harry Winston model I have selected for this article sparkles generously with a total of 351 brilliant-cut diamonds. But what might shock more macho personalities is the use of shimmering mother-of-pearl on the dial.
A bit like a fancy ship, the deck of the Ocean Biretrograde is washed with diamonds used to highlight the different functions on board, which include two retrograde counters, one for the seconds and the other for the days of the week. Luckily, Harry Winston’s watchmakers run a tight ship and the watch is water-resistant to 100 metres.