Secret watches: high jewellery with a hidden surprise

Hiding behind diamonds, opals, amethysts and sapphires, these high jewellery secret watches will send just the right message this Valentine’s Day.

Cartier Aten secret watch

By Rebecca Doulton

Secret watches have a unique element of magic and mystery. Hidden under a bouquet of gemstone flowers or even under the quills of a hedgehog, the creativity and imagination that go into hiding the watch almost always elicits a gasp of surprise.

Cartier has a long tradition of high jewellery secret watches and unveiled the opal and diamond Aten watch at the SIHH this year. A true showstopper and unique piece, this unique diamond watch features a mesmerising 51.13 carat opal.

Styled as a cuff bracelet made of invisibly jointed links, the shape imitates that of a crescent kokoshnik, the traditional Russian headdress that Cartier interpreted in gemstone tiaras in the 1900s. The Aten cuff is set with 470 brilliant-cut diamonds and 50 baguette-cut diamonds. If you want to check the time, an ingenious sliding door reveals the dial placed in the centre of the cuff.

Cartier's Purple high jewellery secret watch marries a marvellous, cushion-shaped amethyst of 62.84 carats with a geometric, Art Deco frame punctuated with diamonds. On either end of the stone, curved scrolls set with onyx and diamonds sustain the two diamond and onyx beaded bracelets that circle the wrist. Before sinking your gaze into the endless depths of the violet-hued amethyst, the position of the secret watch is tucked under one of the lateral scrolls.

This year, Breguet watches draws on the extravagant world of Marie-Antoinette for its Rose de la Reine collection. A 1783 painting of the Queen depicts her with a rose, which has been recreated in a shell cameo as the secret cover of the watch. The cameo has been exquisitely carved from a shell by hand, a traditional craft from the south of Italy

By pressing on the dainty cameo rose, the cover pivots, revealing the scintillating dial of the watch, along with the spectacular diamond-set floral case and the ribbon that characterises the Rose de la Reine collection. The bracelet, crafted in white gold, features strands that imitate the texture of cloth. Available in rose or white gold, Breguet knows that many women appreciate the beauty of a mechanical movement and has equipped the watch with an automatic calibre 586, which can be viewed through the sapphire crystal caseback.

If you were thinking about flowers for this Valentine's Day, why not invest in some perennial high jewellery blooms? Chaumet's heady Hortensia collection celebrates the hydrangea flower and includes this blooming beauty of a secret watch, a candidate in this year's GPHG jewellery watch category. A bouquet of flowers made from sculpted opals, powder pink sapphires, tourmalines and diamonds hides the miniature mother-of-pearl dial, complemented with four diamond indices.

Read about the best high jewellery watches here

Editor's Pick

The Jewellery Editor is for sale

Help us make the future bright

Since founding The Jewellery Editor in 2010, we have grown our digital magazine to be the number one global source of information and inspiration for fine jewellery and luxury watches.

3,500 articles, 150 videos with over 5 million views and a reach of over 2 million per month on social media later, we have offered unparalleled and highly respected coverage of our sector. However, despite our editorial success, we are financially struggling as an independent publisher.

Entirely funded, owned and run by Christine and Maria in London, we are now looking to sell The Jewellery Editor so that it can continue to grow. As e-commerce becomes a priority in our industry, we believe there is huge potential for engaging editorial content and are seeking a buyer who shares our values and passion so that under their guidance we can give a bright future to the platform and help us grow our business to the next stage.

If you are interested to discuss the above, please contact [email protected]

Alternatively, if you are willing to help, you can donate so that in the meantime, we can continue to publish more interesting content.

Terms and conditions

READ MORE

RECOMMENDED

MOST POPULAR

We use our own and third party cookies to improve your experience and our services. If you continue, we consider that you accept their use. You can get more information on your website at cookies policy.