Butterfly dials were a recurrent theme in 2015 and the Premier Precious Butterfly from Harry Winston captured the ephemeral beauty of the insect’s wing with a curious artisanal technique. Instead of using the real wing of a butterfly, artisans harvested the iridescent powder found on the wings of a moth and created the pattern grain by grain. A sprinkling of diamonds was only natural for these Harry Winston watches, used to create a sparkling frame for this high jewellery work of art.
Richard Mille made a pact in 2015, promising - and delivering - watches for women. Renowned for ultra-light, high-performance sports watches worn for real-life thrashing on Rafa Nadal’s wrist, Richard Mille produces seriously sophisticated machines with mind-boggling technology cased in avant-garde materials. What is extraordinary is how Richard Mille has managed to temper such top-heavy technological credentials with a profoundly feminine soul.
The recently released RM 07-02 Pink Lady Sapphire is the most eloquent testimonial to date. Named after a 1930s cocktail - for women in moreemancipated times- these Richard Mille watches showcase the hardcore mechanical movement inside a case made from a single block of unabashedly feminine pink sapphire.
Read more on how Richard Mille lights the way in women’s watchmaking
The Nautilus timepiece from the iconic range of Patek Philippe watches was designed by Gérald Genta and launched in 1976. These are golden oldies that never tire. This particular model in a sumptuous rose gold case with a golden brown opaline dial and diamonds is the essence of casual luxury. Faithful to its original calling as a sports watch, the Nautilus is perfect for everyday wear and features practical luminescent hour markers and hands, and is water-resistant to 60 metres.
Read more on why Patek Philippe watches are the best in the world
Still on the nautical theme, Chopard’s Happy Fish watches marry the playful skittle of diamonds from the Happy Sport collection with Caroline Scheufele’s whimsical world of animal-inspired jewellery. The tropical fish dial has been engraved in mother-of-pearl and features applied gold leaf to highlight its contours. During the day, the fish swims in a sea of turquoise sapphires and seven free-floating diamonds. However, the show really begins at night when both the fish and diamonds glow magically in the dark, thanks to a blue luminescent material set behind the dial.
The Fabergé Peacock watch, inspired by the famous Fabergé peacock egg of 1908, is a mechanical tour de force and was awarded the Ladies’ High Mechanical watch prize at theGPHG Awardsin 2015. Master watchmaker Jean-Marc Wiederrecht created a movement that allows the peacock’s tail to fan out on the hour, making the white mother-of-pearl hour disc advance. Once the hour has advanced, the feathers fold up and reveal a background decorated with green tsavorites, diamonds and Paraiba tourmalines.
Read more on complicated ladies’ watches at Baselworld
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s stunning Rendez-Vous Moon watch is my favourite of 2015. Occupying a prominent position on the dial, the mother-of-pearl Moon completes its monthly cycle against a nocturnal sky, dotted with constellations and sprinkled with cabochons to represent the stars. The wavy guilloché pattern of the sky is hand-engraved and then coated with a blue lacquer to create a sensation of depth, and the small star-shaped hand on these celestial ladies’ watches can be set to remind you of your secret rendez-vous.
Handsome, stylish and always on time, what’s not to love about the Chanel Boy.Friend watch? One of the indisputable stars of 2015, the Boy.Friend collection plays on the trend of women borrowing things from their boyfriends, perfectly in keeping with Coco Chanel’s ability to mix garments from men’s wardrobes with an exquisite feminine touch. Housed in the immediately recognisable Première watch case, the clean-cut and generous dimensions give it a nice, manly feel, softened with subtle polished and bevelled edges and the warmth of beige gold.
Dior was the belle of the ball in 2015 unveiling some of the most beautifully feminine watches inspired by the world of haute couture. The Dior VIII Grand Bal collection captures the swirl of a ball gown by placing the rotor on the dial and decking it out in precious gemstones. This Dior VIII Grand Bal Pièce Unique Envol not only swirled but mesmerised us with its stunning iridescent dials and vivid geometry. The phosphorescent green on the dials was obtained from the wings of scarab beetles and set using the delicate technique of marquetry decoration.
There’s no mistaking the provenance of these Louis Vuitton watches with their large Monogram flowers sitting pretty on a bed of diamonds framed by sapphires. In 2015, the LV Monogram Sun Tourbillon collection upped the ante when it came to watches for women and placed a tourbillon at 6 o’clock in one of the petals. The heart of this glamorous watch beats to an in-house LV80 calibre developed by Louis Vuitton’s specialised atelier in Geneva - La Fabrique du Temps - showing how high mechanics and glamour are perfectly feasible.
In 2015, Vacheron Constantin celebrated its 260th anniversary by unveiling the Harmony collection. Inspired by one of Vacheron's first pulsometer chronographs of 1928 with a cushion-shaped case, the profile of the Harmony case is a triumph of design, reconciling a circular dial with a square bezel to create an entirely new architecture that is elegant and pleasing to the eye. The ladies’ Harmony Chronograph is, in my opinion, one of the most elegant chronographs on the market today and comes in a rose gold case with a diamond-set bezel and vintage-styled numerals.
Patek Philippe Nautilus watch in a 35.2mm rose gold case with a brown opaline dial, gold applied hour markers and rose gold bracelet.
Chopard Happy Fish watch recreates an aquatic scene with a fish swimming through a sea of sapphires and free-floating diamonds.
The technique to place the butterfly wing powder on the dial of the Premier Precious Butterfly took Harry Winston three years to perfect.
Chanel Boy.Friend watch in beige gold with a mechanical manual-winding Swiss movement, and the option of a diamond-set bezel.
Dior VIII Grand Bal Pièce Unique Envol in a 36mm white gold case decorated with diamonds, scarab beetle wing marquetry and yellow gold.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Monogram Sun Tourbillon with a mother-of-pearl flower on the dial and bezel set with 58 sapphires.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Monogram Sun Tourbillon with a pink gold case, bezel set with 58 diamonds and mother-of-pearl dial with 386 diamonds.
Vacheron Constantin Harmony Chronograph is a double-pusher chronograph housed in a 37mm rose gold case with a diamond-set bezel.
The gold Fabergé Peacock watch is endowed with five feathers that fan out, making the mother-of-pearl rotating hour disc advance.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Moon watch in mother-of-pearl. The sky is dotted with constellations and sprinkled with cabochons.
Chopard Happy Fish watch puts on an amazing show at night as the fish and the seven moving diamonds glow magically in the dark.