Pearls in all shapes, colours and sizes are the big stars this year and even watches are being embellished with them. My top three pearl watches for 2015 from Fabergé, Chanel and Harry Winston use the natural opalescence of pearls and mother-of-pearl in interesting new ways.
Fabergé, the purveyor of lavish, colourful gem-encrusted Easter eggs to the Russian imperial family, brought its new collection of Fabergé watches to Baselworld this year. The Summer in Provence high jewellery ladies’ watch evokes the sensations of a hot, lazy summer’s day in the South of France. Like the opulently decorated Fabergé eggs with different layers, enamelling and coloured gemstones, the watch is composed of multiple gem-set elements.
Paraiba tourmalines, emeralds and soft green chrysoprase ivy leaves surround a garland of three-dimensional flowers, which appear on the mother-of-pearl dial and also the diamond bracelet.
Chanel's Mademoiselle Privé collection offers a unique peek into Coco Chanel’s intimate world and the beloved objects and materials that surrounded the designer in her daily life and, of course, her love of pearls. The new Mademoiselle Privé Embroidered Camellia watch works elements from the Chanel universe into the dial. The beige silk has been delicately embroidered with silk threads and natural pearls to create a camellia flower. The case is in beige gold - an exclusive Chanel alloy - and adorned with 60 brilliant-cut diamonds, while the crown has been removed from the case so as not to detract from the beauty of the dial.
Since 2013, the dials of the Mademoiselle Privé Embroidered watches have been entrusted to the artisans at the famed embroidery atelier La Maison Lesage, which works closely with Chanel on its haute couture creations.
My third choice is Harry Winston's Midnight Diamond Stalactite watch. Harry Winston is a brand intimately associated with fabulous diamonds and New York, and now watches with mother-of-pearl dials. The gold Midnight Diamond Stalactite watch recreates a sophisticated winter scene of frozen diamond stalactites suspended over a shimmering mother-of-pearl dial. In fact, if you look at the watch upside down, the diamond stalactites glisten like skyscrapers against a shimmering sky.
The rose gold model has a warm brown Tahitian mother-of-pearl dial set with a total of 245 brilliant-cut diamonds. On the dial, diamonds trickle down like stalactites as well as adding glamour to the case and lugs. The white gold model is set with 110 blue sapphires and 135 brilliant-cut diamonds, which really stand out against the white mother-of-pearl dial. Both watches have mechanical automatic movement.
Harry Winston recreates a winter scene on its Midnight Diamond Stalactite watch, seen here in white gold with a mother-of-pearl dial, 110 blue sapphires and 135 brilliant-cut diamonds.
Harry Winston Midnight Diamond Stalactite watch in rose gold with a warm brown Tahitian mother-of-pearl dial set with 245 brilliant-cut diamonds.
Fabergé Summer in Provence high jewellery watch with a garland of white mother-of-pearl flowers, meandering across the diamond and gem-set dial and bracelet. Limited to five pieces.