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Baselworld review: my top five jewellery watches for 2014

After a week spent at Baselworld, The Jewellery Editor Maria Doulton chooses her favourite women's jewellery watches for 2014. And the winners are...

6 April 2014

By Maria Doulton in London

At BaselWorld 2014 I had the chance to take a look at some of the most dazzling new jewellery watches for women, which shone out not only because of their high value but also for their exquisite combinations of precious stones and artistry.

Although jewellery watches are a rarity that only a few top watch and jewellery houses master, there were dozens on show at Baselworld this year. Undoubtedly the most talked-about piece was the Graff Hallucination, probably the most expensive watch in the world, worth $55 million thanks to the 110 carats of highly valuable coloured diamonds. 

Outside the Graff booth at Baselworld, crowds gathered to be photographed in front of the watch, much as you would pose by the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal. Make it yours and you would be sure to be the only one wearing a watch like this at any party, but you would have to make sure you had a security entourage in tow.

In the relative terms of the warped reality of the world of high jewellery, the De Grisogono Grapolli watch was one of my favourite new jewellery watches for 2014. It just explodes with colour and comes in four different gem versions, each as juicy, joyous and unrestrained as the other. But if I had to make up my mind, I would settle for the emerald version, or maybe the orange one or, hang on, the amethyst one is so lovely. See how hard my job is?

For sheer diva glamour, the Harry Winston Emerald Cluster watch is my choice of best jewellery watch for 2014. A total of 73 carats of diamonds sing out from 'cluster' style setting thought up by the famous Harry Winston head of design A.V. Shinde in 1960s New York. The emerald-shaped dial reminds us of Mr Winston's favourite diamond cut. Put it all together and I can see Rita Hayworth swaggering into the room wearing the Emerald Cluster watch over a black gloved wrist, winking seductively at the barman mixing her a Martini.

The Chanel J12 Flying Tourbillon Baguette-Cut Diamonds is one of the prettiest uses of a tourbillon I have yet to see. The precision-regulating tourbillon, which rotates once a minute, is used to set a diamond star spinning on the dial of the watch. And if you can take your eyes off this pretty little light show - yours for a cool million euros - you will be treated to the glorious sight of row upon row of baguette-cut diamonds.

For originality and charm, the Boucheron Epure Oursin Bleu watch is in my selection of best women's jewellery watches for 2014. One glance at the watch and I immediately understood that it represented a sea urchin thanks to the glossy blue cabochon sapphires and the diamonds, which are cleverly set to decrease in size towards the middle, just like the real sea-dwelling creature. A delightfully original idea executed with grace. 

Being more realistic, and again this is comparative, I can see myself wearing the DeLaneau Translucent Hoare Frost watch. A fairly restrained circle of diamonds surrounds the achingly gorgeous dial, which is shrouded in a colour of enamel as mysterious as a grayish violet winter morning - a magic world that only lasts a few moments but is perfectly captured in this watch.



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