By Rebecca Doulton
It’s coloured gemstone week on The Jewellery Editor and we are feasting ourselves across all fronts, as an antidote to vanquish the post-holiday blues. Watches and coloured gemstones work beautifully together and can elevate a functional object to a work of high jewellery art. There are a great many elegant white diamond watches, but our mission this week is to share our pick of the best coloured gemstone jewellery watches.
At the very top of the chromatic - and price - scale is Graff's Hallucination watch, jam-packed with 110 carats of rare multi-coloured diamonds and a price tag of $55 million.
Chopard watches are regular red carpet guests and these regal 42mm rose gold Imperiale ladies’ watches imitate the colours of the rainbow with multi-coloured sapphires and amethysts on the bezel, and contrasting white diamonds on the dial and lugs. The milky white mother-of-pearl dial is decorated with gemstone indices and the watch comes on a purple alligator strap.
The 39mm gold Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous watch has been declined in ever-increasingly complex and ornate models. We have seen the beautiful Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater recently, and this Rendez-Vous Art model is destined for women who enjoy vivid coloured gemstones. As the inventor of the snow-setting technique, Jaeger-LeCoultre had its master gemsetters sprinkle a mantle of blue and red sapphires with diamonds to recreate the floral motif crowning the dial, spreading all the way out over the bezel, crown and lugs.
Chaumet chose the hydrangea flower as its inspiring leitmotif for the Hortensia high jewellery collection last year - a fresh interpretation of the naturalistic style of jewellery that Chaumet embraced and became known for in the early and mid 1800s. These exquisite Chaumet watches for women keep the time hidden under a bouquet of hydrangea flowers crafted from sculpted opals, pink sapphires, tourmalines and diamonds. The blushing pink tourmalines and milky opals of the tiny flowers, dusted with diamonds and pink sapphires, give these ladies’ watches an endearing feminine and highly romantic appeal.
For a more contemporary take on vibrant coloured gemstones, the delightful Attrape-moi...si tu m’aimes timepiece from Chaumet comes in a 35mm yellow gold case set with diamonds and bright orange sapphires, and features a bee and abstract flowers circling the dial.
Van Cleef & Arpels watches revisited the iconic Cadenas model - a high jewellery watch from the 1930s inspired by the ubiquitous and avid jewellery collector Wallis Simpson. Art Deco through and through, the slinky Cadenas also comes in this gorgeous pink model in rose gold, snow set with diamonds and pink sapphires, with a row of larger pink sapphires on the top of the case.
The belles of the ball are, in my opinion, the 2015 collection of VIII Grand Bal Exceptional Timepieces from Dior watches. With all the glamour of haute couture translated into the diminutive circumference of a watch, the Grand Bal family emulates the swirl of a ball gown lightly sweeping over the dance floor. This amazing effect is achieved by placing the Dior Inversé rotor on the dial and then decorating it with precious gemstones, feather appliqués and geometric motifs. All these Exceptional models are unique and enact Christian Dior’s philosophy: “A ball gown must be the one of your dreams, and must also make you a dream-like creature.”
And imagine how wonderful to be able to do this with a watch that will also tell you when the clock strikes 12. If not, your impeccable ball gown will be transformed into the whimsical de GRISOGONO Crazy Skull watch, beaming with snow-set rubies, white and black diamonds, and large baguette-cut diamond teeth - one of the most fun and stone-crammed high jewellery watches out there.