By Rebecca Doulton in Madrid
It's been a prodigiously generous year for high jewellery watches and we couldn't be happier. With New Year's Eve and a host of parties on the horizon, it's time to dig out that little black dress and add some serious sparkle to the wrist.
As the world's oldest diamond company, Backes & Strauss watches knows a thing or two about the stone and is constantly on the hunt for the best diamonds and cuts the planet can offer. William Goldberg, the famous Manhattan diamantaire, pioneered the Ashoka cut, an elongated, antique cushion cut with 62 displayed facets and rounded corners. Designed to disperse the light with a fiery brilliance, Backes & Strauss has incorporated 92 Ashoka diamonds on the bracelet of this dazzling Royal Ashoka Empress watch.
The watch case and bezel of the Backes & Strauss Royal Ashoka Empress watch is adorned with 130 ideal-cut diamonds framing the inky black mother-of-pearl dial and a large diamond on the crown for a total count of 225 diamonds, one for every year that Backes & Strauss has been in existence.
Boucheron brought the wintry beauty of Russia's landscape to its Splendeurs de Russie collection, which it launched at the Biennale earlier this year. Amongst its gorgeous glacial jewels was this Cristal de Lune watch, which has literally frozen time under a rock crystal dome that glistens with a pearly Moon and diamond feathered peacock. You will love how the diamond bracelet and removable tassel cascade in icy droplets from your wrist.
Chanel's high jewellery collection Café Society celebrates the early 20th century Bohemian movement, of which Gabrielle Chanel was a leading force. Evoking endless Parisian nights of intellectual banter and partying, the Midnight watch by Chanel swirls and curls with diamonds and onyx beads to create a beautiful abstract form. The only difficulty might be finding the dial amidst such heady beauty.
Roger Dubuis watches have always been synonymous with extravagance. Large, eye-catching timepieces with superior movements are the trademark of this Swiss watchmaker, and the 36mm Velvet Haute Joaillerie collection of watches unveiled at the SIHH this January is no exception. Swathed in 367 baguette and brilliant-cut diamonds, the impressive diamond dial is a masterpiece of gem setting employing claw setting, taper setting and invisible setting techniques. Roger Dubuis responds to the increasing demand from women for bespoke creations allowing you to choose a case of white or rose gold and a precious gemstone to adorn both tips of the dial, in this case emeralds.
There is always room for some feline fun in your life, especially if it's Cartier's gracious panther, which is looking incredibly lithe and sleek as he turns 100. The delightful Panthère Ajourée de Cartier watch features the iconic big cat purring happily with diamonds and black enamel, about to pounce from his oval cage to explore the world. Set with 618 brilliant-cut diamonds on the case and 488 on the bracelet, we recommend you check that he's still there in the morning.