By Rebecca Doulton in Madrid
The nominees for the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) - the equivalent of the Oscars for watches - will be putting on their best faces for the 14th edition of this decisive horological competition coming up this autumn.
Depending on their profile, contestants are divided into 12 finely tuned categories, ranging from highly complicated men's watches to a surprising new category for watches that retail for under CHF 8,000 CHF. None of the watches we will be admiring today are competing in either of the abovementioned categories. In fact, a full three-quarter of the watches in the Jewellery category are equipped with quartz movements and prices range from 49,900 CHF to 668,979 CHF for Chanel's feline creation.
The Jewellery Watch category is reserved exclusively for watches "demonstrating exceptional mastery of the art of jewellery and gem-setting, and also distinguished by the choice of stones". Last year, Chopard's L'Heure du Diamant watch took home the Jewellery prize. Before things start to heat up in October, we take a quick peek at some of the contestants vying for the 2014 Jewellery prize.
When it comes to diamonds, Harry Winston is still king of the gem. This year, the brand shows off its diamond heritage with Ultimate Emerald Signature, a secret watch with a delicate vintage aesthetic that doubles up as a pendant, brooch and wristwatch. The white gold case, shaped like an emerald-cut diamond, is covered with a cornucopia of remarkable marquise, brilliant and baguette-cut diamonds including a 1.00 carat emerald-cut diamond at the centre.
Boucheron is competing with its Reflet Pompon jewellery watch. This high jewellery interpretation of the elegant, rectangular Reflet watch, first launched in 1947, is covered with round and baguette-cut diamonds on the case and bracelet and a delicate snow setting on the dial. For an extra touch of whimsy, and in keeping with the maison's motifs, a detachable diamond pompom dangles from the clasp.
Chanel's wonderful Lion Mosaique jewellery watch recreates the technique of Byzantine mosaics. The only difference is that this mosaic is carpeted with diamonds representing a proud lion's head, which stands guard over the timepiece and blends into the profusion of diamonds on the bracelet.
In a more contemporary take on the jewellery watch, Delaneau's Grace Pear Diamonds features a wide cobblestone bracelet formed by 351 magnificent pear-shaped diamonds that lead to the watch dial, which is set with 268 diamonds.
For a splash of refreshing green, de Grisogono's Grappoli watch is as zesty as they come, with a whirling composition of emeralds that emanate from the centre of the watch, growing in size and spilling over the bezel in clusters of mouth-watering grapes. Bulgari also adds accents of emerald green to its Diva watch, which twirls with pleated fans on the elaborate bezel and bracelet.
The delicate pastel palette of Chaumet's Hortensia Secret jewellery watch earmarks this piece as the most feminine contender in the category. Hidden by a bouquet of powder-pink flowers sculpted in precious gemstones and set alight with diamonds and pink sapphires, the hours and minutes slip by on a mother-of-pearl dial.
Graff turns up the volume with its candidate: the Multi-Coloured Butterfly watch. Set against a white diamond background, each butterfly on the dial and bracelet is composed of four pear-shape gemstones sculpted from violet, pink or blue sapphires.
Before the GPHG in October, the watches will go on a road show to India and China. And following the grand finale on 31 October 2014, the winning watches will be on show at SalonQP in London - an event no serious watch enthusiast can afford to miss.