The excitement of the packed schedule of Couture Week sets Paris buzzing. This infectious energy reverberates around Place Vendôme as the crème de la crème of the jewellers unveil their most fabulous creations of the year.
And it’s a bountiful year for watch lovers as among the breathtaking jewels we have spotted some equally show-stopping watches. No longer an add-on to the main collections, jewellery watches are gaining in prominence. And this year I am seeing a near-seamless integration of jewel and watch as both are treated to the same themes, design excellence, precious materials and exquisite craftsmanship.
Wheat was the theme at Chanel this year, and the two new Chanel watches inevitably followed suit. Chanel converted Place Vendôme into a golden field of summer wheat as a reminder of Gabrielle Chanel’s fondness for this timeless symbol of fertility and bounty. Alongside the dozens of wheat-inspired jewels, the Moisson d’Or watch caught my eye. Thirteen marquise-cut diamonds form the cereal-laden heads of wheat that curve around the diamond-set dial. Adding a summer glow, the bracelet is composed of over 100 sunshine-bright yellow sapphires. Look at the Moisson d’Or earrings and you will see the gently arching heads of wheat, marquise-cut diamonds and yellow sapphire beads are a perfect complement to the watch. And rarely will I say this, but I would choose the watch over the earrings.
This year, Chaumet's jewels and watches become one. The La Nature de Chaumet high jewellery collection lavishes the same care and abundance of precious stones on both watches and jewels. Centred around the four symbols that have long inspired the design of its jewels, the oak, wheat, lily and laurel leaf find a fresh reawakening. The Oak Brooch from 1890 confirms that this ancient symbol, signifying the link between earth and heaven, has thrived in Chaumet’s garden over the centuries. Picking up the design cue from 120 years ago, the Feuillage Éternel secret cuff watch forms part of this five-piece parure alongside a bracelet and three rings. The quintet creates a natural and harmonious whole with the watch at its centre.
Piaget’s Sunny Side of Life high jewellery and watch collection soaks up the feel-good vibe of Palm Springs in Nevada, USA, circa 1966. The collection will appeal to women who, as the life and soul of the party, find themselves dancing around the pool until the Californian sun rises over the desert at dawn. There are a surprising amount of watches in this collection – 39 by my count – which capture the essence of Piaget’s joyful take on watchmaking. If further proof were needed of the spirit animating this collection, the lead image for the collection features a smiling Jessica Chastain wearing a fabulous, attention-grabbing Altiplano emerald and diamond jewellery watch and matching ring.
Piaget uses crafts it has nurtured and perfected since the 1950s to weave a distinctive look through its jewels and watches. The Palace gold-engraving technique is perfect for capturing the name of this collection on the large pink gold and diamond cuff watch, creating a radiant effect of light on golden skin.
The irregular, hand-engraved contours of this technique create a landscape of golden ridges that fold into valleys and bounce rays off its peaks. The Palace technique is also used on the matching pink gold choker creating a soft glow from neck to wrist.
Employing another Piaget speciality, the dial of the Altiplano watch is a masterful bouquet of sculpted gold leaves, each carefully embellished with a hand-engraved texture and set with diamonds.
As jewels and watches perfectly fuse into one, with the ease of the sun setting over the desert horizon, bejewelled timepieces are the ones to watch.