de GRISOGONO's jewellery is a natural extension of founder Fawaz Gruosi's lifestyle. A charming, sociable jet setter, Gruosi has partied long and hard during the past two decades. His penchant for black diamonds and contemporary, oversized designs has seduced some of the world's sexiest women, including Sharon Stone, Carla Delevingne, Freida Pinto, Zoe Saldana and Sarah Jessica Parker, and his voluptuous pieces light up the hottest nights, from the Côte d'Azur to Porto Cervo.
Jewellery in Gruosi's world has to have that unmistakable 'wow' factor, and his watches are no exception. Just think back to the glow-in-the-dark Tondo by Night watches or the Sugar watch, which froths with gems spilling over the square case in a display of luxurious decadence.
The vibrant new collection of Allegra watches, presented at Baselworld 2014, complements the existing Allegra collection of rings, bracelets, earrings and pendants, which was named after his daughter. In Gruosi's words, the Allegra collection is "a symbol - my symbol - of life and love, made of all sorts of ties, some more important than others, but all forever united and entwined".
de GRISOGONO's hallmark square watch case reappears in the new Allegra watch collection, framed by two vertical flanks to create more surface area for the gems or as a means to accentuate the stone-encrusted bezel. White diamonds, amethysts, yellow, orange and pink sapphires, tsavorites, emeralds and spinels illuminate the white lacquered or multi-coloured mother-of-pearl dials.
However, the fun really begins with the unique, cuff-style bracelet, composed of 20 intertwined leather strands in contrasting colours. Inspired by the wristwatches of the 1930s, which were attached by delicate cords, Fawaz Gruosi has given the concept a contemporary twist.
The names given to the colours of the leather cords are evocatively accurate: Santa Claus red, Gum pink, Anise, Lime, Canary yellow, Sequoia brown, Rose kiss pink... I have to admit that while I was admiring the watches at the booth, I was very tempted to lick the cord bracelets to see if they weren't really fruity licorice strings.
To set the night on fire, there is a fully pavéd model, set with 309 diamonds on the case and bezel and 10 white gold cords set with 250 sparklers to contrast with the black licorice strands. Each model is equipped with a Swiss quartz movement, and the cases are available in pink gold, white gold and a dramatic steel version with black PVD coating. Emphasising their genesis, the crown of each watch is set with a signature black diamond.