Best of 2014: divine high jewellery watches

Put on the Ritz with the latest in our best of 2014 series: spectacular high jewellery watches that scintillate with the colours of the rainbow.

2014 was a very generous year for high jewellery watches with dazzling beauties popping up the SIHH, Baselworld and the Biennale des Antiquaires buoyed by an ever-growing appetite for coloured gemstones and diamonds. Viva 2014!

By Rebecca Doulton

Choosing a "best of high jewellery watches" list is, for most journalists at least, a bit like sending a child into a sweet shop with no money: every single watch dripping with precious stones is a temptation beyond our wildest dreams. Luckily, dreaming is free and, who knows, maybe that lottery number will win the jackpot and you will have a clearer idea about which model has captured your inner diva. 

Starting at the very summit with a price tag of $55 million is the Graff watch known as the Hallucination, possibly the most valuable watch on the planet. Like a rocky road paved with 110.00 carats of rare coloured diamonds, this aptly named masterpiece will probably remain just that - a hallucination - for most mortals. Fluttering by at unreachable heights, we were also treated to Graff's lovely Butterfly watch studded with diamonds, sapphires and rubies. 

Patek Philippe watches celebrated its grand 175th birthday in 2014 and regaled itself with some very fine presents including this delightful Aquatic Life watch swimming with 43.47 carats of blue sapphire fish in a miniature, invisibly-set diamond aquarium made from 1,937 diamonds. 

It was also the 100th birthday of the top cat of high jewellery and Cartier had a ball finding new ways to deck out its iconic feline in finery. The Cartier Panthère Secret watch has the diamond and onyx decorated panther guarding the dial and the amazing 577 emerald bead bracelet.

One of my favourite brands when it comes to mixing sexy cocktails of luxury and fun has to be de GRISOGONO. Founder and creative force Fawaz Gruosi has a fine-tuned sense of what contemporary divas yearn for and his Sugar and Grappoli de GRISOGONO watches drip with voluptuous, intoxicating charm. 

When it comes to capturing the zeitgeist of the 1970s, nobody does it better than Piaget, as 2014s's Extremely Piaget collection so eloquently attests. The kaleidoscopic stone dial of this cuff-style Piaget watch in white gold was achieved with a natural blue opal dial framed in a cage of white gold snow-set with 1,699 diamonds. 

Boucheron's pretty parrot watch from the Ajourée Nuri collection depicts a pink feathered parrot nibbling at some expensive gemstone berries, all brought to life with orange and pink sapphires, diamonds and a pink mother-of-pearl dial bringing a waft of tropical heat to winter climes.

The high jewellery Diva watch presented by Bulgari earlier this year captures the decadent glamour of Italy's Dolce Vita scene and the model in diamonds and emeralds won the coveted GPHG high jewellery award this year. From the ruffled petals decorated with diamonds, pink tourmaline and turquoise, to the pleated bracelet which reminds me quite a lot of the Serpenti, this Bulgari watch will awaken the dormant diva in any woman.

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