Hot to trot: the most extravagant women's jewellery watches for 2020

From prancing horses to buzzing bees, we reveal the most extraordinary and dazzling jewellery watches from the greatest watchmaking maisons for 2020.

Hermès Arceau Harnais Dial

Quaintly named ‘cocktail watches’ in their 1950’s heyday, today’s jewellery watches explore new and exciting territories of craft and materials beyond diamond-set dials. A look at the most recent haute joaillerie watches reveals ever more extravagance and inventive ways to decorate dials, cases and bracelets.  Mix yourself a bone dry martini, apply lipstick and slip into the fabulous world of jewellery watches where indulgence and creativity know no limits.

Harry Winston Kaleidoscope High Jewellery watch with diamonds side
Harry Winston’s Kaleidoscope Black and white high jewellery watch takes the house’s iconic ‘clustering’ style to the cocktail with an array of diamonds and spinels.

The king of diamonds, Harry Winston knew how to deck out a watch and the tradition continues with the aptly named Kaleidoscope. Swirling galaxies of diamonds and precious gems cluster around the dial and cases of five different high jewellery platinum watches on chic little black satin straps. The Black and White watch (above) has an impressive 225 diamonds and 40 black spinels in three different cuts wreathed around the dial in the classic house ‘cluster’ style of varying stone cuts placed at artfully arranged angles and heights to create a firework show of brilliance. Look closely and at 12 and 6 o’clock two pear-shape diamonds form heart shapes.


Harry Winston Kaleidoscope High Jewellery watch
Equally dazzling is this Harry Winston Kaleidoscope watch with 36 blue sapphires, 28 diamonds, 21 aquamarines, 21 pink sapphires, 14 rubies and 7 tsavorites set in a swirling pattern.


Fizzing with colour we have chosen two other versions of the Kaleidoscope watch to share with you. A spiral of multi-colour gemstones draws the eye into the centre of a meteor of energy. The first is set with 42 tsavorites, 29 blue sapphires, 28 orange spessartites, 14 diamonds and 14 yellow sapphires. The second (above) is equally as hypnotic with 36 blue sapphires, 28 diamonds, 21 aquamarines, 21 pink sapphires, 14 rubies and 7 tsavorites. The  dazzle coming off these watches will have you reaching for your martini for refreshment.

The Chanel Mademoiselle Privé Bouton Serti Neige is a high jewellery piece and is entirely set with over 2,481 diamonds. The button is a byzantine cross made up of almost 12 carats of diamonds.

Chanel is committed to creating new high jewellery watches every year as well as those that accompany every themed high jewellery collection. This year inspiration comes in the form of a button, a detail beloved of Gabrielle Chanel who decorated them with her favourite motifs. Using the button as both the fastening for the cuff watches and as the bejewelled cover for the watch dial, these watches capture the witty designs and originality of Coco’s own designs. Five different versions include the high jewellery one-of-a-kind Serti Niege (above) version that is entirely covered in a snow fall of diamonds.

See more Chanel Mademoiselle Privé Bouton watches here.

Dior Grand Soir Reine des abeilles
This colourful little bee in emeralds, pink sapphires, rubies, opals and feathers has escaped Mr Dior's beloved garden to land on the dial of this one of kind Grand Soir Reine des Abeilles watch.

Striking a more decorative note, Dior brings us a carnival of horological fun. Bees, masks and feathers adorn dials that quiver, twist and dance with colour, texture and movement, much like an haute couture gown. Light hearted they may be, but each dial is a masterpiece in craftsmanship with archaic and refined techniques such as feather work, plique a jour enamel and stone carving brought up to date through bold colour schemes and strong graphic and figurative themes.  The Dior Grand Bal Supernatural collection is a series of one-off watches inspired by Christian Dior’s ball gowns for the high society du jour. Wild feathers adorn the spinning rotor that sits on an opal dial. Like a supernatural creature fusing rare and beautiful materials into one, the back of the watch contains a butterfly wing.  The Soir Reine des Abeilles (above) series is inspired by the rose gardens of Mr Dior where happy bees spent their days. Each watch encases a different bee, each a fantastical recreation of the insect in precious materials and with spring-set wings that flutter with the slightest movement of the wrist. One of the most striking versions of the  Dior Grand Bal Masqué is decorated with silky feathers and rich materials including pink quartz, pink sapphires, spinels, rubies and diamonds to capture the opulence and drama of the famous masked balls of the past century.

See more Dior jewellery watches here.

Ronde Louis Cartier Watch
Nearly 100 hours of work were needed to create the dial of this limited edition to 30 timepieces from Cartier.

Cartier lead the way in jewellery watches and over the past decade has made a mission of reviving ancient and near extinct crafts or even inventing new ones to adorn dials in unexpected ways. Over the past years we have seen wood, stone and feather marquetry, miniature painting, gold granulation, micro mosaic, filigree, damascene gold work and new variants on enamel all put to the service of creating ornate dials for the Ronde Louis Cartier Straw and Gold Marquetry watch (above) in the Métiers d’Art series. This year sees the arrival of this new fusion of techniques to create a bold three dimensional panther’s head. Seventy-five blades of straw in eleven different colours are meticulously cut and then embedded with gold wire. Alongside matt and mirror polished gold strips, each element is laid into a grid to form a surprisingly realistic and highly textured and contoured panther. Enamel is used to create the animal’s spots and his enigmatic eyes. One dial takes 97 hours of work by specially trained marquetry craftsmen, jewellers, enamelers, miniature painters and watchmakers.

Hermès Arceau Harnais Studio des fleurs
Only twenty-four of Hermès’ Arceau Harnais Français exquisitely detailed watches will be made with a ceramic enamelled dials featuring a pair of magnificently harnessed horses.

Last but not least  - and perhaps my favourite - is Hermès’ Arceau Harnais Français Remix (above) limited edition. Hermès that started life as a bridle maker in the days when horses were the only mode of transport, has maintained strong links with the equestrian world. This new model features a ceramic enamelled dial with a pair of magnificently harnessed horses as first seen on the 1950’s silk scarf of the same name designed by Hugo Grygkar, the famously talented in-house designer. The richly caparisoned and feathered horses are from an illustration of Napoleon I’s coronation coach in 1804. Each dial takes a month to make starting with a bas relief of the horses on a bisque Limoges ceramic base. Layer by layer of enamel paint is painstakingly applied and repeatedly fired to achieve the rich and lustrous effect. Only twenty-four of these exquisitely detailed watches will be made. 



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