Métiers d'Art Wearing Art on the Wrist Every Day
Artistic marquetry dial watches should be daily wears.
The category of watches known as Métiers d’Arts has been growing by leaps and bounds in the luxury realm. More and more fine watch brands are seeking out the best artisans in the world to create marquetry and mosaic dials. Whether crafted of wood, tile, stone or mother-of-pearl, these watch dials are a sophisticated statement of a brand’s artistic prowess … and of the wearer’s personal taste.
So why is it that these big-ticket watches are more often than not kept in a safe – brought out and worn for only special occasions? The preconception that they are delicate and need special treatment, or should be worn only occasionally, needs to be trashed.
Many of these objects of art that also tell time are designed to be worn and shown off as often as possible. Some can even be daily wear watches. This year alone, a host of watch brands created métiers d’Arts watches that tell a very specific story, and that make a remarkable statement.
Cartier, for instance, works wonders with mosaics and marquetry to highlight the beauty of the beloved panther. For its Rotonde de Cartier Panthere Wood Marquetry watch, the brand’s master artisans individually hand cut hundreds of tiny pieces of wood and then place them with tweezers onto the dial, deftly bringing the mysterious animal to fruition. For nature lovers, and those who adore the big cats, this watch makes an incredible statement all the time. It will have others in the boardroom paying more attention to your watch that what you’re saying.
Vacheron Constantin brings the tiger to the wrist in its Imperial Tiger watch with a sculptured tiger in the center of a wood marquetry dial that showcases fall foliage. The watch indicates the time via apertures so that hands don’t mar the design in any way. With a three-dimensional dial (and a somewhat ferocious tiger), this watch speaks volumes about its wearer. Not only does he or she love nature, but also appreciates incredible miniature art and has a “don’t get in my way” attitude.
© Vacheron Constantin
Hermès this year created the Slim D’Hermès Pegase Paysage (a portrait of the famed Pegasus winged horse) in wood marquetry. By turning to a mix of woods for optimal hues -- such as Macassar, chestnut and yellow pear -- the brand’s master artisans create great contrast on the dial – making the horse highly visible from across the room. Lovers of all things equestrian could easily wear this watch on a regular basis and become the envy of many a horse lover.
Not every brand focuses on nature and animals, some brands also work wonders with abstracts. Corum, for instance, unveiled its new Admiral Legend 38 watches for women this year. The dials – offered in either blue or white – use mother of pearl marquetry to create an almost kaleidoscope effect. Individual pieces of different hues of blue or white mother of pearl are placed in what looks to be random patterns, but are actually carefully cut and planned. The result: a geometric shimmer that catches the light and dazzles the eye.
So, if you look at these works of art and think they belong in a museum, you’re probably right. However, they also are incredibly utilitarian. They’re watches meant to be worn not locked in a vault.
Characterised by audacity and inventiveness, Cartier’s watchmaking history reflects a unique state of mind: “jeweller of kings and king of jewellers”. Its renown is bound up in the tradition of...Find out more >
Corum takes aesthetic daring to the heights of technical perfection. Through a number of collections, drawing on the fundamentals of traditional watchmaking, the manufacture continues to pursue its...Find out more >
“La Montre Hermès” has adopted an epicurean philosophy that values the creation of sober, contemporary timepieces.Find out more >
An exploration of the history of Vacheron Constantin is a voyage of discovery, revealing the excellence of age-old watchmaking. Each timepiece is the result of the creative inspiration of the...Find out more >