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SIHH 2018 - jewellery watches - In their ivory tower

SIHH 2018 - jewellery watches In their ivory tower

They are increasingly rare, and always imprisoned in their glass cases. The inaccessible high jewellery watches of the SIHH may be out of reach, but we can still enjoy looking at them.

It’s the spirit of the age. The belles of the ball in all their finery have become more discreet and less numerous. High jewellery watches are not the stars of SIHH 2018. Nevertheless, for enthusiasts of exceptional watches, these extremely limited series, some of them one-of-a-kind pieces, continue to cast a spell, standing as they do at the crossroads of high jewellery and watchmaking, sometimes with a little haute horlogerie thrown in. So they are still around, and still as inaccessible as ever. Inaccessible in terms of price, of course, but also in how they are presented. It’s out of the question to actually hold one in your hands, ungloved hands still less.

Often, there might be only one, or two at the most, in the world. That’s not enough to satisfy every request, every avid eye, every curious mind. So there they stay, behind the glass, waiting for a client to ask for a closer look. Then, and only then, will the reinforced glass cage be opened.

Luckily, WorldTempus was there to observe these otherworldly creatures in their natural habitat. Often incrusted with precious gems, and fashioned from white or rose gold, they are showcases in and of themselves. Showcases of the brands that create them, of the creativity of the craftsmen and women who bring them to life, and of a still thriving heritage. However rare they may have become, these pieces bear witness to an inventiveness that continues unabated.

They use the strength of simple shapes, like the Cosmos Secret by Van Cleef & Arpels. They encase the arm and clasp it in a tight metallic embrace, like the Sunny Side of Life cuffs by Piaget. They may extrapolate a brand’s aesthetic codes, like the Cartier Panthère Hypnose Pendant, or represent elegantly simply geometrical abstractions, like the Kilkti by Hermès, or Cartier’s Cobra Haute Joaillerie.

Montres joaillières Dans leur tour d’ivoire

Cartier Panthère Hypnose Pendant © David Chokron/Worldtempus

Sometimes, they illustrate a complete story, a poetic sketch encapsulated in a diminutive frame of white gold and pure carbon, adorned with sapphires and garnets, like the Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Jour Féerique. In every case, through their meticulous execution, they truly shine, both literally and figuratively.

In their ivory tower

Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Jour Féerique © David Chokron/Worldtempus

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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...

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