Watch shapes Neither round nor square, but oval
While they are not particularly common, oval watches are not particularly rare either, and there are some famous models, almost all of which are designed exclusively for women. Could that have something to do with the symbolism of the egg, perhaps?
Breguet – Reine de Naples 8908
As well as having royal connections, the Reine de Naples can trace its origin back to the first oval wristwatch, which was perhaps the very first wristwatch of any shape. On 8 June 1810, according to the special order book kept by Abraham-Louis Breguet (now housed in the Breguet company archives), Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples, ordered “a repeater watch [a quarter repeater, in fact] of oblong shape, for a bracelet”. The timepiece was completed on 21 December 1812, and allocated the number 2639. In 2002, almost 200 years later, Breguet introduced its Reine de Naples line. The model 8908, launched at this year’s Baselworld, is a variation on the first watch in this collection, which itself was inspired by the 1812 watch. It features the moon phase indicator and power reserve at 12 o’clock, the off-centre hours register in the lower half of the ovoid dial, and the small seconds at 7 o’clock. The 18K rose gold case, which measures 36.50 x 28.45 mm, is complemented by a Tahitian mother-of-pearl dial. Inside beats the self-winding mechanical calibre 537, with escape wheel, Swiss pallet and silicon balance spring. It’s a history of luxury watchmaking in miniature – yours for 35'200 Swiss francs for the satin strap version (see the picture below) or 60'300 Swiss francs for the gold strap version.
Reine de Naples 8908 © Breguet
Chopard Happy Sport Oval
Chopard’s Happy Sport collection is 25 years young. Over the last quarter of a century the collection has been enriched with a multitude of models, some of which are oval in format. This year, Chopard has redesigned the oval: the bezel of the Happy Sport Oval is wider at the sides than the top and base of the rose gold case. The proportions of the Roman numerals and markers enhance the oval effect of the silvered dial with its guilloché centre. The watch is driven by the self-winding mechanical Calibre 09.01-C – the same movement that equips the collection’s round watches – which was developed by the Chopard manufacture to celebrate the Happy Sport’s 25th anniversary. The price of this version is 13,600 Swiss francs.
Happy Sport Oval © Chopard
Eberhard & Co. – Gilda Argent
The Gilda collection features nothing but oval watches, in a variety of consistently elegant styles. With its mother-of-pearl dials, floral motifs, diamonds and oversized Arabic or Roman numerals, the Gilda watch offers a variety of treatments for the perfectly oval dial. The Gilda Argent, the latest addition to the range, is entirely clad in a soft, luminous grey – an antidote to the generally sad image of this colour. It has a steel case, an original mother-of-pearl dial asymmetrically bisected by the diamond-set Roman numerals XI and V, and a new double-wrap strap in silvered patent leather. Like all Gilda watches, it is driven by a quartz movement, has a patented anti-reflective spherical sapphire crystal, and the engraved caseback is secured by four screws. It is available for CHF 4'480.
Gilda Argent © Eberhard & Co.
Raymond Weil – Shine
Last year, Raymond Weil introduced the exclusive patented system of interchangeable bracelets to its Shine collection. This year, the brand is innovating further with an unusual elliptical case that can also take the straps from the round models. The new oval Shine with quartz movement comes in a 42 x 29 mm polished steel case. It is available in three versions, with a dial in either mother-of-pearl or flinqué silver, punctuated by 12 Roman numerals, or four Roman numerals and eight diamond markers, depending on the model. The most precious version has its case set with 32 diamonds, and is priced at CHF 2,250 (exclusive of VAT), while the other versions cost CHF 1,295 and CHF 1,450.
Shine © Raymond Weil
de Grisogono – Cascata
De Grisogono’s Cascata watch features a more unusual horizontally-oriented oval measuring 48 x 40 mm, paved with white diamonds. The 72 biggest stones around the case are oval-cut, and the claws that hold them in place are concealed behind 126 brilliant-cut diamonds, creating a beautifully even carpet of gems. The dial is equally dazzling, with its 148 snow-set diamonds serving as a backdrop to two dauphine hands driven by the AF 10-47 quartz movement.
Cascata © de Grisogono
Patek Philippe – Golden Ellipse
Purists would say that this watch is not a true oval, more of a rectangle with very rounded corners, and they would be right. But the elliptical design of the Golden Ellipse celebrates its half century this year and, given that it is also one of the rare oval men’s watches, it deserves a place in our selection. The 2018 model comes in a generous 34 x 39.5 mm case just 5.9 mm deep, in 18K 5N rose gold. The ebony black dial, mirrored by the black onyx set into the crown, continues onto the glossy alligator strap, whose invisible fittings underneath the caseband help to maintain the purity of the elliptical design. The hour and minute functions are supplied by the automatic Calibre 240, whose depth is minimised by the mini-rotor nestled in the thickness of the bridges.
Golden Ellipse © Patek Philippe
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