High jewellery watches Naturally inspired jewellery creations
Ears of wheat, gardens, laurel wreaths and birds – the high jewellery watches displayed in Paris during Haute Couture Week celebrate nature and much more besides.
Every year, Paris’s Haute Couture week provides an opportunity for the major jewellery houses to present some of their most beautiful, most unusual and most precious creations. This year sees a particularly rich cornucopia of one-off pieces and extremely limited editions that draw deeply from the well of natural inspiration. These exponents of high jewellery creation work with a varied repertoire of formats, with watches occupying a special place.
Chanel’s most eye-catching proposal, however, was not a wrist watch but a table clock. Wheat carries great symbolic weight, and was a favourite motif of Gabrielle Chanel; the Pendulette Bouquet de Moisson is a literal interpretation of a sheaf of wheat in rose, yellow and green gold. The upright stalks appear loosely held together with a diamond-set marquise-shaped clock on a chain, suspended over a rock crystal base scattered with grains of wheat, almost as if they had fallen there by chance.
Chance could also play a part in the choice of motif, or perhaps not. The theme of wheat could almost be called a trend, if the pieces in question were slightly less exclusive. Chaumet also gave pride of place to wheat as part of a wider nature theme. A small jewelled watch face nestles between ears and leaves of wheat, while nearby a secret watch is hidden under furled oak leaves.
Piaget was on top form, presenting a more extensive collection than we have seen before, with a strong focus on watches. “The Sunny Side of Life” is based on a simple concept: sunshine and happiness. Piaget has built on its tradition of using oval forms, producing a refined selection of jewellery watches with dials of lapis lazuli or veined white mother-of-pearl framed by laurel wreaths worked in diamonds, emeralds and sapphires. Iconic cuff bracelets provide a broad canvas to demonstrate the maison’s gold engraving expertise, luxuriating in a wealth of textures. Texture meets colour in timepieces enhanced with green, blue and burgundy flinqué enamel, or feathers arranged geometrically in an arresting three-dimensional pyramid.
Dior went to Versailles for inspiration, taking its cues from court life. The circular dial of the Grand Bal, mounted on a green velvet strap, is entirely framed in diamonds. Individually cut gems are arrayed side-by-side to form a square bezel with rounded edges, calling to mind a sunburst mirror.
Bulgari, always keen on colour, has pulled out all the stops this year. Single rubies highlight the brilliant diamonds that frame the concentric circles of the Astrale, and the Giardino Oiseau de Paradis is decked out in multi-coloured cloisonné enamel. Bulgari was also one of the few houses to showcase grand complications, including the Tourbillon Berries Biretrograde, whose tourbillon carriage is framed in a spiral of diamonds, sapphires and garnets.
If there is one constant in this ferment of shapes, colours and poetry, it is that the diamond is still king. The fiery white gem is omnipresent: brilliant-cut, navette-cut, pear-cut, marquise-cut and often baguette-cut, as in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso One, which displays its twin dials, one in aventurine and the other in mother-of-pearl, emerging from a luminous frame of ranks of horizontal or vertical invisibly-set baguette-cut diamonds.
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