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Novelties - Sautoir watches : How's It Hanging ?

Novelties Sautoir watches : How's It Hanging ?

The sautoir watch is one of those watch formats that have gone forgotten, maybe the most elegant of all.  The idea is to fit a timepiece inside a pendant and to attach the latter to a sautoir, which is essentially a long necklace. The sautoir watch dial is reversed, like on nurse watches and it had jewelry timepieces turned upside down when it started popping up on the radar in surprisingly high numbers. Several of them have made a simultaneous appearance at Watches and Wonders '23, signed by Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget, Chanel and even Jaeger-LeCoultre.  

Launches of timepieces other than wristwatches are few and far between, but it is a regular occurrence, just like flowers blooming in a desert. They're generally buoyed by a rising economic tide, which as we know floats all boats, including those with improbable chances of commercial success. This is how pocket watches and various types of clocks sometimes make it past product management committees. The sautoir is but an avatar of these timepieces, rendered close to irrelevant by the almighty, ubiquitous, monopolistic wristwatch.

These debuts often happen in flocks. Their confluence may seem haphazard, but in really never truly is. Managers from competing brands talk among themselves, even more so within corporate groups and so do suppliers. All this informal talking leads to great minds ending up thinking alike, and releasing similar products at the same time, thus creating the stuff trends are made of. 

But never mind how they come to life, they do have one of their own, and they're generally charming. Since they're so rare, sautoir watches will stun, interest and or ravish one more easily than the pervasive wristwatch. All the more so as they are rooted in both watchmaking and jewelry, which makes them very delicate objects. 

At least that is how Piaget has designed its latest sautoirs, boosted by renewed confidence, energy and creativity. The brand has crafted many of its « Swinging Sautoirs » in the past, Swinging vbeing a reference to the 1960's Swinging London, the time and place where Piaget took a turn for the creative best. The brand is introducing several High Jewelry Sautoir Watches, including one built around a 25ct. cabochon emerald, and another made of ornate gold. 

Sautoir watches : How's It Hanging ?

Piaget High Jewelry Sautoir Watch © David Chokron/WorldTempus

Van Cleef & Arpels is making its sautoir an extension of their Perlée collection. Without climbing too high on the sophistication ladder, the Perlée secret pendant watches are sheltered behind swiveling cabochons carved from hard stones, or set with colored gems, all of which are surrounded by beads (perles in French) of gold that gave the collection its name. 

Sautoir watches : How's It Hanging ?

Perlée secret pendant watch © Van Cleef & Arpels

For Chanel, it is a single, unique piece such as the brand regularly releases under its Mademoiselle Privé umbrella. As is customary for the brand, it's showcasing one of their signature symbols, in this instance the lion. The Sautoir Mademoiselle Privé Lion has two faces, one made of faceted onyx, the other with a watch hidden under a three-dimensional lion head, carved in gold and adorned with diamonds. The whole pretty thing hangs from a necklace made of gold beads, diamonds and carved onyx.

Sautoir watches : How's It Hanging ?

Chanel Sautoir Mademoiselle Privé Lion © Chanel

For Jaeger-LeCoultre, it is an opportunity to show everyone how versatile their rectangular timepiece actually is. The Reverso Secret Necklace can evidently be worn on both its sides, and is attached to an elaborate chain set with thousands of diamonds. A good reminder that among the dozens of crafts mastered by the Grande Maison, those related to jewelry have pride of place.  

Sautoir watches : How's It Hanging ?

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Secret Necklace © Jaeger-LeCoultre

And just a few weeks after Watches & Wonders, another unique piece joins the chorus as Bulgari reveals Mediterranea, their latest, exuberant high jewelry collection. It includes Cameo Imperiale, a necklace secret watch, adorned with rubies and diamonds, whose openworked tourbillon movement hides under a Cleopatra face.

Sautoir watches : How's It Hanging ?

Bulgari Cameo Imperiale © Bulgari

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