Feminine faces shine in Salon showing

Serious sparkles, starry skies, ornate flowers and hammered gold adorned women’s watches at SIHH.

By Christian Barker 31/03/2017

Exquisite, intricate and quite stunning, Cartier’s Trait d’Eclat (above) is an elegant manual-winding white-gold watch incorporating 15 Mozambique rubies (with a total weight of 24.93 carats) plus baguette- and brilliant-cut diamonds. It was one of many highlights in women’s watchmaking to be revealed at the 2017 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH).

Independent watchmaker Christophe Claret exhibited a new iteration of the Marguerite timepiece in rose gold, clothed in 600 diamonds and customisable to display a personal message at the press of a pusher.

IWC’s relaunched Da Vinci series (which has cast off the tonneau shape, returning to its more user-friendly round case of the ’80s) included a trio of 36mm automatic moon phase timepieces – two in stainless steel, another in rose gold – each affixed to beautiful Santoni leather straps.

The moon phase complication is far from a rarity in women’s watchmaking, with several shown at this year’s SIHH – ranging from the accessibility of Baume & Mercier’s Promesse in a dainty 34mm steel case with an oval-shaped bezel embellished with two crescent moons of diamonds, to the iconoclastic aesthetic of Urwerk’s mind-bendingly brilliant UR-106 Flower Power.

Meanwhile, Parmigiani’s Tonda 1950 Galaxy eschews a moon phase display in favour of a more recherchérendering of the heavens, its midnight-blue aventurine glass dial suffused with tiny particles of copper that create the effect of stars in the night sky – all surrounded by a diamond-set bezel and rose-gold case.

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Rendez-Vous Sonatina Large features one of watchmaking’s most quixotic complications, a day/night indicator, as well as a discreet programmable chime intended to provide the wearer with a reminder of an important appointment or liaison. It’s available in rose or white gold, the latter with a generous serve of brilliant-cut diamond embellishment.

The lady who’d prefer her glimmer be delivered sans gem-setting would do well to consider Audemars Piguet’s innovative Royal Oak Frosted Gold, the surfaces of which are given a unique finish via the painstaking and ancient ‘Florentine technique’ of gold hammering.

Who said you need jewels to shine on, you crazy diamond?

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