Art & Timewear



Crown jewels


A part from its technical functions, the crown lends itself to imaginative finishes and plays an aesthetic role in establishing identities and enhancing watches.


The crown is such an integral part of the case we tend to overlook it. Yet it didn't appear until relatively recent times, stealing the limelight from the key with which watches used to be wound. A crown can serve to set the date or start a countdown, and today may well be beautified on its own account. Of course it's often engraved with a logo, as is Franck Muller's Giga Gong Tourbillon, but it frequently takes its desire for recognition further. The crown on Richard Mille's RM 19-01 Natalie Portman may be dynamometric but that's not what strikes us; what we notice above all is its gem-set white-gold finery. Roger Dubuis achieves a similar effect for the Homage Double Flying Tourbillon by setting its crown with glittering baguette-cut diamonds. Sometimes the crown tries to disorientate us by moving around: Breguet places it at 4 o'clock on the Reine de Naples, as does Cartier on the Ballon Blanc, additionally adorning it with a twinkling 0.2ct diamond. More virile at DeWitt, the Glorious Knight's crown required its very own patent, being set reclining but returning to its normal position for the chronograph functions. A vital component, the crown is the link between inside and outside the case and ensures this is watertight. Panerai places it on the left and gives it a guard, an unusual choice that requires particular care.