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May 2023

Jewels that tell the time

Staying true to the jewellery watch tradition, creators are overhauling their designs and suggesting new ways to wear timepieces, to the delight of contemporary young women who love to layer their jewellery.

 by Julie de los Rios
La baignoire de Cartier / Montre Emerald en or blanc
Reverso Secret Necklace, Jaeger-LeCoultre

Watchmakers have always been designing jewellery that tells the time. There is, admittedly, no doubt that women enjoy wearing powerful or technical models from men’s collections. Manufacturers have understood that the future looks bright for unisex watches; pieces with a diameter to suit all wrists. But there is definitely still an appetite for oversize jewellery, accessories that bring a trendy twist to a classic outfit. In 2023, the houses are reviving the 17th-century European tradition of watches on chains. Jaeger-LeCoultre gives its icon a new look with the Reverso Secret Necklace. Its diamond- and onyx-set case forms an Art Deco motif and hangs on a rippling cord-style necklace made of rose gold links, diamonds and onyx beads. 

The pendant watch trend is well-established at Piaget, which pays homage to its bold creations from the ‘60s to the ‘80s. This was a time when the brand attracted the glamorous jet-set community of artists, musicians, models, and actors. Three pendant watches are a testament to its creative boldness in the new collection. Two of these also recall its mastery of gold. The first is inspired by a 1969 design and features a hand-made gold thread chain that has been carefully modelled and twisted. And how could anyone choose between the long tassel necklace set with a Zambian emerald and the long necklace with a twist of gold surrounding a dial enhanced with the Palace design?
What a predicament! 

Ready to wear

Van Cleef & Arpels presents luxury and fashion versions of its Perlée secret pendant watch. Our top pick? The pink quartz, because it’s so easy to pair with an everyday wardrobe. Another offering from the Place Vendôme jeweller is the Ludo secret watch, a contemporary take on the Ludo bracelet that was created in 1934, inspired by an accessory that was all the rage in the thirties: the belt. In the meantime, Cartier is revisiting one of its icons – Baignoire – remaining true to its original shape. Among the many variations, the version set on a bangle matches perfectly with the house’s bracelets – Clash, Juste un Clou and Love – and can also be mixed and matched with other bracelets. 

Harry Winston is constantly expanding its Emerald collection. The delicate case, which pays homage to the house’s founder and his fascination for the shape, is paired with either a flamboyant red or a white gold satin-brushed bracelet. Finally, Dior is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its first watch, with a revamped version called D My Dior. With its unmistakable graceful curves and two sleek hands, this latest creation features one of the house’s signature patterns: cannage. Like a ribbon that tells the time, the watch comes in gold or steel, is set or finely crafted, and available in two sizes,
19 or 25 mm.


+ d'horlogerie