Women may be showing more interest in technical aspects but they're no less keen on aesthetics, so watchmakers are combining the two in fabulously imaginative, lyrical complications.
Everyone at the SIHH was talking about it, "it" being THE women's watch of the year, from
Richard Mille. The RM 19-02 Tourbillon Flower in an edition of 30 is mesmerising, its tonneau case showcasing a wonderful miniature automaton at 7 o'clock. As the minutes pass, or when you activate the pushpiece at 9 o'clock, a five-petaled magnolia flower, sculpted by Olivier Vaucher and painted by hand, opens and closes rhythmically in a kinetic ballet around a flying tourbillon. Look more closely and you see that as the magnolia opens, the flying tourbillon with its gem-set stamen rises up slightly, mimicking the movement of a bud opening. How is such magic possible? The mystery is not being revealed but we're told it involves five levers beneath the petals and a pinion that raises the tourbillon with its stamen.
At Chaumet the Hortensia watch pays nature a tribute via a newly developed self-winding mechanical movement and a décor celebrating the applied arts. On the dial, hydrangeas perform a charming ballet, the central diamond-set flower turning to indicate the hour with its pink-sapphire petal, while a second flower, of pink mother-of-pearl, advances gracefully as the minutes pass.
Nature as inspiration
Chanel, that global benchmark of elegance, dresses its clients down to their wrists. To deliver the same level of excellence as its couture, the house calls on master watchmakers Renaud & Papi to invent its complications. This year's Première Open-work Flying Tourbillon in gem-set white gold will give fashionistas a taste for technical prowess. Stylised as a camellia, the flying tourbillon dispenses with an upper bridge as it beats at the heart of a delicately open-worked hand-wound mechanical movement. Respecting Mademoiselle Chanel's code of aesthetics, the yellow-gold case displays a bezel set with brilliant- and baguette-cut diamonds, a white mother-of-pearl dial and gem-set yellow-gold hands. Van Cleef & Arpels has been delighting us since 2006 with its Poetic Complications collection. Of the two latest additions, the Lady Arpels Day Night Ladybirds draws on nature for its inspiration, and not just to bring us luck! In a four-leaf-clover décor, the sun and moon accompany two insects on their journey: during the day a cloisonné enamel disc reveals two ladybirds, at night a gem-set bouquet of flowers appears. This spectacle is orchestrated by an exclusive self-winding mechanical movement.