Watches & Wonders 2023 : there have never been so many feminine, joyful, playful and colorful jewelry watches as in this edition. A sheer delight!
By Sandrine Merle.
If we had to choose only one trend, it would be the pendant watch suspended from a long chain with the case mounted upside down for ease of reading. Watchmaker Piaget excels excelled in what it has called the “swinging sautoir” since the 1970s. One is adorned with an oval Zambian emerald echoing the shape of the malachite dial with tassels. Most of its watches being secret, so they often look like lockets, adorned with a carved gold lion’s head by Chanel or set with precious or ornamental stones by Van Cleef & Arpels. At Jaeger-LeCoultre, the Reverso with its reversible rectangular case lends itself beautifully to the trend, with a back decorated with Art Deco motifs in diamond and onyx.
Out with the leather strap!
These super-refined creations are almost all available in gold. In this domain, Cartier gives a masterful demonstration, notably with the “Clash [Un]limited”, with its interlocking construction of studs, spikes, rolling beads and alternation of brushed and polished gold, purple gold and yellow or pink gold. Even the “Tank Américaine” swaps its iconic leather strap for another in gold, worked like a checkerboard. The “Reverso”‘s long chain is made up of thousands of small links (which ensure its fluidity) set with diamonds, while Piaget opts for a twist of gold.
Small is beautiful
Fans of the large calibers that were emblematic of the 2000s, look elsewhere because the trend is towards miniaturization. Two irresistible examples among others: the “Overseas” by Vacheron Constantin and the “Baignoire” by Cartier, which has never been so extra small. A beauty is available on a gold bangle bracelet or fully set with diamonds.
Cartier will always be Cartier. Hermès will always be Hermès. And you won’t find the fairy – the Ludo secret watch inspired by the eponymous bracelet from the 1930s – anywhere else than at Van Cleef & Arpels. On the eve of its 150th anniversary (and of its sale at Artcurial in January 2024), Piaget reaffirms more than ever its DNA based on “Palace” gold, cuffs, ornamental stones, and so on. At Chanel you’re immediately in the mood with the J12 or the “Première” (disguised as a robot, mounted on a bracelet, with alternating links of diamonds and sapphire glass evoking rock crystal), or black and white but also featuring the lion, etc.
I have a soft spot for gold leaf work… Thanks to a thermal process developed in-house, Hublot manages to transform it into small crystals placed one by one on the dial of the “Classic Fusion”. This hand-made process produces a unique, absolutely beautiful effect, like branches in relief playing with the light – amplified by the total black look.
The dial of the “Masan Masan” is breathtaking: two horse heads facing each other are made of brushed gold mimicking a braid and applied on a marquetry of real horsehair. The motif, inspired by a silk square by Thai illustrator Terawat Teankaprasith, evokes the ancestral know-how of braiding dried water hyacinths into animal-shaped objects and toys, including the “masan”, literally a “braided horse”.
Watches & Wonders 2023, the art of staging
At Cartier, it’s all about window displays animated by kinetic sculptures. Golden circles endlessly revolving, pendulums with a rhythmic movement, tricks of perspective, etc. The world of Hermès is enlivened by giant sculptures by artist Clément Vieille, made of woven carbon fiber plates that sway, amplify and then reduce in space. Meanwhile at Piaget, the gigantic wall is “covered” with an opal with kaleidoscopic reflections.
Banner image: “Classic Fusion Gold Crystal” watch by Hublot
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