You don’t need a watch. You want one. Spoil yourself this season with one of the most spectacular ladies’ timepieces on the market. From new styles to enduring classics, we’ve selected the most beautiful and luxurious ladies’ watches on the market to make sure your wristwear is as stylish as you are
Much like the first handbags, the first ladies’ watches were a marker of status, displaying not only the wearer’s wealth and importance but also her independence. The wristwatch was originally an item for women; men preferred pocket watches, but the leading ladies of society wore their timepieces in the form of ornate bracelets. Today, when our technological items tell the time for us, a watch is more than ever a luxury – not something we need, but something we want. And what could be more luxurious – more covetable – than a watch beautiful enough to rival any piece of jewellery?
What could be more luxurious than a watch beautiful enough to rival any piece of jewellery?
Bulgari began as a fine jewellery specialist, so it’s no surprise that its ladies’ watches are so beautiful. The house combines its signature Italian elegance with traditional Swiss horological know-how to create timepieces that are as stylish as they are technically complex. The Lucea Moon Phases watch is one of the latest additions to Bulgari’s ever-popular Lucea collection, which celebrates light in all its forms (the name comes from the Italian word luce, which means light in English). The signature Lucea design, which was inspired by classic Roman sundials, has been enriched with the addition of moon phase indications.
As with many of Bulgari’s feminine watches, the Lucea Moon Phases offers options to suit every style. A wonderfully detailed moon, as it moves through its phases, is revealed through a delicately carved arc, and will match your material of choice – steel, rose gold or white gold. The night sky is depicted in a shade to match your alligator strap: deep blue, rich plum or bold red. Each watch features a shimmering mother-of-pearl dial set with brilliant-cut diamonds at its hour markers, and for something extra special you can opt for even more diamonds, around the bezel and on the lugs: a fitting homage to an enduring symbol of light and femininity.
Van Cleef & Arpels is another watchmaker with its sights set on the heavens. At this year’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, the famous French house unveiled a women’s version of its stunning Midnight Planétarium watch. In an astounding display of the maison’s technical prowess, miniature models of celestial bodies dance across the dial. The Sun sits at the centre, while Mercury, Venus and the Earth rotate around it at their actual speeds, and a tiny diamond moon completes a circuit of the Earth every 29.5 days. A shooting star tracks the passing of hours. So intricate is the concept of Midnight Planétarium that it has taken four years to adapt the original to this smaller, more feminine style.
Two straps are available, each of which perfectly fits the celestial theme: a blue glitter alligator strap echoes the inky night sky of the aventurine dial, while a white gold bracelet set with diamonds sparkles like the stars. Even the rear has not been overlooked: a diamond-set crescent moon completes this astounding feat of craftsmanship and design.
For something more minimal yet no less beautiful, look to Piaget’s new Extremely Lady model. A sleek design featuring a distinctive oval dial, the watch was a favourite among fashion icons in the 1960s, and was famously worn by Jackie Kennedy Onassis. At the time, it represented a feeling of artistic freedom, and today the maison has reintroduced the style – updated for the bold, sensual woman of today.
Piaget has a rich tradition of goldsmithing excellence, and is famous for its intricate engraving techniques, which add sumptuous texture to this most precious of metals. The new Extremely Lady features a supple, decorative 24-carat gold bracelet that has been painstakingly hand engraved to resemble fur. Paired with the equally luxurious oval face, with its dial of mother of pearl and a bezel set with 24 diamonds, this makes for a watch with serious sparkle.
Another model to rediscover this season is the Panthère de Cartier, an iconic timepiece of the 1980s reissued for a modern audience. Cartier sees its Panthère watch as ‘jewellery first, timepiece second’ and approaches its design as such. The flexible bracelet slides easily onto the wrist and moves as you move; the undeniably classic shape is adaptable to any setting, from the most casual of brunches to the most formal of balls.
The chic simplicity of the core design also allows for a number of variations: the Panthère looks fantastic in rose, white or yellow gold, or even in steel, in small or medium size, in rose gold with squares of black lacquer, or with a smattering – or more than just a smattering – of diamonds. Cartier caters to women with excellent taste who know just what suits them.
Whatever your taste and style, remember that a watch is so much more than a way of telling time. The watch for you is one that makes you feel more special, more polished, the moment you slip it on your wrist.