For the most part, Watches & Wonders is a man’s world. However, there are a few luxury brands each year that unveil jewelry watches at the Swiss fair, combining the artisan techniques of both timepieces and jewels. Some traditional men’s watch brands also produce jewelry watches for women — and of course, there’s the new trend of blinging out men’s watches with diamonds and colored gems.
Here are six jewelry watches from this year’s edition of the Geneva show, ranging from the traditional to the avant-garde.
Cartier Clash [Un]limited
This is a watch collection about volume, shapes and precious materials in novel combinations. It combines satin and brushed finishes for yellow and rose gold, as well as a proprietary violet gold that Cartier created for this collection. It also juxtaposes square and ball shapes, and deploys a mixture of stones. One version features onyx, black spinel, obsidian and diamonds, and another has a more colorful combination of coral, black spinel, chrysoprase, diamonds and tsavorites.
Pictured below is a Mécabille de Cartier watch with an 18-karat rose gold case from the collection.
Van Cleef & Arpels À Cheval
With this collection, the French luxury brand shows its gem-setting skills in two new watches. The first features blue sapphires surrounding a diamond-paved dial and extending through the length of the bracelet. The second one dazzles in pink sapphires and diamonds. The colored gems are in gradient patterns to highlight the different shades, and all the diamonds are D to F color and IF to VVS clarity.
Chopard Happy Sport
The 2023 edition of this well-known line comes with a new dial color, Midnight Purple. One of the dials has a guilloche design. Five free-floating diamonds are in constant motion inside the dial — a trademark of the Happy Diamonds and Happy Sport collections — and the bezel is paved with diamonds. Unlike many of the other Happy models, this one runs on the Chopard 09.01-C automatic movement.
The bracelet of this high-jewelry cuff watch features Piaget’s Palace Décor technique, which the luxury brand first developed in the 1960s. A craftsman uses a beveled-tip tool called an echoppe to manually sculpt the stylized grooves and outlines. The watch dial is made of turquoise, and brilliant-cut sapphires line the bezel.
Chanel Mademoiselle Privé Pincushion
This line of five watches, with dials employing five different jewelry-making techniques, takes its inspiration from a dressmaker’s pincushion — entirely on-brand for the only high-fashion company exhibiting at Watches & Wonders. Crafted from precious metals, diamonds, mother-of-pearl or onyx, each design reflects the brand’s signature motifs.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Blacklight Spin-Stone Monobalancier
While this timepiece is an outlier in our list of jewelry watches, it may be the most creative in its use of gems. The Swiss watch brand produces highly technical complications, innovative mechanisms it describes as “hyper-horology.” It creates a limited number of expensive watches for a specific clientele.
This model uses vivid spinels ranging from red to blue, coated with the phosphorescent substance Super-LumiNova so they shine in the dark. The multi-tone effect gives the watch a chromatic look. To achieve the desired colors, uniformity and luminescence, the company uses synthetically grown spinels. The ones that encircle the bezel and flange are the most visible; they go by the trademarked name of “Spin-Stones,” and the semicircle-like cut is patent pending. Custom-shaped spinels adorn the skeletonized dial to form the signature Roger Dubuis star, with a small round diamond at the center.
Main image: The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Blacklight Spin-Stone Monobalancier. (Roger Dubuis)