October 21, 2019
THE LIGHT FANTASTIC
Rolex, the world’s largest luxury watch company, famously smelts its own gold, part of a vast, vertically integrated watchmaking programme that allows it to make sure every component in its mechanical watches conforms to its exacting quality controls. This Lady-Datejust has a gleaming 28mm yellow gold case and comes on a yellow gold Jubilee bracelet with polished and brushed links. Inside it is a high-performance automatic movement charged by the movement of your arm. The champagne dial is decorated with diamond-set Roman numeral hour markers, with further brilliant-cut diamonds set into the watch’s bezel. Rolex’s signature ‘Cyclops’ magnifying device over the date indication at three o’clock completes the picture.
Hublot Big Bang One Click Chen Man
As has been proved time and again, ladies’ watches don’t have to be dainty to be feminine. Here, Hublot has worked with Chinese visual artist Chen Man to create a version of its sporty Big Bang that radiates femininity, despite its 39mm diameter and athletic build. The mother-of-pearl dial becomes a tableau for an ensemble collection of hour markers: some are diamonds, while the hour and quarters are represented by peach blossom appliques. The steel watch houses an automatic movement and, as a sign it’s no shrinking violet, comes on a turquoise and white rubber strap, and is water-resistant to 100 metres.
Ulysse Nardin Classico Lady Classico
As the anchor floating between the two names that make up the company logo suggests, Ulysse Nardin has close ties to the sea – closer, in fact, than almost any other luxury Swiss watch company. During the 19th century, it supplied highly accurate timekeepers to the world’s leading navies, a legacy it continues to leverage today. In the here and now, Ulysse Nardin creates some of the purest and most elegant of all Swiss mechanical watches. Among them is this Classico Lady Classico, a 37mm white gold piece with a shimmering enamel dial that ripples like the waves of the sea. The shoreline, such as it is, is a sparkling ring of brilliant-cut diamonds.
TAG Heuer Formula 1
In the 1960s, TAG Heuer became the first Swiss watch company, and indeed the first non-automotive company, to place its logo on a Formula 1 car. More than half a century later, the watch descended from that era- and brand-defining moment carries all the energy and finesse of the world’s most powerful motor sport, in this case pairing the design’s muscular architecture with the iconic blue and orange stripes of the Gulf Racing livery. Its 43mm stainless steel case wraps around a quartz chronograph movement, comes on a blue calf-skin strap and is water-resistant to 200 metres.
F.P. Journe Élégante
Élégante, a watch with an ingenious function. Tucked away at 4 o’clock is a mechanical motion sensor that detects whether the watch is being worn or not. After 35 minutes of motionlessness, it switches to standby mode. The hands stop moving and the watch appears to go to sleep. As soon as it’s back on the wrist, it wakes up and automatically adjusts to the correct time – the hands are even programmed to take the shortest route to the correct point. This magical function is a mixture of mechanical parts and an electronic microprocessor, the latter keeping track of time even when the moving components are inactive. The net effect of this is extraordinary efficiency. The company says that in daily use, the watch battery will last eight to 10 years. In standby, that figure rises to an astonishing 18 years.
Chopard Happy Diamonds Oval
You can always tell a Chopard Happy Sport watch – it catches the light in a way no other watch can. Watches in the collection, or indeed in this Happy Diamonds derivative, carry five or sometimes seven precious stones between two layers of sapphire crystal over the dial. They sit in spinning cups that dance coquettishly every time the wearer moves their arm. In this rose gold Oval version, seven stones – two diamonds, two pink sapphires and three rubies – float over a mother-of-pearl dial, flanked by pink sapphires set into the bezel. Chopard is both master jeweller and master watchmaker, and has partnered this decorative design with one of its own automatic mechanical movements.