Watches & Wonders 2021 have delighted us with a wide variety of stunning jewelled watches that show brands pushing their skills and expertise in both, horology and gem-setting. It is a joy to see the optimism and talent that these pieces reveal. After over a year of darkness, it is time to shine!
Patek Philippe dazzled us with a new rose gold Nautilus Haute Joaillerie ref. 7118/1450R-001 showcasing a diamond snow-setting on the 35.2mm case, bezel and bracelet; a total of 2,553 flawless Top Wesselton brilliant-cut diamonds (total 12.69ct) that glimmer in the light like fresh snowflakes in the sun.
The dial features individual rows of diamonds that exhibit a fine undulated relief, a typical facet of the Nautilus ladies’ collection. The shimmering effect is created with the very rare snow-setting technique, also known as random pavé. Diamonds of different sizes have to be set and fixed in a way that minimizes the exposure of the gold so the diamonds shine through. Obviously, each watch with a full random pavé is a one-of-a-kind piece.
All diamonds are different, what makes the setting incredibly difficult but enhances the visualisation of every single gemstone…
Despite all the gems, the new Nautilus Haute Joaillerie offers the same legibility Patek watches have us accustomed to. This is why the dial features “Alpha” hour and minute hands in luminous rose gold and the applied Arabic rose-gold numerals are luminous as well. Powering this extraordinary timepiece we find the self-winding caliber 324 S movement with an extremely elaborate finishing that can be admired through the sapphire-crystal case back.
Rolex presented us with a new gem-set version of its Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust. Crafted from 18kt yellow gold, the watch showcases the captivating shimmer of the diamonds that adorn every surface. The 28mm case is set with 158 brilliant-cut diamonds on the sides and lugs as well as 44 of the same gemstones on the bezel. The President bracelet sparkles with a further 596 diamonds, also brilliant-cut. The dial, paved with 291 diamonds, features elegant 18kt yellow gold Roman numerals with a black finish. Not a bad new face for a watch that is turning 64 years old.
This new Lady-Datejust is equipped with calibre 2236, a movement at the forefront of watchmaking technology. Like all Rolex watches, it carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellent performance on the wrist.
In a tribute to the Limelight Gala and its illustrious history, Piaget presented six new limited editions at Watches & Wonders 2021. Among them, the Precious Rainbow, set with a spectacular array of green tsavorites and coloured sapphires that range from red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo and violet, taking centre stage around
the bezel and on the lugs.
Each model is powered by the automatic movement, Piaget’s Calibre 501P1. Sourcing progressively-sized, coloured gemstones of this quality is extremely challenging, what explains why the series is numbered and limited. The setting of this piece also demanded particular patience and expertise from the Maison’s gem-setters who needed to create the perfect colour and size transition from one gemstone to the next using an intricate technique called “Serti Descendu” that magnifies the brilliance of each gemstone.
Sourcing progressively-sized gemstones of this quality is extremely challenging…
This arresting piece of jewelled horology comes in a 32mm case, with a matching dial and the bracelet that have both been enhanced with Piaget’s signature Palace decoration. The technique involves the artisan assembling hundreds of gold miniature links and then soldering them so the bracelet feels supple on the wrist. The process takes two hours to complete on the dial and eight hours to finish across the bracelet.
With floral designs reminiscent of Art-Deco, Jaeger-LeCoultre surprised us with four jewelled interpretations of the Reverso: the Reverso One Precious Flowers, two in white and two in rose gold. The models are available in pink, blue or green, showcasing either arums or lilies and complemented by shiny alligator straps.
The blooms are enamelled against a black background for contrast, while the foliage is fully set with diamonds. After each coat is applied, the enamel must be fired to set the colour in a process that takes many days. After preparing the layers in laser, it takes 30 hours to enamel the faces of the watch and a further 95 to set the 626 gemstones. To complete the piece, the background is decorated with lacquer or mother-of-pearl, or is set with diamonds – according to the model.
Grain-set diamonds embellish the entire case, wrapping seamlessly from front to back…
The collection introduces the hand-wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 846, a shaped movement developed especially for the Reverso. Only ten pieces of each model will be made.
Bvlgari unveiled two vibrant versions of the Divissima and Allegra cocktail watches that exude the joy and exuberance of la Dolce Vita. The new timepieces artfully combine brilliant gems and colour in daring ways, a feature for which the Maison is immediately recognisable. This update to two classic Bvlgari designs follow the boldness that has characterised the Italian jeweller since the 1950s: intrepid geometric shapes and prominent glossy cabochon gems combined with smooth-surfaced, generous-sized stones in rich, saturated colours. All of them come with a Bvlgari-personalised high-precision quartz movement.
The two new Divissima are scaled down from the Divas’ Dream watches, the all-diamond and diamond and emerald timepieces are smaller (33mm) and easier to wear and are presented with black or green alligator strap respectively. Opulent and sophisticated, the white gold frame gives a sense of lightness and motion to the signature fan-shaped motifs that surround the dials.
The iridescent mother of pearl dial is emboldened by eight brilliant-cut emeralds in a vivid shade of green, set amongst waves of diamonds. The all-diamond model features a snow-set diamond dial encircled by undulating ripples of diamonds. The redesigned Allegra is a dazzling example of Bvlgari’s audacious approach to jewellery watches. Gemstones of different cuts and shapes – citrines, amethysts, peridot, blue topaz and rhodolite – are set to orbit around the mother of pearl dial, creating a stunning display of brightness.
A mix of faceted and cabochon gemstones forms a gleaming halo around the dial…
Contrasted with the brilliance of over 80 diamonds, the mix of faceted and cabochon gemstones forms a gleaming halo that gently moves thanks to the expertly crafted metal settings. Available in either white or rose gold, both versions are now presented on alligator strap.
Vacheron Constantin is showing us some true greatness these days. The two new additions to the Égérie collection (in white and pink gold, entirely set with diamonds) maintain the signature offset display and asymmetrical geometry inspired by the Maison’s heritage. A stunning setting of 303 diamonds accentuate the bezel, flanks, lugs and inter-lugs of its 35mm-diameter case. The dial sparkles with 574 diamonds.
The offset date appears in a diagonal formed by the Vacheron Constantin logo and the crown positioned between 1 and 2 o’clock, which is topped with a rose-cut diamond. The skilful composition of curves and interlaced circles is punctuated by 18kt gold Arabic numerals scalloped like fine lace and swept over by slim gold hands. A clever interchangeable strap enables the wearer to change the look of the watch as she wishes: satin or satin-effect alligator leather, night blue coloured for the white gold version; candied chestnut coloured for the pink gold model.
The skilful composition of curves and interlaced circles in the new Égérie is punctuated by 18kt gold Arabic numerals…
The heart of this stunning timepiece beats to the rhythm of calibre 1088, a self-winding Manufacture movement with a 40-hour power reserve. The sapphire crystal on the caseback allows you to admire its remarkable finishes: a hand-crafted Côtes de Genève motif and an opened 22K gold oscillating weight inspired by the shape of the Maltese cross. £54,000
With its distinctive codes, chained crown and bold design, the Cartier Pasha has been a statement watch since its creation in 1985. Relaunched only in 2020, the new models presented this year are sophisticated in terms of watchmaking functions and design details and maintain all the signature details found on a Pasha watch: from personalised engraved initials hidden behind the crown cover to interchangeable straps. The highlight of the collection for me is the ladies’ Pasha Serti-Vibrant 30mm in white gold.
The Serti-Vibrant was invented in 2015, bringing extra shine to diamonds worn on the wrist. Serti Vibrant watches feature an innovative technique with an invisible vibrating system, developed by the Cartier Manufacture whereby brilliant-cut diamonds are set on metallic rods and springs allowing them to move freely without restraint. The new 2021 Serti Vibrant is paved with brilliant-cut diamonds in a shagreen setting and set with vibrating brilliant-cut diamonds of different sizes to add relief and shine.
The diamond studded dial shakes to give slight movement to 318 brilliant-cut diamonds (total 3.10ct). The crown is set with a sapphire cabochon and crown protector set with a brilliant-cut diamond. Case and buckle are set with further 133 brilliant-cut diamonds (1.90ct) and it comes with a black alligator leather strap. The movement is the Manufacture mechanical self-winding 530MC with 40 hours power reserve.