2016 Watches: The Best Blings Of Our Times


Yes, Baselworld, the top notch watch and jewelry trade fair in Switzerland, is ending – but that doesn’t meant we can’t keep talking about the showcases.

We’ve already heard about some of the watches that will get horology geeks screaming and those that will get the tech geeks dancing.

Today, we will do something really simple. We’ll covet a life of luxury. One where your wrist is adorned with a statement piece that is just as expensive as the house around the corner in the downtown avenue of Anywhere.

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Yeah, we’ll look at the the totally blinged-out watches that are fit for wallets of high-society spenders.

They combine precious gems with stunning enamel work and aesthetic value. This obviously means that they are absolutely stunning and literally, the best blings of our times.

Seiko Fugako Tourbillon Limited Edition Credor

This year Seiko added the first-ever tourbillon to its high-end Credor collection, and to honor the gravitational power of the tiny device, the brand designed the face of the watch to mimic the famous Mt. Fuji wave paintings by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. It is hand-lacquered and carved by top Japanese craftsmen, and the platinum case features 43 sapphires. It has a 37-hour power reserve, is limited to eight pieces, and will retail for $46,000.

Harry Winston Twist Automatic

You will not be able to wear this watch and be ignored. The 50 marquis-cut diamonds are set at different heights on the dial, as are the 60 marquis-cut rubies, which give the watch face a sense of real swirling movement. That’s not even to mention the absurd 71 baguette-cut diamonds that serve as a backdrop between 7 and 12 o’clock, or the 110 rubies and 178 diamonds on the bracelet. Oh yeah, or the 161 baguette-cut diamonds circling around the case. That’s 520 stones so far. Anyway, the Caliber HW2008 movement is fully automatic, if you care. Price upon request.

Chopard Happy Diamonds

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of its Happy Diamonds collection, Chopard debuted a new dial with its famous free- floating diamonds. (Happy diamonds are given room to breathe, you see.) The movement of the diamonds over the mother-of-pearl face just means that the watch will sparkle even more as you move through the room. The cushion-shaped 18K white gold case is inspired by the original 1976 Happy Diamonds men’s watch—although here it’s used in a watch for women for the first time with the line. There are more floating diamonds than ever, and they are in different sizes, which really emphasizes the movement and sparkle of the piece. (It tells time, too, but with all that bling who cares?). The square face retails for $48,500 while the round face goes for $44,000.

DiGrisogono New Lady Retro

This year the jewelry house de Grisogono added four bejeweled versions to their stately Retro watch line. The 44mm rectangular watches have an Art Deco feel to them, with a sapphire crystal that is subtly curved at the edges. When launched in 2015, they were relatively understated, with simple black and cream faces. But this was de Grisogono, we knew that wasn’t going to last. Later in the year, we saw models with gemstones on the dial. Now you can get the New Lady Retro with a diamond, sapphire, ruby or emerald-encrusted case.

Hermès Arceau Pocket La Promenade de Platon

The big brand theme for Hermès this year is “Nature at Full Gallop,” so accordingly the fashion house showed several really wonderful wristwatches and pocketwatches that were decorated with wildlife imagery. This particular pocketwatch belongs to a trio (each one-of-a-kind) that were inspired by artist Annie Faivre’s Hermès scarf designs. The enamelwork was incredibly painstaking—through the technique of Grand Feu, the enamel was painted on with tiny brushes and then fired upwards of 20 times in a kiln to make it melt perfectly onto the white gold base. On this particular watch, the layering of the enamel leaves over the horse and rider is particularly striking. Since only one of these watches was made, it has already been sold—if you want it, better check EBay.

Dior Ondine

The Ondine line is new for Dior this year, but it’s a continuation of the beautiful automatic watches they’ve been turning out for quite some time now. The rotor is on the front of the watch, and the designers at the fashion house have taken advantage of it to add more beauty to the time-telling. (You’ve seen this trick in their now-iconic feather watches, but it hasn’t gotten old.) Here you can see a version studded with primarily green sapphires in what Dior calls a “snow” setting—where the tiny gemstones are set completely flat into the dial, and where they seem to blanket the surface like snow. The gold is exposed on part of the rotor, where it undulates like a wave. There were 12 Ondines made, using different colors of stones, and depending on the gems and precious metals, they range from 120,000 to 160,000 euros ($134,000 to $179,000). bloomberg.com


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