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5 New Watches For Women We Would Have Seen At Watches & Wonders (SIHH) 2020 By Cartier, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Hermès, And MB&F

If this had been a “normal” year like those we have experienced in recent times, SIHH (now Watches & Wonders) would have taken place around two months ago, and we’d now be in the throes of busily preparing for Baselworld.

But thanks to the Covid-19 coronavirus, these are no longer normal times. In 2020, had things gone according to plans, the two major fairs would take place back to back at the end of April and continue into early May. A long week for sure, but at the end of it we would have had an organized overview of the luxury watch market for the year.

But the coronavirus took all that away in one fell swoop and just about every watch event has been canceled. Luckily we were able to see a few new watches at LVMH Watch Week, though. But what about all the rest?

The rest of the new watch launches over the next weeks and months will be digital. So to kick things off, here are five new watches for women that we would have seen for the first time at Watches & Wonders 2020 if it had run.

Cartier Maillon de Cartier

Cartier starts out the year design strong with the brand-new Maillon de Cartier, which features a new and novel shape for the fabled French brand’s fresh line of very wearably sized women’s watches on bracelets.

“Maillon” means “link,” and aside from the six-sided, geometrically slanted case, it’s the unusual slanted links on the precious metal bracelets that catch the eye here – making this watch the perfect three-dimensional wrist jewel. This watch takes its cues from Cartier’s jewelry line of the same name.

The graphic, edgy case and voluminous bracelet seemingly melt into each other, offering not only a new perspective but also the perfect canvas for a few different diamond settings: a diamond-set bezel (24 diamonds/0.54 ct), full setting with brilliant-cut diamonds (400 diamonds/8.3 ct), and full setting with a snow-set dial (486 diamonds/8.64 ct) constitute the choices for yellow, pink, and white gold variations.

The only fly in the ointment from my standpoint is the quartz movement that Cartier chose to power this beauty as I would have preferred a mechanical movement.

There are also two limited editions: a full-set (580 diamonds/9.33 ct) yellow gold version with black lacquer dial (50 pieces) and a white gold variation, whose case, dial, and bracelet are set with 300 diamonds (4.78 ct), 96 tsavorites, and lacquered spaces. This colorful watch is limited to just 20 pieces.

Quick Facts Cartier Maillon de Cartier
Case: 16 x 17 x 6.8 mm, yellow, pink, and white gold, some diamond setting variations, crown set with blue sapphire cabochon or 0.07 ct brilliant-cut diamond (on diamond-set models)
Movement: quartz
Functions: hours, minutes
Price: beginning at €25,000 for the yellow gold model
Availability: in Cartier boutiques and online from May 2020

Piaget Limelight Gala

Piaget’s Limelight Gala is not a new watch line, but it remains a classic with its compelling asymmetrical case, one that won the Ladies Watch prize at the 2016 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.

At Watches & Wonders 2020, Piaget would have introduced this variation from the brand’s Precious subline with a hand-engraved bracelet and dial accented by diamonds and blue sapphires set so they form a gradient scale from white through light blue and on to the deep cornflower hue common in high-quality sapphires.

This handmade bracelet’s design is a holdover from the 1960s when these were seen much more often than today. I would venture to say I have rarely, if ever, seen one after the start of the mechanical renaissance.

The beautiful bracelet design starts with hundreds of tiny gold links assembled tightly. Then they are soldered together and finally hand-engraved in the Palace Décor style, which takes eight full hours to accomplish.

The white gold dial is engraved by the same artisan in the same way to ensure a uniform look. After being engraved, the dial is oven fired multiple times at around 800°C with a translucent blue enamel.

The most difficult part of this watch, though, is sourcing and choosing the perfect stones to complete the progressive coloring.

This watch is not limited per se, but it is a numbered edition. And it is likewise powered by a quartz movement.

Quick Facts Piaget Limelight Gala
Case: 32 x 7.4 mm, white gold, bezel set with 20 brilliant-cut diamonds (1.46 ct) and 22 brilliant-cut blue sapphires (4.01 ct)
Dial: hand-engraved white gold with blue oven-fired enamel
Movement: quartz
Functions: hours, minutes
Price: upon request

Vacheron Constantin Égérie

Vacheron Constantin introduces an entirely new collection for women called Égérie. While this name also existed in the Genevan manufacture’s past, there has been no current version of the line until now.

No stranger to thinking of women with its exquisite timepieces, the venerable Geneva-based company concentrates on the asymmetrical here, though that asymmetry is contained within a traditional round case.

The stainless steel or pink gold 35 or 37 mm – wowza, those are great sizing choices! – cases are outfitted with a highly asymmetrical crown at 1-2 o’clock, a position that does not disturb the round case design but does enhance the unusual location of the date or moon phase at the same position. Rounding out the off-center balance, the Vacheron Constantin logo is placed directly across from the subdial at 7-8 o’clock.

The white dial is stunning in its three-dimensional classicism, with pleated guilloche patterns around the perimeter and inner dial, while the dainty applied numerals in 18-karat white or pink gold languish against a velvety background.

The guilloche pattern developed in Vacheron Constantin’s own guilloche workshop is applied to these dials using a pantograph system, which involves a historical machine that reproduces the guilloche pattern on the dial by transferring it via a “finger” from a larger example with a graver tool.

A classy touch is the ring of diamonds around the bezel and around the subdial frame encircling the date or moon phase. The case’s unobtrusive crown is decorative with a moonstone cabochon – a particularly welcome choice in my opinion – or a rose-cut diamond on the fully set variation. How very Vacheron that is!

The extreme comfort of this beautifully sized watch is enhanced by automatic Caliber 1088 with 40 hours of power reserve.

And – as any women’s watch worth its salt should have in this day and age – the Égérie boasts an interchangeable leather strap system, no tools required, perfect for wardrobing. The gold models come with a set of three different-colored straps, while the steel version comes on a steel bracelet.

While this watch may be mistaken for just another classic piece from Vacheron Constantin at first glance, rest assured that the second glance will find you not able to take your eyes off it. Bravo!

Quick Facts Vacheron Constantin Égérie Self-Winding
Case: 35 x 9.32 mm, pink gold or stainless steel, bezel set with 58 (0.88 ct) diamonds, crown set with moonstone cabochon
Dial: set with 36 diamonds (0.09 ct)
Movement: automatic Caliber 1088, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 40-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, (hacking) seconds; date
Price: €21,400 (steel), €29,800 (pink gold)
Availability: as of March 1, 2020

Quick Facts Vacheron Constantin Égérie Moonphase
Case: 37 x 10.08 mm, pink gold, bezel set with 58 diamonds (1.0 ct), crown set with moonstone cabochon
Dial: set with 36 diamonds (0.09 ct), mother-of-pearl clouds
Movement: automatic Caliber 1088L, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 55-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, (hacking) seconds; moon phase
Price: €26,200 (steel), €34,600 (pink gold)
Availability: as of March 1, 2020

Quick Facts Vacheron Constantin Égérie Moonphase pavé
Case: 37 x 9.4 mm, white gold, set with 292 diamonds (3 ct), crown set with rose-cut diamond (0.17 ct)
Dial: set with 510 diamonds (1.86 ct), mother-of-pearl clouds
Movement: automatic Caliber 1088L, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 55-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, (hacking) seconds; moon phase
Price: €65,500
Remark: delivered with a second blue satin strap and a second white gold buckle set with 21 diamonds (0.21 ct)
Availability: as of March 1, 2020

Hermès Nantucket Jeté de Chaîne d’Ancre

A rectangle within a rectangle, Hermès’ Nantucket case, whose origins stretch back to 1991 and former artistic director Henri d’Origny, is now enriched with an elegant new variation.

The signature element of the Nantucket line is the anchor chain half-link shape used to connect the strap to the case. The link was created by Robert Dumas, a member of the Hermès founding family, in 1938 when, on a family trip to the Normandy coast, he was inspired by a view of how a chain links a boat to its anchor.

Now enhanced with the addition of a sprinkling of diamonds forming asymmetrical patterns that seem to float in airy motion from case to dial and beyond, this small model (Hermès calls this size the Very Small Model) becomes dressy yet casual and decidedly feminine.

Naturally, Hermès offers a choice of straps in nine luscious hues of calf- and alligator skin.

Quick Facts Hermès Nantucket Jeté de Chaîne d’Ancre
Case: 17 x 23 mm, stainless steel set with 41 diamonds (0.1 ct)
Dial: set with 48 diamonds (0.03 ct)
Movement: quartz
Functions: hours, minutes
Price: $5,550 / €5,350 / CHF 5,850
Availability: as of April 2020

MB&F LM FlyingT new variations

The LM FlyingT is MB&F’s first dedicated ladies watch and it made a gigantic splash when launched in 2019, scooping up every single award imaginable, including – but long not restricted to – the 2019 Watch of the Year at CH24.PL and the Ladies Complication prize at the 2019 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.

For 2020, MB&F wisely introduces variations on the highly technical theme without the diamond setting. Not so strangely for me, it loses absolutely none of its appeal without the sparklers! Rather, it puts the centralized column of revolving gears known as the flying tourbillon into better focus with no distractions through the sparkling gems.

Although that’s not entirely true . . . one gemstone remains at the top of the flying tourbillon, a single 0.035-carat stone that makes its revolutions right along with the motion of the visible escapement.

The red gold edition is offered with a black guilloche dial, while the platinum version carries a sky-blue guilloche dial. Both were crafted by Kari Voutilainen’s specialized facility, Comblémine.

Quick Facts MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT
Case: 38.5 x 20 mm, red gold or platinum
Movement: automatic caliber with three-dimensional vertical architecture, central flying 60-second tourbillon with diamond on top, four-day power reserve, 2.5 Hz/18,000 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 18 pieces each
Price: red gold CHF 98,000 / $105,000 / €91,000; platinum CHF 108,000 / $116,000 / €100,000, all prices excluding sales tax

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