Watches & Wonders 2020: ladies first
Baume & Mercier Hampton quartz
Classic yet original, discreet though no less distinctive, the Hampton collection reinvents itself for slimmer wrists in this smaller version, measuring 35 x 22.2mm, powered by a quartz calibre. As well as the practicality of this new-generation movement with its seven-year autonomy, an elegant Art Deco silhouette fashioned from steel makes this Hampton one to look out for. Endlessly versatile, it lends itself to every style courtesy of an interchangeable strap. Switch from the comfort and chic of a steel bracelet to a calfskin strap in vibrant shades of ocean, coral, turquoise, lime, green, black, orchid, mauve, passionfruit, poppy or mango. Or be bang on-trend in a light brown wraparound strap with cream stitching.
- Advertisement -
Ronde Louis Cartier Enamel Filigree Watch
Cartier never tires of exploring the panther’s many guises, a theme endlessly reinvented since 1914. This year, the enamel filigree technique brings the feline to life on this limited edition of 30 pieces in white gold. The enamel artist heats the enamel powder to glass, then draws out threads to form the bamboos in the foreground of the dial, held by strands of yellow gold. Adding perspective to the scene, more bamboo fills the background, this time in domed champlevé enamel. The same technique has been used to create the spots and eyes of the panther that is silhouetted against a miniature-painted sky. Behind the scenes of this stunning composition is an in-house manual-winding mechanical movement.
Hermès Cape Cod Martelée
The instantly recognisable “square inside a rectangle” that Hermès first revealed in 1991 is once again metamorphosed, this time by a technique borrowed from jewellery-making. Delicately hammered over every inch of its surface, from the 23 x 23mm of its square steel case to the expanse of its dial, the Cape Cod comes alive to the play of light across its dimpled surface. A fine layer of translucent lacquer on the dial, in a gradient from anthracite to black, underlines the contrast. The result is raw and unexpected for this quartz-driven watch that hugs the wrist on a single or double tour strap in black calfskin leather.
IWC Portugieser Automatic 40
The no-frills elegance of the Portugieser is at home on every wrist, even the slimmest with this 40mm execution – a surprisingly compact size in a collection known for its imposing diameters. The case, in red gold, opens onto a white dial with nothing but subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock. However, the studied simplicity of the design belies the mechanical complexity of the movement. Visible through the sapphire case back, the IWC-manufactured 82200 calibre is replete with traditional decorations. A detail not to be overlooked: this robust movement benefits from a Pellaton automatic winding system with ceramic components, ensuring 60 hours of power reserve.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso One
After blue, then green, will red be the next shade to set the watch world alight? Even the Reverso has draped its iconic Art Deco rectangle with the colour of passion in this Reverso One, a ladylike 40 x 20mm. The elongated case, inspired by the first Reverso Lady in 1931, frames a bold wine-red dial, a shade obtained through successive applications of lacquer on a guilloché sunburst ground that gives wonderful flamboyance to this icon in steel and diamonds. Turning it over reveals a pristine surface awaiting a personal inscription.
Montblanc Heritage Automatic
Khaki, almond, emerald, olive… green continues to make waves among watchmakers, including at Montblanc whose Heritage Automatic sports a lacquered dial in British racing green. This deliciously vintage shade makes a fabulous contrast for the yellow gold of the plated Dauphine hands, Arabic numerals and hour markers, in perfect harmony with the yellow gold of the 40mm case. For ultimate chic, the coordinating strap is crafted in Florence, Italy, from Sfumato leather. This is pure retro style that keeps precise time thanks to the regular beat of the Calibre MB 24.27 automatic movement.
Piaget Limelight Gala Precious Aventurine Glass
Salvador Dalí, Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Andy Warhol, Cary Grant and Sammy Davis Jr. all fell for the hardstone dials that made Piaget the watch to wear in the Swinging Sixties and Groovy Seventies. The brand continues to capture this unique vibe through combinations of sensual forms and vivid colours. This new Limelight Gala is a fabulous example. The asymmetric case, measuring 32mm, in white gold is paved with 57 diamonds in a “Serti Descendu” setting, while the dial is in aventurine glass. A contemporary nod to the glamorous lifestyle of the jet-setters who became known as Piaget Society, limited to 200 pieces.
Speake-Marin One&Two Openworked Tourbillon Titanium
If the One&Two Openworked watches launched two years ago by Speake-Marin caught your eye, the latest addition to the collection won’t go unnoticed. How could it, with its 60-second flying tourbillon. Enough to turn the head of any woman who likes her watches mechanical. Housed inside a 38mm Piccadilly case in titanium, the complication is at the heart of the Calibre SMA05 automatic movement. Viewed from the front, the calibre’s workings can be admired through the openworked dial. Turn the watch over and the view is no less compelling through the sapphire back. Take note: Speake-Marin is offering this latest Openworked as a limited edition of just 10 pieces.
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon
This is the first time, at Vacheron Constantin, that an automatic tourbillon has been made for a lady’s wrist. For women who expect their watch to bring mechanical sophistication and aesthetic refinement in equal measure, this Traditionnelle Tourbillon has it all: the harmonious proportions of its 39mm case in pink gold set with diamonds; the gentle femininity of a dial in iridescent mother-of-pearl, and the flawless precision of an in-house Calibre 2160 movement with a power reserve lasting for three days. One last detail that is sure to conquer the hearts of the Manufacture’s female fans: the bar of the tourbillon cage, in the form of a Maltese cross, is entirely hand-bevelled, a task requiring almost 11 hours for this component alone.