Art style

Why watchmakers announce a record year for prestige brands

As for the glaze, it is set with 446 baguette-cut Zambian emeralds and diamonds totaling over 30 carats, giving it an unmissable sparkle.

If fine watchmaking isn’t your thing, or if you prefer something more feminine, Van Cleef & Arpels and the avant-garde pack – Cartier, Dior, Chanel, Chopard – have outdone themselves this year, continuing a creative streak which should make traditional brands blush. Van Cleef’s whimsical approach produces pieces such as the Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier watch.

The dial presents a miniature painting of flowers which, thanks to a mechanical module, opens for the hours, and a lateral display for the minutes. The decoration is done by pink sapphires, yellow and white diamonds and white mother-of-pearl, with a shiny pink alligator strap anchoring the gold case.

Cartier’s legendary path with shapes also continues, with unique pieces such as the Cushion de Cartier, a tactile lozenge of woven white gold, its flexible case soft to the touch and set with 85 brilliant-cut diamonds (0.38 carat ), 21 emeralds, 536 sapphires, 276 tsavorites and 18 blue tourmalines.

Then there’s the Crash Tigree, an exotic version of the 1967 Crash watch, its asymmetrical yellow gold case almost obscured by 242 brilliant-cut diamonds (1.64 carats) and a Neapolitan band of champlevé enamel on a leaf of gold. ‘money.

Crash Tigree by Cartier; Round Louis Cartier Sparkling Panther; Chopard Alpine Eagle Frozen; La D de Dior Precious special edition Secret Rose Mantique Montaigne.

And if you prefer a plain round case, the Ronde Louis Cartier Sparkling Panthere, 42 mm in white gold, brings Cartier’s house beast to life on the marquetry dial, composed of 124 blades of straw, wood, gold, sapphire crystal and mother-of-pearl.

A week’s worth of handwork, the dial literally glistens in the light, meaning you’ll be looking at it for more than just the time of day.

Dior’s range is equally enticing and expansive, from the angular Gem Dior in many iterations to secret watches that don’t hide their beauty.

The La D de Dior Précieuse a Secret Rose Mantique Montaigne special edition is entirely snow-set with 1,444 pink sapphires (14.60 carats) from the strap to the dial and the cap that pivots to reveal the face of the watch.

Described “sometimes like a piece of jewelry, sometimes like a watch, only revealing itself to the trained eye”, it’s even water resistant to 30 meters, although it surely wouldn’t be your first choice for a day on the port – or time at a glance.

For that, you could choose the Alpine Eagle Frozen by Chopard, a glacier-inspired model in ethical white or pink gold, studded with diamonds and multicolored sapphires, with a refined manufacture movement.

Water-resistant to 100 meters, it is available in 41mm and 36mm and is the most luxurious version of what was initially a sports watch for him and her. It’s yet another example of as long as it’s still a thing, in times like this, you really can’t beat a little bling.

The May issue of AFR Magazine, the issue of Philanthropy, comes out Friday, April 29 inside The Australian Financial Review. Follow AFR Mag on Twitter and Instagram.