It’s the spirit of the age. The belles of the ball in all their finery have become more discreet and less numerous. High jewellery watches are not the stars of SIHH 2018. Nevertheless, for enthusiasts of exceptional watches, these extremely limited series, some of them one-of-a-kind pieces, continue to cast a spell, standing as they do at the crossroads of high jewellery and watchmaking, sometimes with a little haute horlogerie thrown in. So they are still around, and still as inaccessible as ever. Inaccessible in terms of price, of course, but also in how they are presented. It’s out of the question to actually hold one in your hands, ungloved hands still less.
Often, there might be only one, or two at the most, in the world. That’s not enough to satisfy every request, every avid eye, every curious mind. So there they stay, behind the glass, waiting for a client to ask for a closer look. Then, and only then, will the reinforced glass cage be opened.
Luckily, WorldTempus was there to observe these otherworldly creatures in their natural habitat. Often incrusted with precious gems, and fashioned from white or rose gold, they are showcases in and of themselves. Showcases of the brands that create them, of the creativity of the craftsmen and women who bring them to life, and of a still thriving heritage. However rare they may have become, these pieces bear witness to an inventiveness that continues unabated.
They use the strength of simple shapes, like the Cosmos Secret by Van Cleef & Arpels. They encase the arm and clasp it in a tight metallic embrace, like the Sunny Side of Life cuffs by Piaget. They may extrapolate a brand’s aesthetic codes, like the Cartier Panthère Hypnose Pendant, or represent elegantly simply geometrical abstractions, like the Kilkti by Hermès, or Cartier’s Cobra Haute Joaillerie.
Cartier Panthère Hypnose Pendant © David Chokron/Worldtempus
Sometimes, they illustrate a complete story, a poetic sketch encapsulated in a diminutive frame of white gold and pure carbon, adorned with sapphires and garnets, like the Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Jour Féerique. In every case, through their meticulous execution, they truly shine, both literally and figuratively.
Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Jour Féerique © David Chokron/Worldtempus
That was obviously the square eye in steel with yellow gold lunette and steel bracelet with yellow gold screws. It was hot like hell and turned into the most copied watch. It was likewise that opinion that made me curious in the background of the brand, since the dealer told me that the layout was inspired in the very first men’s wristwatch, started by Cartier Watches Buy Replica in 1904. So you can imagine it did not take long before I became obsessed with chains generally, especially with Cartier.At that time see forums were just becoming popular, watch magazines were still uncommon and watch sites like Fratello and Hodinkee did not exist yet. But what we’d around in 1995, were the ‘Get Togethers’ with other watch enthusiasts (fanatics). Everybody brought a few pieces in their collection and with loads of beer and wine, we chatted about the several models before late in the day. But always the very same brands got all the attention and for me personally it was quite frustrating that you just paid attention to my Cartier watches, to be considerate. The term ETA was constantly mentioned like these were poor movements and also frequently I heard quotes like; ‘my spouse would love them!’