Modes jaunumi

Double Duty

Timepieces that serve a dual purpose of function and ornamentation define this fetching roundup of horological delights.
Reading time 4 minutes

Without resorting to wearing a watch and jewellery on your wrists, why not “fuse” the utility of wearing them both, as demonstrated by these bejewelled timepieces that show time and adorn simultaneously. From cocktail-style watches to resplendent metal bracelet varieties and blinged-out sporty renditions, the boundary between horology and jewellery have been beautifully blurred into a modern, multitasking expression.


The Panthère de Cartier—Cartier’s defining icon from its women’s universe—gets a revamp this year that looks to be one of its most enthralling. Built upon a legacy of radiant design, the manchette watch and mini watch are the current stars that celebrate the same hedonistic and ultra-feminine spirit that Cartier champions wholeheartedly through jewellery.

Audacious to a fault, the statement-making manchette is anchored by the supple and flowing bracelet of the Panthère de Cartier, now widened multiple times over, yet does not lose an iota of the grace and charm of its original model. The dial sits off-centre on a partially open-worked chain bracelet, thereby giving the classic timepiece a stamp of unapologetic modernity. For its counterpart, the proportions have been subverted from the original as a stylistic exercise.

Transformed and catapulted into new levels of elegance, the super refined and classy Panthère de Cartier mini watch is offered in a variety of bracelets. Together, the Panthère de Cartier manchette and mini are Cartier’s latest attestation of a bold and free-spirited sense of luxury where the worlds of watchmaking and jewellery design collide and commingle with sublime abandon.

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Each spring, the Alhambra is reborn into a new iteration, and uniquely embellished yet again. Since 1968, the motif inspired by the four-leaf clover—a beloved icon that signifies luck and celebrates it—has taken the spotlight in the constant reinvention of Van Cleef & Arpels’ Alhambra collection of timepieces and jewellery. Being featured is the recognisable emblem set in white or grey mother-of-pearl, hard or precious stones on rotation basis.

Last year’s Sweet Alhambra is distinguished by a downsized quadrilobed symbol, and for 2019, it is translated into a quintet of watches designed with a nod to the uncompromising elegance of jewellery. Slim, refined and sophisticated, they come with interchangeable leather bracelets in precious alligator, offered in a variety of classic and vibrant hues.

Drawing style inspiration from the universe of jewellery, the casing of the clover-inspired pattern is lined with two rows of gold beads enveloping the dial set in one of these: shimmering white mother-of-pearl, lustrous onyx, sparkling diamonds (full or serti neige-style pavé setting), and yellow gold with gleaming traditional guilloché. To echo the delicately streamlined aesthetic of jewellery, the crown of the watch is tucked under the case. The fact that the Sweet Alhambra watch comes presented in a jewel box is perfect and parallels the sweet, playful and lucky persona it embodies.

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Forging ahead at a million miles per hour, contemporary watchmaker Richard Mille loses no time in proposing one innovative creation after another. Case in point: the Gemset Sapphire RM 07-02 certainly brings copious amounts of colour into the realm of haute horlogerie.

Precious metals are forgone and replaced by the high technicity of gemset ceramic and Carbon TPT®, and the groundbreaking watchmaker goes one step further with coloured sapphire, setting it with diamonds. The journey to achieving this feat is long and arduous, beginning with an in-depth study of the sapphire’s composition, before a 40-day machining and finishing process of shaping it from a giant block.

Again, close examination of the sapphire’s deep structure is required to ensure the exact tone on the brand’s wish list is realised. Each element is set to the nearest micrometer using laser. It is even harder than working with ceramics or Carbon TPT®, taking double the time. Red or grey hand-polished gold prongs are then embedded in multiple settings to hold a delicate row of diamonds. The translucent sapphire is exquisite against the diamonds and case screws emblem.

Over and above all the wizardry with aesthetics, the RM 07-O2’s skeletonised movement is micro-blasted grey gold for the green and blue versions, and in 5N red gold for the pink sapphire. Each sapphire colour is matched with a specific ornamental stone on the dial, alongside a diamond studded crown. With flourish, Richard Mille succeeds yet again in unifying disparate and complementary references, innovation and creativity in a horological masterpiece that dazzles like haute joaillerie.

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