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Saturday, March 1, 2014

From the Artistic to the Mechanical, Ladies Watches at SIHH 2014

Ballon Bleu De Cartier Floral-Marquetry Parrot Watch

After a detour into mechanical movements and masculine looks last year, the 16 luxury brands at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) for 2014 returned largely to watches for ladies that highlight artistry and jewelry. That’s not to say there aren’t many mechanical timepieces on offer at this year’s show. What there is, however, is more variety than in previous years. The new releases this year give women have a choice between pure beauty, high-end mechanics or both.

Ballon Bleu De Cartier Floral-Marquetry Parrot Watch
This year, Cartier has taken up what it says is a new craft in watchmaking: floral marquetry, along with jewelry, to create a colorful parrot on the dial of this watch with a blue and the orangey-yellow plumage, a deep black of the beak, an emerald green eye and sparkling white diamonds in the background of the dial and on the crown on the 18k white and pink gold watch.

To create this dial (top image), flower petals were gathered and colored. Then each petal was stuck onto a thin piece of wood and cut into the desired shape using a marquetry saw. The material contrasts with the shine of the onyx beak and emerald eye. The grey and black feathers surrounding the eye were created with miniature painting.

The 42mm watch is powered by the Cartier Caliber 049. It is available in a limited edition of 20 pieces.

Parmigiani: The Tonda Pomellato
This watch collection is a partnership between Swiss luxury watch brand Parmigiani and Italian luxury jewelry brand Pomellato. Three of the four watches in this line are based on Pomellato’s “Arabesque” collection, characterized by an openwork lace-like design in rose gold, which gives way to transparent elements with colored gems.

The Arabesque style of the Pomellato ring that provided the inspiration of the watch design.

The Arabesque pattern was reproduced using two distinct treatments. First, the dial received an opaline surface treatment. Then the arabesque pattern is superimpose through a silkscreen printed transfer which covers the opaline. A second sand-blasting treatment is then applied, which adheres to all the surfaces not covered by the transfer. The result is the pattern, which has the appearance of a shadow, that seems to be flush with the dial. The watch is powered by the automatic Caliber PF701. The 39mm 18k rose gold case set with 28 round diamonds along the bezel.

Piaget Rose Passion
This is a classic “secret watch” in 18k white gold set with a total of 707 brilliant-cut diamonds and one pink sapphire. The timepiece comes with a white satin strap. The petite dial of the watch can be hidden within the rose-shaped bejeweled watch case.

Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Fabuleux Ornements – Ottoman architecture
This piece is part of a four-watch collection that showcases several of the brand’s skeletonization and engraving skills and reflects a different culture and moment in history. For this piece Ottoman architecture was the inspiration. A pink-gold lattice motif is perched on a mother-of-pearl base. The gold grid-work in scrolling patterns is studded with half-pearl beads.

However, this watch is more than just an elaborately sculptured pretty face. It is powered by the in-house manufactured and engraved Caliber 1003SQ. The hand-wound movement with 117 components is exceptionally petite, just 21.1mm in diameter and 1.64mm thick.

Richard Mille Tourbillon Natalie Portman
This timepiece is created in partnership with Oscar award-winning actress Natalie Portman, who is also a worldwide partner of the brand. The aesthetic focus of this watch is a diamond-encrusted stylized spider that appears trapped in a tonneau-shaped, diamond-covered case. The abdomen of the spider supports the bridges of the tourbillon (made of grade 5 titanium), and its legs support the two winding barrels. The RM19-01 manual winding tourbillon caliber is assembled around a black rhodium-plated, 18k white gold black sapphire set baseplate, a first for Richard Mille. It is available in a limited edition of 20 pieces. It will be worn by the actress at events worldwide.

Ralph Lauren Stirrup
The stirrup name refers to the shape of the case. This year the designer came up with two new medium-sized editions of the watch line—in steel and the one pictured in 18k gold with the case and chain-link bracelet covered in more than 1,900 diamonds in 20 different sizes. It is powered by the caliber RL057 quartz movement.

Lady Arpels Zodiac Taurus Extraordinary Dial
This is one of a collection of 12 watches that replicate the Western Zodiac signs created by Van Cleef & Arpels. The colorful dial depicts a white gold and diamond pavé Taurus the Bull on top of translucent enamel in the shape of leaves with blue flowers made of lapis lazuli with white-gold stars with a small diamond in the center of each. The 38mm white gold case has a bezel set with round diamonds. It has a hand-wound mechanical movement and is available in a limited edition of 22 pieces.

Ballon Blanc de Cartier
This jewelry watch has a mother-of-pearl flinqué (hand-engraved) dial and blue-steel, sword-shaped hands. A single round diamond at 4 o’clock stands out among other smaller round diamonds that encircle the bezel. The 24 mm 18k pink gold case is finished with a bracelet consisting of five rows of smooth 18k pink gold beads.

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