Bejewelled O’Clock: High Jewellery Watches from Watches & Wonders 2024

As we race towards the heights of summer 2024, let’s look back to the temperate spring months when the dazzling horological trade fair Watches & Wonders was the talk of the timekeeping town. We’ve trawled through the top high jewellery watches on display to bring you the most dazzling wristwear that’s encrusted with diamonds and precious gemstones. Prepare to imagine which one would look the most sensational on your wrist…

June is in full swing! And as we prepare for sunshine-lit galas and evening affairs, now is the time to take out your beautiful, bejewelled watches and let them see the (sun)light of day. From transformable high jewellery watch necklaces to fancy-cut gemstone dials, the five timepieces below are, in our opinion, the epitome of elegance, combined with just the right amount of design surprise and intrigue.

White and pink mother-of-pearl, green aventurine and tiger's eye dial colour ways of the Bulgari Tadao Ando x Serpenti watches

Bulgari – Tadao Ando x Serpenti Watches

Bulgari’s series of Tadao Ando x Serpenti timepieces is an ode to the four seasons. Bulgari chose to work with Japanese architect Tadao Ando for its first collaborative retelling of the Serpenti Tubogas story, inspired by a series of unique marquetry dials made of hardstones: green aventurine, tiger’s eye and white and pink mother of pearl. Each is said to represent the changing hues of a forest with the passing seasons. Here, the dial stays true to the traditional shape of the Serpenti watch, which resembles the body of a snake that wraps itself sensually around the wearer’s wrist. Each flexible strap comes in different gold shades, including rose gold, white gold and intertwining layers of both colourways to create two-toned straps.

Bulgari Tadao Ando x Serpenti watches in gold, rose gold, white gold, green aventurine, tiger's eye, white and pink mother-of-pearl and diamond

It is important to note that this is not the first time the Roman jewellery and watch brand has collaborated with Ando, an autodidact who trained as a professional boxer before turning to architecture. The Maison collaborated with the versatile artist in 2020 and 2021 on the Octo Finissimo, also known as the world’s thinnest watch. In the words of Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, Executive Director of Product Creation at Bulgari: “Aligning with Serpenti felt instinctive. In a metaphor for time, transformation and the renewal of nature itself: the serpent likewise sheds its skin and emerges anew, its colours transformed.”

Chanel – Bobbin Cuff Couture Watch

This year, Chanel’s Haute Horlogerie department decided to look beyond the magnificent couture clothing creations of Coco Chanel, which often act as the main source of inspiration for its high jewellery watches, and instead turned its gaze towards the utensils and tools that the talented team at the rue Cambon atelier use for daily work in the creation of these one-of-a-kind garments. In the Couture O’Clock capsule collection, a series of sewing instruments were brought to life through precious metals and exceptional gemstones, including creations such as the functioning gold and diamond safety pin watch, which you can read more about in our Watches with a Twist article.

Chanel Safety Pin Long Necklace Couture watch in gold and diamond from the Couture O'Clock capsule collection

However, a second unique creation in this collection caught our eye for its inventive and interesting use of a 17.51-carat emerald-cut sapphire. The Bobbin Cuff high jewellery timepiece is inspired by a spool of thread, taking the classic shape of this item and recreating it in yellow gold set with a full pavé of white diamonds, which act as the white thread that spins around the bobbin as it unfurls. In the centre of this unique wristwatch lies the diamond pavé dial, which is hidden beneath the impressive sapphire, allowing the piece to be worn as a statement cuff.

Chanel Bobbin Cuff Couture watch in gold and diamond set with a 17.51-ct yellow emerald-cut sapphire from the Couture O'Clock capsule collection

Gucci - G-Timeless Planetarium Watches

Florentine fashion, watch and jewellery brand Gucci was based at its usual location during this year’s Watches & Wonders – a beautiful private property with rolling lush gardens overlooking the calm Lac Leman. Serene, colourful and sophisticated, this made the perfect backdrop to display the brand’s latest horological creations. The Gucci G-Timeless Planetarium watch features one of the most eye-catching dials we have ever seen, with large loose gemstones replacing the traditional Roman numerals usually used on a watch dial to indicate the hour. A rainbow display of colour is created through round opals, garnets, beryls, tourmaline, topaz, tanzanite, amethyst and pink rubellite that, thanks to a unique mechanism created by Gucci, spin individually on themselves in nine-second intervals and around the dial every ninety seconds. What’s more, the background of the dial is hand engraved with a guilloche pattern, which further refracts and plays with the colour of each gemstone, creating a rainbow light pattern at the back of the dial. This watch is a perfect play on colour and mechanics, and it is a testament to the artistry of Gucci’s horological department. 

Piaget – Swinging Sautoir High Jewellery Watch

For Watches & Wonders 2024, Piaget celebrated its 150th anniversary by reviving s most iconic high jewellery watch signatures, including its Swinging Sautoir, which was first introduced in 1969. Designed to be worn as beautiful high jewellery necklaces or wristwatches, this series of unique creations combine Piaget’s artistic worlds of Joaillerie and Horlogerie into singular pieces that make for the perfect statement accessory for any opulent event.

Our favourite, of course, was the gem-centric Swinging Sautoir design, reminiscent of the style of the 60s and 70s jet-set elite. Full of colour and bold shapes, this piece is made entirely of yellow gold set with colourful gems evocative of warm beachfront vacations. The detachable turquoise dial surrounded by a diamond pavé frame bursts into rays of malachite and turquoise beaded branches that act as a large pendant to an ornate sautoir, set with an impressive 29.24-carat Sri Lankan cushion-cut yellow sapphire and a 6.11-ct cushion-cut aquamarine. This piece can also be worn as a belt for an extra dose of fashion-forwardness.  

Piaget Transformable Swinging Sautoir in gold set with a 29.24-ct cushion-cut yellow sapphire, a 6.11ct cushion-cut aquamarine, yellow sapphire, turquoise beads, malachite beads and diamond

Van Cleef & Arpels - Lady Arpels Nuit Enchantée Watch

Van Cleef & Arpels’ tagline for its high jewellery watch creations is “a poetry of time”, and this year’s Lady Arpels Nuit Enchantée timepiece stayed true to this enchanting slogan. This timepiece illustrates chapter two of a story about a fairy trapped inside a Van Cleef & Arpels dial, depicting through precious gems and other materials the magical creature’s home where she rests her wings at night. The fairy lies on a bed of Façonné enamel and yellow sapphire flowers, cradled inside the safe walls of a crystal cave made of fancy-cut pink and purple sapphires and rock crystal set with rose gold hours. As the fairy falls asleep, the glimmering moon and stars, illustrated through the grisaille enamel technique, cast their light over her and illuminate the sky, causing the pearlescent effect of her plaque-à-jour enamel wings to sparkle. Romantic and mesmerizing, this timepiece is a luxurious representation of the childlike wonder we all have within. 

The pieces above are just a handful of the beautiful high jewellery watch creations that are available on the horological scene today. Each one is a miniature work of art made by expert artisans and lapidaries to create the perfect gem-centric timepieces to help you make a statement in any room you enter.

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