5 Finest Bejeweled Watch Releases of Watches & Wonders 2022
As always, the highly-anticipated Watches and Wonders 2022 show in Geneva brought together the best of the world’s watchmakers to unveil their latest masterpieces. Shining extra bright in an ultimate fusion of fine jewelry and technological prowess were bejeweled works of haute horology from legacied names such as Cartier and Piaget. From Van Cleef & Arpels’ iconic diamond ballerina, to Chopard’s famed Happy Sport diamonds, or Chanel’s Metier d’Art creations, these five women’s diamond watches epitomize extraordinary savoir-faire and boundless artistic vision.
A double-duty bracelet watch with Old Hollywood style
Every year, Cartier’s Libre collection introduces another of its imaginative watches, constantly reinventing its codes and pushing the boundaries of creativity. This year, the Libre watch draws inspiration from actress Gloria Swanson and the stunning rock crystal and diamond bracelet she wore in the 1930s.
Part watch, part jewel, the Libre watch hides a double identity in its elasticated strap, which can turn over to reveal a watch face or bracelet. Rose gold flexible triangular links are set with 418 brilliant-cut diamonds, as well as black spinnels, grey moonstones, and red granates. The innovative case is made to twist around a specially developed spring, with the time-setting mechanism at the side to avoid disrupting the triangle pattern. The watch’s ingenious duality is a testament to Cartier’s signature multifunctional design style.
A diamond cuff watch with an asymmetrical twist
Named after Piaget’s glam society soirées, the Limelight Gala collection was born out of the turbulent energy of the seventies, when Piaget decided to acquire three Geneva workshops specializing in goldsmithing and gem-settings. Since then, the collection has been a testament to the House’s expertise in both jewelry and watchmaking. The Limelight Gala High Jewelry watch, however, elevates this legacy to an all new level: presenting a masterpiece that represents decades of experience and the highest skill level in goldsmithing and gem-setting.
The stunning diamond cuff watch shows off an oval case in the asymmetrical design that came to distinguish the collection. Creating the spiral shape requires immense artisanal know-how, with the material perforated around each diamond to allow light to pass through and reflect off the gems. The case and elegant bracelet in 18K white gold are swathed in over 250 marquise-cut diamonds—a cut created by King Louis XV to honour Marquise de Pompadour—with more brilliant-cut diamonds snow-paving the sparkling dial.
Van Cleef & Arpels
An exquisite timepiece tributing the art of dance
Van Cleef & Arpels’ emblematic Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée watch first came on the scene in 2013, winning the Lady’s Complication Prize at the Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève. Part of the Poetic Complications collection, this unique timepiece combines the Maison’s watchmaking technical precision with its distinctive style.
Drawing inspiration from the graceful art of dance, the Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée watch alludes to a quote by Russian Prima Ballerina Anna Pavlova in depicting a figure that is part dancer and part butterfly. The year’s two new models, in white or rose gold, feature the ballerina’s silhouette sculpted in gold and accented with diamonds against a guilloche enamel dial in violet or pink. Plique-à-jour enamel forms the dancer’s delicate wings, while her translucent tutu comes to life in a feat of poetic motion. At the touch of a button, her petticoats and wings rise up in turn to indicate the time—a lovely example of the double retrograde time-on-demand movement executed to perfection by Van Cleef & Arpels.
An elegant cuff watch with historic beauty
In 2020, the CHANEL Watchmaking Creation Studio first revealed the Mademoiselle Privé BOUTON: watches that pay homage to one of Gabrielle Chanel’s key stylistic elements, the button. The collection is part of CHANEL’s Métiers d’Art line, which opens a window into the world of Gabrielle Chanel through masterfully crafted creations by CHANEL’s extraordinary artisans.
For 2022, the Mademoiselle Privé BOUTON emerges in a new artful edition, taking its cue from Aubazine Abbey where Gabrielle Chanel lived her early years. A black velvet cuff bracelet holds an intricately designed button showing an Aubazine motif inspired by the Abbey’s beautiful stained-glass windows and set with a cushion-cut diamond in the center. The button lifts to reveal the watch’s dial in 18K white gold, set with 142 brilliant-cut diamonds.
A marquetry masterpiece that celebrates nature’s wonders
In keeping with its respect for the natural world, Chopard pays tribute to three animal species in need of conservation with the Happy Sport Metier d’Art collection. Each of the three exceptional watches, available in only eight limited-edition pieces, is presented as a veritable work of art showcasing three-dimensional marquetry dials and the House’s trademark floating diamonds.
The deep forest green Hummingbird Watch celebrates this smallest of the world’s migratory birds. With their size and dependence on plant species for food, hummingbirds are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change and deforestation. The watch’s malachite dial evokes the depths of the Amazon forest, home to the many botanicals essential to the bird’s survival. A vivid hibiscus flower is layered in gold, orange, red, and various shades of mother-of-pearl, with four heart-shaped diamonds glittering at the pistil. Above, an exquisite hummingbird is outlined in two types of green and blue iridescent opal, along with three of the Chopard’s heart-shaped ‘dancing’ diamonds.