Give Me Five! Scintillating Ladies Watches From SIHH 2015
It’s no secret that luxury watch manufacturers are courting women more and more. Women, in fact, represent a largely untapped segment of market share for manufacturers of mechanical watches that have thus far been largely male-oriented.
From the SIHH 2015, we have already showed you the enchanting Richard Mille RM 19-02 Tourbillon Fleur and the intensely beautiful Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Celestial in red aventurine – both among the best mechanical watches for women I have ever seen. See SIHH 2015 Photo Essay: Richard Mille and SIHH 2015 Photo Essay: Jaeger-LeCoultre.
It is interesting to note that all seven (the five here plus the two watches mentioned above) of these timepieces are set with diamonds. And you can attach whichever value to that you like. In at least one sense it is positive because the diamonds add playful sparkle.
In another sense, it is perhaps not so positive because there are certainly women who enjoy the imaginative mechanics, but are less enamored of the bling factor.
The Audemars Piguet Millenary Woman could well be the watch most of us female enthusiasts have waited for. Back in December 2014, I showed you the AP Millenary 4101 with AP Escapement that I had the good fortune to wear for a week. See Impressions Of Art Basel Miami 2014.
You’ll have noted that despite its 47 x 13 mm size, the AP Millenary wore very well on my slim wrist thanks to its oval shape. However, the 13 mm height and the precious metal heft might well turn some women off.
This is where the beautifully engineered Millenary Woman comes in, whose reduced case measurements make wearing it a true pleasure.
If there is any fly in the ointment, it is perhaps that hand-wound Caliber 5201 (derived from existing Caliber 3090) does not include the AP Escapement like the male version. However, the reengineered movement architecture does provide a view of the escapement, including its variable-inertia balance wheel and free-sprung balance spring.
Quick Facts Audemars Piguet Millenary Woman
Case: white or pink gold, 35.4 x 39.5 mm with crown set with blue sapphire cabochon
Movement: manually wound Caliber 5201
Functions: hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds
Gem setting: 116 brilliant-cut diamonds on bezel and lugs (pink gold version; .60 ct); 136 brilliant-cut diamonds on the dial (white gold version; 0.26 ct); 438 brilliant-cut diamonds on case and buckle (white gold; 1.93 ct)
Vacheron Constantin surprised visitors to the SIHH with a fully new and fully complete line of chronographs. The second big surprise is that Vacheron Constantin chose to house this line celebrating 260 years of the manufacture in a modernized cushion-shaped case reminiscent of the 1920s.
In essence, this design totally sets the Harmony line apart from other modern chronographs. But it is also risky where male buyers are concerned since men tend to gravitate most toward round watches.
The female-oriented chronograph from this line is called Harmony Small Model Caliber 1142 and it is extraordinary not only for its cushion-shaped case, but also for its interesting movement: a rebuilt Lémania chronograph caliber with higher frequency (now 3 instead of 2.5 Hz) that Vacheron Constantin redeveloped for use with the blessing of Breguet (who owns the Lémania movement manufacturer, though it is now integrated into Breguet Manufacture).
It is nice to know that Vacheron Constantin also recognizes that women are interested in such technical timepieces, too.
Quick Facts Vacheron Constantin Harmony Chronograph Small Model Caliber 1142
Case: pink gold, 37 x 46.6 x 11.74 mm
Movement: manually wound Caliber 1142, rebuilt and highly modified Lémania movement, Seal of Geneva
Functions: hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds; chronograph
Gem setting: 84 round-cut diamonds (1.2 ct) on bezel
Limitation: 260 pieces
In our Give Me Five! Skeleton Watches From SIHH 2015, we showed you a skeletonized edition of Parmigiani’s very thin Tonda 1950. This is a very svelte timepiece despite being automatic thanks to the use of a micro rotor.
At the fair, Parmigiani simultaneously released this timepiece in a feminized version that includes not only a few sparklers on the bezel, but – and this is the part I really like – a smoky sapphire crystal that reveals just enough of the skeletonized movement to know it’s there. In fact, from a distance, the crystal almost looks patterned.
Quick Facts Parmigiani Tonda 1950 Squelette
Case: 39 x 8.4 mm pink gold
Movement: automatic Caliber PF705
Functions: hours, minutes
Gem setting: 84 diamonds (0.64 ct) on the bezel
Strap: Hermès alligator-skin strap
Van Cleef & Arpels has returned to more of its gem-set, quartz style in 2015 – with the exception of its Poetic Complications, of which there are two new examples: the Jour Nuit Oiseaux de Paradis and the Jour Nuit Coccinelles.
The Poetic Complications line was called to life in 2006 and has until now featured clever mechanics by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht of Agenhor. Van Cleef & Arpels has now taken over the manufacture of the Poetic Complications movements in-house according to the module Wiederrecht developed.
The dials of both new examples of the Poetic Complication Jour Nuit make slow 24-hour rotations, which means that the dial always looks a bit different. For example, this hand-enameled bird of paradise sets its sparkling feathers down upon the flower of the same name over the course of one full day. The dial is hand-enameled using the cloisonné technique and gem-set.
Quick Facts Van Cleef & Arpels Jour Nuit Oiseaux de Paradis
Case: white gold, 38 mm
Movement: automatic movement (not specified) with exclusive module originally developed by Agenhor
Functions: hours, minutes; day/night indication
Dial: cloisonné enamel, engraving, gem-set
Gem setting: diamond-set bezel
Finally, we had the chance to look at the new IWC Portofino Midsize collection first presented at Watches & Wonders in Hong Kong. See 15 Watches You Need To See From Hong Kong’s Watches & Wonders 2014.
I will admit that this watch emanates a certain charm that the rendering received before SIHH did not.
The clean design of the dial appeals to me. Even though I am not a mother-of-pearl kind of girl, the all-business look of this double time zone mother-of-pearl dial combined with the relatively light sprinkling of diamonds is admittedly quite attractive.
Not bad for a first effort in the direction of the fairer sex, though a long way to go to get to where Jaeger-LeCoultre and Richard Mille have already arrived.
Quick Facts IWC Portofino Midsize Automatic Day & Night
Case: 37 x 11 mm, stainless steel or red gold
Movement: automatic Caliber 35700
Functions: hours, minutes, sweep seconds; second time zone with day/night indication
Gem setting: 12 diamond markers, 66 diamonds set in bezel
Strap: black or dark blue Santoni leather strap