5 Dazzling Gem-Set Watches For Men From 2018 Ranging From Relatively Discreet (Chopard) To Obvious (Antoine Preziuso, Jaquet Droz) And Flagrant (Hublot) Before Ending In Full Bling (Rolex)
Though men wearing gemstones on watches may seem a bit over the top on occasion – as with anything, it’s all about the time, place, and tastefulness of the creation – there is no doubt that a sumptuously set timepiece may well appeal to anyone regardless of gender.
However, it is true that today most gem-set watches are created with the female wrist in mind, which means that these timepieces are smaller and perhaps less suitable for wear by men. But based largely on the growing number of new pieces I have seeing of late, gem-set watches for men are perhaps making something of a comeback.
I felt validated in this belief when the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie released the list of watches entered into the 2018 edition and I saw two examples decidedly created for men entered into the Jewellery category – a first, I believe – and even another in the Artistic Crafts category.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona
When the Rolex Daytona left the workshop of this Genevan giant for the first time in 1963, I’ll bet you that not one person working there would ever have thought that it would look like this one day.
This Daytona kaleidoscope is crafted in 18-karat Everose (pink) gold and liberally adorned with precious gemstones, justifiably lending it the “Rainbow” nickname it has become known by.
The gems on this version of Rolex’s quintessential sports chronograph are set primarily around the bezel: in place of the usual tachymeter scale there is a ring of precious sapphires in graduated colors.
If you are a fan of this Rolex model, you will likely also enjoy this colorful version. Just make sure to keep the leprechaun looking for his crock of gold away . . .
For more information, please visit www.rolex.com.
Quick Facts Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona
Case: 40 x 12.8 mm, pink gold
Gems: 56 brilliant-cut diamonds on lugs and crown guard, 11 baguette-cut colored sapphires as hour markers (each matching the graduated color on the bezel above it), 36 baguette-cut sapphires in rainbow gradation
Movement: automatic Caliber 4130, 72-hour power reserve, chronograph column wheel and vertical clutch, blue Parachrom hairspring, C.O.S.C. chronometer certified
Functions: hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds; chronograph
Antoine Preziuso Trillion Tourbillon of Tourbillons
One of the male-oriented watches entered in the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève’s Jewellery category is the Antoine Preziuso Trillion Tourbillon of Tourbillons, a dazzling version of this independent watchmaker’s uniquely complicated Tourbillon of Tourbillons, which took home the Innovation Prize at the 2015 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
I found the Tourbillon of Tourbillons to be a very emotional watch with its bold looks and rotating platform of eternally revolving tourbillons. And for me the addition of these incredible sparklers adds even more emotion to the complete package.Antoine Preziuso Trillion Tourbillon of Tourbillons
I won’t say it wouldn’t take a very self-assured man to wear this, but that would be the type of customer for this masterpiece anyway regardless of the added sparkle. And this very high level of watchmaking combined with what is undoubtedly the finest quality of diamonds available is simply breathtaking.
For a complete description of the complicated movement in this watch, please see Joshua Munchow’s Antoine Preziuso Tourbillon of Tourbillons: Fractals Meet ‘Inception.’
For more information, please visit www.antoine-preziuso.com.
Quick Facts Antoine Preziuso Trillion Tourbillon of Tourbillons
Case: 47 x 14 mm, white gold
Diamonds: 3 Top Wesselton G+ solitary trillion-cut diamonds rotating between the tourbillon; 233 invisible-set G+ baguette-cut diamonds (24 ct) on case, buckle, crown, and bezel
Movement: manually wound Caliber AFP-TTR-3X with three one-minute tourbillons connected by a triple differential gear comprising a fourth ten-minute tourbillon carriage; 21,600 vph/3 Hz frequency, 48-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: one unique piece
Price: 1,200,000 Swiss francs
Jaquet Droz Loving Butterfly Automaton
Jaquet Droz currently celebrates its 180th anniversary under the motto “creativity,” and we have certainly seen some stunners arriving already in the anniversary year like the Grande Seconde Moon Black Enamel and the finalized Signing Machine.
And one of my favorites is one of the two new variations of 2017’s incredible Loving Butterfly Automaton: one features a meteorite dial and the other an aventurine dial combined with the natural addition of diamonds surrounding it (see Aventurine: Sparkling, Glittering, Mysterious, And Placing A Galaxy Of Stars On Your Wrist) to enhance the sparkle.
This expressive watch tells a typical Jaquet Droz story of a Cupid in a chariot pulled by a butterfly. This being a Jaquet Droz automat, there is naturally more: the chariot wheels roll and the butterfly flaps its wings when the crown button is pressed. In fact, the butterfly flaps its wings 300 times over a couple minutes.
For more information please see Awesome Aphidae: Jaquet Droz’s Loving Butterfly Returns As An Exquisite Automaton and/or visit www.jaquet-droz.com.
Quick Facts Jaquet Droz Loving Butterfly Automaton
Case: 43 x 16.63 mm, white gold
Dial: aventurine with mother-of-pearl hour/minute subdial
Diamonds: 212 brilliant-cut diamonds (0.68 ct) around dial flange and on lugs
Movement: automatic Caliber 2653 ATI with silicon balance spring and pallet lever, double spring barrel, 68-hour power reserve, plus manually wound automaton activated by pushing the crown button powered by its own spring barrel
Functions: hours, minutes; Cupid and butterfly automaton
Limitation: 28 pieces
Chopard L.U.C Heritage Grand Cru
Even though Chopard is a specialist in using sensational gemstones to transform watches into jewelry, generally that’s for female-oriented models. It is rare to find a men’s Chopard timepiece embellished with diamonds.
Above and beyond that, the L.U.C Heritage Grand Cru is special for two other reasons: for one, it is tonneau shaped – also relatively rare at Chopard – and for another, it is inspired by co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s passionate love of fine wine (which explains the term “Grand Cru” in the name).
One of many intersting things I find about this interpretation of the L.U.C Heritage Grand Cru is that despite being set with 3.05 carats’ worth of beautiful baguette-shaped diamonds, its appearance remains understated and very masculine. And why shouldn’t it?
GaryG said something interesting about his Patek Philippe Reference 5170P – which boasts baguette-cut diamond markers – in The Bling And I: Collecting Jeweled And Decorated Timepieces: “Yes, there are diamonds there, but this watch is the epitome of under-the-radar bling as in most light it’s quite difficult to determine whether you’re looking at diamonds or super-polished metal.”
In essence, I feel quite similar about the Chopard L.U.C Heritage Grand Cru: you have to look just a bit harder to decide whether the bezel is shiny white gold or relatively low-key – as far as these things go – baguette-cut diamonds.
For more information please visit www.chopard.com.
Quick Facts Chopard L.U.C Heritage Grand Cru
Case: 38.5 x 38.8 x 7.74 mm, white gold
Diamonds: 40 baguette-cut diamonds (3.05 ct) around bezel
Movement: automatic Caliber L.U.C 97.01-L with 22-karat gold micro rotor, Twin Technology twin spring barrels, 65-hour power reserve, swan-neck fine adjustment, C.O.S.C. chronometer certified, Seal of Geneva
Functions: hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds; date
Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Sapphire Rainbow
Hublot has been successful with its new range of “viable” sapphire crystal cases that include transparent composite resin combined with the corundum material introduced in 2016 (see Give Me Five! Sapphire Crystal Cases At Baselworld 2016) and recently extended with color options.
Transparency is a key element to the success of these watches. But I think that adding colorful gemstones to the bezels of them also offers another layer of chic.
I am a fan of the transparent Hublot watches with the rainbow-styled gems casually residing in the bezel – and luckily there are currently two to choose from: in addition to this one, there is also the Big Bang One Click Sapphire with rainbow-styled gems in the bezel.
For more information, please visit www.hublot.com.
Quick Facts Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Sapphire Rainbow
Case: 42 mm, sapphire crystal with transparent composite resin and 18-karat white gold bezel
Gems: 54 baguette-cut colored sapphires, amethysts, rubies, topazes, and tsavorites around bezel
Movement: automatic Caliber HUB4700, 50-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds; chronograph
Limitation: 50 pieces
You might also enjoy:
The Bling And I: Collecting Jeweled And Decorated Timepieces
Hublot’s Dashing Diamonds: Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph High Jewellery
Diamond-Set Watches: Who Knew Fine Craftsmanship Was So Complicated?
How, When, And Why Diamond-Set Watches For Men Were Commonly Accepted And The Importance America Played
Antoine Preziuso Tourbillon of Tourbillons: Fractals Meet ‘Inception’
Awesome Aphidae: Jaquet Droz’s Loving Butterfly Returns As An Exquisite Automaton
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I saw the Rolex in person in Queenstown – while I recoiled at it in images, in the flesh it is absolutely incredible. If you get the chance to see it, do. It is breathtakingly well executed.
I am yet to see a sophisticated gemstone watch that does not look feminine. There’s just no desire to innovate in this area.