Extraordinary decorative and innovative techniques bring to life marvels of the natural world.
Wizardry is the word that describes how the dial of the Révélation d’Une Panthère magically transforms. Some 650 tiny brilliant-cut diamonds appear to be floating loosely over the blank, black-lacquered dial, but when you tilt the watch ever so gently to read the time, the diamonds begin to glide, ultimately forming the outline of a panther’s head. It took five years for Cartier to develop this innovation, which suspends the diamonds in a patented clear viscous fluid under the sapphire crystal. Upon slight movement, the stones slowly trickle into invisible carved channels on the dial. The EX 37mm white gold mechanical creation flaunts a diamond-set bezel and is equipped with the calibre 430 MC.
The maison turned to Monsieur Dior‘s beautiful gardens for the inspiration behind its one-of-a-kind timepieces. This Dior Grand Soir Reine des Abeilles 21 white gold watch features a bejewelled bee with en tremblant wings that flutter with the wearer’s movements. The insect is set with sapphires, emeralds, diamonds and rubies, as well as opals and feathers. The dial’s snow-set round diamonds represent the queen bee’s dazzling hive, which is encircled by a diamond-set bezel and lugs. The 36mm statement piece is equipped with a quartz movement and delivered with a black velvet strap that lends a luxurious touch.
A highlight of the maison’s 73-piece Red Carpet Collection 2020 that pays tribute to nature, this whimsical Owl jewellery watch was one of the first creations from the range to be unveiled. The gemstone-encrusted bird is set in ethical 18k white gold and adorned with a total of 9.1 carats of brilliant- and trapeze-cut diamonds. They are accented by an array of rainbow-hued sapphires – weighing a combined 4.1 carats – that encircle the twin dials displaying two time zones.
A year after the debut of a smaller variant, the jeweller unveils the Premier Lotus Automatic in this larger 36mm white gold model. The beauty of the lotus flower – a cherished house motif – is celebrated in a romantic blush palette on the dial. It takes the form of two white gold sculptures adorned with white and pink beaded mother-of-pearl, and set atop a mother-of-pearl dial carved with a ripple pattern. A total of 164 brilliant-, marquise- and emerald-cut diamonds are set on the petals using a proprietary clustering technique, while 57 brilliant-cut diamonds line the bezel. The timepiece is equipped with the HW2014 Swiss-made mechanical movement, which boasts a robust 68-hour power reserve.
Living in the depths of the Mediterranean is Neptune grass, an aquatic plant essential to the endemic marine ecosystem. Its graceful form is expressed on the dial of the white gold Marine Haute Joaillerie 9509 Poseidonia through exquisite mother-of-pearl marquetry and precious gems assembled with an invisible setting. Pictured here is the 35.8mm red variant featuring 85 baguette rubies, coloured sapphires and diamonds on the dial. The same gems also embellish the bezel and strap buckle. The transparent sapphire caseback reveals the extra- slim self-winding 591C calibre.
One of four unique chiming watches from the maison’s La Musique du Temps Les Cabinotiers – The Singing Birds collection, this 40mm pink gold piece showcases a champlevé enamel painting of a blue jay in a bucolic scene. A mastery of volumes and traditional craftsmanship techniques are essential for such pieces with a two-tiered dial. The enamelled section conceals the mechanism driving the hours and minutes, while the guilloche area displays the hour and minute indications. It is powered by the extra-thin self-winding calibre 1120 AT movement, which features an off-centre time display, offering additional space for the incredible artwork on its left.
Inspired by a 1774 sketch by famed watchmaker Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz, this one-of-a-kind Loving Butterfly Automaton boasts a stunning opal dial as the fiery backdrop to a mesmerising display. Encircled by a 43mm red gold case, a gilded forest towers over gold appliques of a chariot, cherub and harnessed butterfly. A push of the crown button sets the butterfly’s wings aflutter as it pulls the chariot, and the wheels appear to turn, courtesy of an optical illusion created by fixed and moving spokes. A total of 40 hand- engraved parts, including the cherub’s intricate arms, were assembled manually. Powered by the self-winding Jaquet Droz 2653 AT1 movement, this extraordinary watch also showcases an off-centre onyx sub-dial with hour and minute markers.
The motif on this 38mm Arceau Harnais Français Remix timepiece is composed of a pair of horses decked in elaborate harnesses. The image is adapted from the design of a vintage Hermès silk scarf by Hugo Grygkar, a prolific in-house designer who worked at the maison from the 1940s to 1959. The bezel is set with 82 diamonds and frames the engraved, hand-painted Limoges porcelain dial. Taking a month to craft, the horses are first hand-engraved, after which enamel paint colours are applied meticulously layer by layer and fired repeatedly. Produced in a limited and numbered series of 24, the watch is driven by the H1912 mechanical self- winding movement.
(Art direction: Aaron Lee)