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5 Fierce Diamond Watches from SIHH 2019

Every jewelry lover can appreciate these timepieces.

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ONE CANNOT BE a member of the jewelry industry without having a true appreciation for its most popular gem: the diamond. But at the 2019 edition of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva (SIHH), it was the watchmakers – even the unexpected ones – that beautified the “bling” in sometimes extreme but often exciting ways.

Here’s a look at five new watches for 2019 that every jewelry lover can wholeheartedly appreciate.

The Diamond Possession watch by Piaget

The Possession watch has been part of Piaget’s women’s line for a while now, and in recent years has included colorful gemstone dials such as turquoise, carnelian, lapis lazuli and malachite. But at this year’s SIHH, the brand went straight-up sparkle with several new versions including one entirely decorated in diamonds, leaving those of us who also write about jewelry for a living squealing with delight.

The 29mm case diameter is an ideal size for any wrist, and the rotating outer bezel makes for quite the “fidget spinner” for those of us who struggle to sit still during press presentations. The watch’s dial, bezels, case and bracelet are set with a total of 621 round brilliant cut diamonds weighing approximately 11.17 carats, all in. Show stopper? Um, you betcha.

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The Rendez-Vous Night & Day Jewellery watch by Jaeger-LeCoultre

While Jaeger-LeCoultre put forth some marvelous novelties at the 2019 edition of SIHH, new releases from their Rendez-Vous collection almost always garner the attention of those of us who appreciate jewels. This year, thankfully, was no exception.

The Rendez-Vous Night & Day Jewellery Watch was offered in both 18K white and 18K pink gold, but this time around, the model went big on brilliance. With a newly featured prong-set outer bezel that contained slightly larger round brilliant cuts than had been used in the past, there’s a substance to this edition of the Rendez-Vous that hadn’t been seen in previous versions. The pink gold model in particular was a standout at the show and was accompanied by a glorious mother-of-pearl dial, inner row of round brilliant diamonds, and taupe-colored alligator strap.

The Diamond Set Balancier Contemporain by Greubel Forsey

Greubel Forsey may not be as “household” a name as some other Swiss watch brands, but make no mistake, those who own a GF know both of the company’s watchmaking history and of how highly it is respected within the horological community. This year, however, and for the first time in the company’s history, Greubel Forsey released a highly complicated timepiece embellished in baguette cut diamonds. And trust me when I say that heads were (figuratively) exploding all over Geneva in response to it.

With a 72-hour chronometric power reserve, hand-wound movement made up of 255 parts, multi-level gold and mother-of-pearl dial with visual opening for the balance wheel, and 30-meter water resistance, the watch is already a true timekeeping specimen, but when you add 232 D-E color, IF clarity diamonds to the case, bezel and crown, you may as well just call it a day, because this watch wins all the prizes. Everybody else can go home. Hang it up. We have a winner.

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The Cat’s Eye Plum Blossom Jewellery watch by Girard-Perregaux

Vibrant in color and elegant in style, the Cat’s Eye Plum Blossom Jewellery Watch by Girard-Perregaux brought sparkle and shine to Geneva this month with a case embellished entirely in round brilliant cut diamonds and a floral-inspired seconds hand.

Containing a total of 444 white diamonds set on the watch’s dial, case, bezel and strap buckle, this Girard-Perregaux women’s timepiece exemplifies what a watch brand could be capable of when it combines extraordinary gem-setting techniques with a solid automatic movement.

The Révélation d’une Panthère watch in diamond by Cartier

Exactly one year ago on this very website I called the Cartier Révélation d’une Panthère timepiece one of my “Best in Show” watches from the 2018 edition of SIHH because of its mind-blowingly magical appearance and ability to entertain the wearer for hours on end. To elaborate: In an hourglass-like fashion and when held at the correct angle, tiny round gold beads trickled down the watch’s dial, forming the figure of the iconic Cartier cat before gravity pulled the beads to a delightful pile of gold in the lower part of the case. This year, however, Cartier decided to challenge David Blaine (if you know, you know) once again, only this time, replacing the beads with, yep … you guessed it … 650 miniscule round brilliant diamonds.

Cartier’s Révélation d’une Panthère is a spectacular example of what an established and respected jewelry and watch maison is capable of when they refuse to follow what’s trendy and won’t allow themselves to be boring. The watch is crafted in 18K white gold and not only contains the inner “trickling” diamonds, but also is decorated fully in diamonds around its bezel and along its bracelet. It contains a manual-winding movement which has a 38-hour power reserve and is limited to 40 pieces.

Barbara Palumbo is a watch and jewelry industry writer, journalist and speaker. She manages the blogging websites Adornmentality.com and Whatsonherwrist.com.

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