Need some inspiration to get out of your sweatpants? Watchmakers are delivering a slew of new high jewelry timepieces dripping in gems that should provide some motivation. These five pieces from Jaeger-LeCoultre, Breguet, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chanel and Chopard have all the elements for some serious wrist candy: unique designs, unusual cuts, special settings and gems that are flawlessly matched in color and clarity. Prices for these beauties are, of course, upon request.
Breguet Reine de Naples 8938
The Reine de Naples was inspired by a Breguet piece made in 1812 for Caroline Murat, the Queen of Naples and sister of Napoleon Bonaparte, and historians believe it was the first wristwatch ever made. The modern collection was launched in 2001, with signature elements that include the egg-shaped case like the original, as well as a coin-edge caseband, off-center crown and decorated dial. This diamond dial is snow-set, with varying sizes of diamonds that, when placed on the dial, allow for a tighter fit, thus covering more of the surface. The result is pure dazzle. Bezel, flange, lugs and crown are also diamond-set, for a total of three carats. The latest 8938 version is available in white gold with a blue bracelet or in rose gold with an orange bracelet, and both come with a chapter ring set in mother-of-pearl.
Chanel J12 Electro Star
Chanel added sapphires in a rainbow of colors to its collections this year, in a look inspired by the world of Electro music culture, which Arnaud Chastaingt, director of Chanel’s watchmaking creation studio, describes as “a radical, eccentric visual universe, reflecting the nightlife and atmosphere in which it evolved.” This is the high jewelry piece in the Electro lineup, with a case and bracelet lined on the outer edges by a discreet rim of rainbow sapphires. In total, the 38 mm watch is adorned with 578 baguette diamonds totaling 32.55 carats and 26 baguette rainbow sapphires weighing 13.01 carats set in 18-karat white gold. It is limited to just 12 pieces.
Chopard Red Carpet Esperanza
As a sponsor of the Cannes Film Festival since 1998, Chopard creates a Red Carpet jewelry collection every year. For 2021, there are 74 outstanding pieces, representing the number of years since the Festival began. The Esperanza Red Carpet emerald watch is set with a whopping 41.89 carats of perfectly matched pear-shaped and round emeralds. The dial is lit up with large, custom-cut, pear shaped diamonds. A large round diamond is placed at both 12 and 6 o’clock on the bezel. In total, there are 6.38 carats of diamonds. The case is made of 18-karat white gold that Chopard says is Fairmined certified by the Alliance for Responsible Mining.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso One Cordonnet Jewelry
This jewelry version of the Reverso One emphasizes the model’s signature Art Deco lines. The cordonnet bracelet (the word means “fine braid” in French) appeared on several Jaeger-LeCoultre watches in the 1930s. Here, the cord is reinterpreted in braided gold and diamonds. Like all Reverso models, the double-sided Duetto case allows for two dial presentations. One is a mother-of-pearl base, framed by diamond-set brackets and centered by a geometric field of pavé-set diamonds. The other is onyx with diamond-set sunbeams radiating from the center to form hour markers. Altogether, the watch is set with 1,104 diamonds for a total of 7.84 carats.
Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Pendant Watch
The pendant watch predates the wristwatch and remains one of the most elegant and decorative ways to tell time. Here it is given the Van Cleef Alhambra treatment – the four-petal motif, a brand icon, was introduced in 1968 but surprisingly this is the first time it has appeared as a pendant watch. Diamonds are set into the 18k yellow gold cover, bezel and bale. The pendant is a secret watch in two ways: the dial is hidden by a cover that swivels open, and the logo and hands appear upside down when viewed straight on—it reads right-side-up when flipped over and viewed by the wearer.