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A Marriage in Fashion Heaven

A Marriage in Fashion Heaven

The luxury watch market is having its moment. Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet's partnership with British luxury fashion house Ralph & Russo blurs the fine lines between timekeeping and fashion. In fact, craftsmanship and technology are defining todays high-end watch market

Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer Audemars Piguet has married luxury and fashion by bringing together its latest Royal Oak Selfwinding and Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon models with fashion house Ralph & Russo's Spring/Summer 2021 Pret collection. Four models of Audemars Piguet's 34-mm Royal Oak Selfwinding models and two new, frosted gold versions of the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon complement Ralph & Russo's Spring/Summer 2021 Pret-a-Porter collection this fall (a tourbillon is an addition to the mechanics of a watch escapement to increase accuracy by negating the impact of gravity). These pairings highlight how the two brands' latest collections are alike in technical precision, savoir-faire and refinement.

"The fun part was when we realised that our watches had already been paired with Ralph & Russo's designs many times by clients who didn't wait for this partnership to match our two brands!" says Francois-Henry Bennahmias, CEO, Audemars-Piguet. To complete Ralph & Russo's Pret-a-Porter collection, Audemars Piguet presents its latest 34-mm Royal Oak Selfwinding models, made for smaller wrists.

CAT PEOPLE -- Cartier introduces two new Metiers d'Art watches that combine straw marquetry with gold, and champleve enamel on filigree - to create a brand new interpretation of its famous panther motif

This new line includes four models in stainless steel and/or 18 kt pink gold. The 18 kt pink gold model is adorned with a diamond-set bezel and a silver-toned guilloche 'Grande Tapisserie' dial. The dial's guilloche design - one of the Royal Oak's trademarks - is achieved by little squares being carved out on the dial's thin metal plate by an engraving machine from the 1970s that reproduces the motif.

The two steel models are enhanced by a silver-toned or blue-grey 'Grande Tapisserie' dial. The blue-grey watch is embellished with a diamond-set bezel. The manufacturer also presents an elegant two-tone model combining a stainless-steel case and bracelet with an 18 kt pink gold bezel and bracelet links. This model comes with a silver-toned 'Grande Tapisserie' dial. These four references are powered by a new selfwinding movement, calibre 5800, endowed with a dedicated oscillating weight.

Ralph & Russo's new collection is further enhanced by a new take on the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon, in 18 kt pink or white gold, whose case is adorned in shimmering Frosted Gold finish with a multi-layered blue dial with the flying tourbillon cage at 6 o'clock, which has diamond-set gold-toned circles. There are no hour markers.

CAT PEOPLE -- Cartier introduces two new Metiers d'Art watches that combine straw marquetry with gold, and champleve enamel on filigree - to create a brand new interpretation of its famous panther motif

Ever since French jewellery and watches maker Maison Cartier discovered the panther in 1914, it has continually reinterpreted the feline over decades, from motifs to materials. This year the artisans at Cartier's La Chaux-de-Fonds manufacture reveal two new "Metiers d'Art" watches, created through exchanges between marquetry craftsmen, jewellers, enamellers, gem-setters, and miniature-painters.

The 42-mm Ronde Louis Cartier Straw and Gold Marquetry Watch in 18k white gold with a sapphire cabochon-set crown, uses straw and gold marquetry, creating a work reminiscent of bas-relief. To make the decor on the dial, 75 blades of straw in various sizes and shades, have been used, producing 11 colours. The leopard's head comprises more than 65 satin-finished elements in white, yellow, and pink gold. Yellow gold wires are embedded in the straw elements, adding complexity. Spots on the coat and eyes have been enamelled, while the spots in the background are added with miniature paint. It is available in a limited edition of 30 numbered timepieces.

The 36-mm Ronde Louis Cartier Enamel Filigree watch in 18k white gold with a brilliant-cut diamond set crown, has a bezel, dial, and buckle encrusted with 269 brilliant-cut diamonds. With snow-set diamonds spilling into the dial onto the panther motif, it's this representation in enamel filigree that commands attention. The black spots on the beast's fur and its shiny green eyes are also in champleve enamel, while the sky and the background bamboo are painted in the miniature style. The watch is limited to a numbered edition of 30 pieces.

Monochromatic Fluidity -- HYTs new H0 creates a mysterious black canvas to indicate the passage of time - and what is yet to come - with black fluidic hours, punctuated with orange numerals

On the heels of the Tonda 1950 Rainbow (2019), Val-de-Travers, Switzerland-based Parmigiani Fleurier has launched the 40.2 mm Tonda 1950 Flying Tourbillon Double Rainbow in 18k rose gold. This haute horlogerie timepiece features a double gradient of extraordinary colours and represents Parmigiani Fleuriers skill in marrying watchmaking and jewellery.

The dial is set with 572 white diamonds (totalling 1.402 ct), and adorned with a crescent of aventurine, within a gradient of baguette-cut multicoloured stones (32 sapphires). This colour progression is a mirror image of the stones set on the bezel (40 sapphires). In nature (and as seen at Val-de-Travers), a second rainbow featuring the colours in reverse generally accompanies a rainbow, caused by a secondary reflection of the light on water droplets. The selection and setting of these stones evoke this natural phenomenon - the result of meticulous work by the artisans at Parmigiani Fleurier.

The ultra-thin PF517 movement comprises a platinum micro-rotor and flying tourbillon. The position of the tourbillon at 7 oclock on the dial is a nod to the founder, Michel Parmigiani, who was born at 7:08 am on December 2, 1950. The Tonda 1950 line also pays tribute to this master watchmaker who, in the midst of the Quartz Crisis in the 1970s, maintained his belief in the value of the finest traditional mechanical watchmaking. The watch which has a sapphire case back and is water resistant to 30 metres starts at $178,000.

A Rainbow Over Diamonds -- Parmigiani Fleurier's new Tonda 1950 Flying Tourbillon perfectly marries haute horlogerie with fine jewel-making

Instead of needle-sharp hands or fleeting digital displays, the concept of telling the time with fluid, overcoming gravity, was started by HYT. The HYT manufacture has with its team of 43 experts, since 2012, broken scientific ground to create watches that tell time with fluids.

The latest 48.8 mm H0 timepiece by HYT in black monochrome stainless steel provides an enigmatic black canvas to visualise the flow of existence. The borosilicate glass capillary tube of HYT patented micro-fluidic module holds two immiscible liquids, one transparent, the other coloured with a highly resistant black dye, the first documenting the foreseeable future, the latter, the past.

HYT challenges the horological convention of affording midnight and midday artificial importance. Instead, the focus on six o'clock encourages alternative turning points in the day. At its heart, beats a mechanical, manual winding caliber (28,000 Vph, 4 Hz, 35 jewels); the power reserve is at 65 hours. The strap is in black rubber with a black titanium folding buckle.

Rolex Oysterflex -- The oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller is equipped with calibre 9001, one of the most complex movements to be manufactured by Rolex

Purity is the mantra of the H0. In design terms this is expressed by its domed sapphire crystal, and the seclusion of the bellows (the contraption that expels and draws in the liquid) behind smoky grey glass. The monochromatic whole is punctuated, from the Super-Luminova touches on the flange numbers and hands, to the ultra-fine markers on the dial. Time is always on the move. The HYT HO with a patented fluidic module comes in for $43,000.

The Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller is introduced with an Oysterflex bracelet. This 18 carat yellow gold version with a bright black, sunray-finish dial offers the high-performance elastomer bracelet with an Oysterclasp and the Rolex Glidelock extension system, which allows fine adjustment of the bracelet for optimal comfort on the wrist. The Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller is equipped with calibre 9001, one of the most complex movements to be developed and manufactured by Rolex. This calibre includes a blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured by the brand in an exclusive paramagnetic alloy.

The author is a Delhi-based writer

Published on: Oct 29, 2020, 3:36 PM IST
Posted by: Vivek Dubey, Oct 29, 2020, 3:36 PM IST