Of the leading watch and jewellery firms, Piaget and Van Cleef & Arpels in particular know how to match the quiet elegance of a watch with the romanticism of a wedding ring. Both firms are over a hundred years old, and their designs have accompanied spouses in the solemn exchange of their vows for decades.
Altiplano by Piaget: be punctual
It is the bride’s prerogative to be late. The groom must arrive punctually. Fortunately, the husband-to-be has a specialist to help him reach the altar on time. Manufacture Piaget was founded by Georges-Edouard Piaget in 1874 in the picturesque Swiss village of La Côte-aux-Fées. The brand came to the 1957 Basel watch fair with the soon-to-be famous 9P, a hand-wound, extra-thin movement. A mere two millimetres thick, it gave rise to a collection of men’s watches, Altiplano, that has become an icon of the firm. Simple, refined, with nothing to be added or taken away, the Altiplano will ensure the groom arrives on time and in style. And rather than tying clattering cans to the back of the newly-weds’ car, the groom’s friends would do better to show their support in colourful style by wearing one of the Altiplano anniversary watches that Piaget introduced this year for the collection’s 60th anniversary. The automatic version in 18k white gold has a graduated blue sunburst dial that makes a wonderful backdrop to the characteristic white gold applied indices and slender baton hands, and will be a perfect witness to their everlasting love.
The bride will walk down the aisle on her father’s arm, of course, and in the company of a lady’s Altiplano whose shimmering white opal dial is framed by a pink gold bezel set with 72 brilliant-cut diamonds. Also from the anniversary collection, it is a timely reminder that Piaget was the first watchmaker to propose hard-stone dials, in the 1960s. As for the wedding ring, the Possession collection has been a classic for more than 25 years. In white gold or pink gold, with or without diamonds, it in fact combines two rings, one twisting inside the other. As well as a sleek design and a touch of playful fantasy, the symbol of the two bands joined as one, and an evocative name, will appeal to both halves of a passionately-in-love, fusional couple. The bride’s closest friends – the ones in whom she first confided that he could be “the one”, the ones who organised a send-off to remember, and who at some point in the future will become caring godmothers – well, they can always console themselves for not having caught the bride’s bouquet with Piaget’s Possession fine jewellery collection in the many, vivid colours of lapis-lazuli, onyx, turquoise, malachite and carnelian.
At Van Cleef & Arpels, a wedding fit for a prince
For watchmaking’s most romantic enthusiasts, might we suggest something from Van Cleef & Arpels. The Parisian firm grew from the love of its founding couple, Estelle Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef, who married in 1895. Today’s lovebirds will particularly appreciate the charm of the Pierre Arpels watch, the brand’s very first timepiece. Introduced in 1949, it was designed in the utmost secrecy by Pierre Arpels himself. Originally crafted in yellow gold with a white enamel dial, and fitted to a black alligator strap, it has been revisited many times over, yet is always recognisable by its round, white lacquer dial that is embellished with a honeycomb motif, and by its rounded central attachments. In the finest tradition of this eminently glamorous brand, this elegant timepiece will be welcome at a society wedding fit for one of the legendary couples to have worn the brand, such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, or Prince Rainier of Monaco and Princess Grace Kelly.
If the bride is also a connoisseur of fine timepieces, rest assured that she will also appreciate the groom’s choice of Heure d’Ici & Heure d’Ailleurs. This complication watch, which fastens with a white gold pin buckle fashioned after the brand’s logo, is driven by an automatic mechanical movement, specifically developed for Van Cleef & Arpels by Agenhor. It displays dual time, jumping hours and retrograde minutes, with a power reserve of 48 hours. The bride will sport an exquisite mini Charms watch in white gold on a white satin strap, with two rows of round diamonds to highlight the cream lacquer dial, and an Alhambra charm to bring the happy couple luck. As for the all-important wedding ring, such a delicate watch calls for the pristine simplicity of the Perlée collection, or the discreet sophistication of the Estelle collection with its platinum beaded border. Do I want one? “I do”!