This year’s SIHH was an exciting edition for women, who had many watches to choose from. Not only are more brands developing ladies’ watches, they are also developing increasingly complex ones. While a few years ago, women’s watches were quartz, lacking the technical craftsmanship and engineering that mechanical timepieces enjoy, we are now seeing quartz watches slowly phase out. No longer is it all about looks; women now want automatic movements and chronographs, like their male counterparts. As Theodore Diehl, watchmaker at Richard Mille, explains: “Women used to buy quartz watches and not really care so much about the inside. Their husbands were the ones talking about the chronograph, what they could do, and the complexity of the interior. Women are now joining in on that movement.”
Some watchmakers this year offered a truly feminine universe. In this article, we will be discussing the most talked about ladies’ watches from this year’s event. We monitored online coverage from social media and online media to find out which were the most spoken about watches online from SIHH 2018.
Cartier Révélation d'une Panthère
“Cartier’s playing marbles… A technological exploit and aesthetic success!” – Chief Editor Luxury, Sophie Colin @plurisluxury
As a jeweller and watchmaker, Cartier’s watches offer the perfect marriage between the two. It is no surprise then that their new watch, Révélation d’une Panthère, was the most popular ladies’ watch this year. Révélation d’une Panthère features the transient face of a panther, Cartier’s favourite animal, which is created by 900 shimmering gold balls suspended in a liquid flowing down the watch with the flick of a wrist. The watch took five years to develop and earned two patents – one for the liquid which needed to have the right viscosity for the balls to swim across, and one for the glass keeping the balls and the liquid in. While a complication has traditionally been synonymous with function, “aesthetic complications” have been making their way into fine watchmaking, providing the wearer with an extraordinary dimension. Révélation d’une Panthère is the epitome of this new trend.
Van Cleef and Arpels Lady Arpels Planetarium
“My new love from Van Cleef and Arpels. No comments, just admiring the beauty.” – @luxury_life_ch
This year, Van Cleef and Arpels released a version for women of their 2014 men’s watch Midnight Planetarium. It features an astronomical complication that tracks the movement of the planets around the Sun in real time. The planets rotate thanks to the aventurine rings they are each attached to, each ring individually moving according to its calibrated time. The Sun, at the centre of the dial, is circled by Mercury -a pink mother-of-pearl- orbiting in 88 days, Venus -a green enamel- rotating in 224 days and the Earth -a turquoise- making a full circle in 365 days, and the Moon -a diamond- turning around the Earth in 29.5 days. This highly complicated movement was developed by leading astronomical watchmaker Christiaan van der Klaauw, who also developed Midnight Planetarium. Both beautiful and complex, this watch is also interesting and aesthetically impressive, so no surprise it did so well online.
Piaget Extremely Lady
“A remarkable goldsmith work for an original and precious look.” – Chief Editor Luxury, Sophie Colin @plurisluxury
“The quality of work and craftsmanship put into making the gold bracelets on these Piaget timepieces was otherworldly.” – Jewellery and watch influencer Barbara Palumbo from @whatsonherwrist
The vintage wave shows no sign of slowing down, as old-school curves, oval-shaped cases, pearl dials and gold bracelets make a strong comeback. Ahead of SIHH 2018, Piaget released its new collection, Extremely Lady, inspired by the brand’s rich heritage and style of half a century ago, and capturing the spirit of its heyday, the 1960s. This is the first revamp of the collection since it originally came out. There are no complications; this is a time-only watch with a quartz calibre. But its captivating design and colour contrasts of refreshing turquoises, greens, reds and golds have propelled it to the top of this year’s ladies’ watches. With a new female CEO, Chabi Nouri, at the head of Piaget, can we expect more women’s watches from the brand in the next few years?
Cartier - Santos
“History, style and elegance for over 110 years. Mechanically, one could, perhaps, dare more, but the Santos remains a timeless icon of modern watchmaking.” – @andre.frigerio
Révélation d’une Panthère is not the only Cartier watch that made it as one of the most spoken about ladies’ watches during SIHH: the Cartier Santos was also very popular. Now that the two-year storm has finally cleared, brands are looking back at their standard-bearers and building on their assets. Based on the brand’s first wristwatch, created by Cartier in 1904 for aviator Santos-Dumont, and discontinued two years ago, the Santos was in for a long overdue revamp. The reimagined version respects the original in many ways – a square case with round edges, a polished bezel with eight screws and a white dial with Roman numerals – but has been reshaped with more curves to give it an extra modern and luxurious feel. With interchangeable straps, it taps into a growing trend among watchmakers toward customisation. Highly appreciated by women at this year’s SIHH, the Santos is, however, not specifically a women’s watch. Does the Santos mark the start of a genderless fine watchmaking world?