In the era of iPhones and FitBits, the wristwatch has long passed its days as a practical necessity for telling time. Today’s fine timepieces are artful accessories rather than tools. And yet watches are in no way becoming obsolete, and the art and craft of fine horlogerie continues to carry on its tradition, as valued as ever.
What makes watches so timeless? It may be a respect for the meticulous process involved in crafting an intricate timepiece, a product of both science and art that transcends monetary value. Or it may be its comfortingly consistent presence: always in place, precisely recording every moment of our lives.
By their very nature, watches remind us of the relentless march of time, the most precious of worldly resources. While minutes move forward, watchmaking often looks back to its heritage: vintage watches have been gracing celebrity wrists since the 1980s, and are a darling of collectors and auctioneers worldwide. In choosing a new timepiece, consider whether it will stand the test of time — appreciating to become vintage valuable, passed down through generations.
When the finest mechanical technology meets precious jewels, their brilliance intersects at a crossroads of man’s masterful skill and expertise, and nature’s harnessed, polished beauty.
Panthère Asymétrique Watch
The asymmetric design presents the icon of Cartier, the panther, in a dynamic and powerful way. Rhodiumized 18k white gold case and bracelet set with 64 baguette-cut diamonds totaling 8.10 carats, and 898 brilliant-cut diamonds totaling 5.84 carats, eyes set with emeralds, onyx spots and nose, silvered translucent lacquered sunray effect dial, rhodiumized steel sword-shaped hands.
At Cartier Vancouver Boutique, (604) 683-6878, cartier.us
Signature Diamant Secret Watch
For the second year running Chanel presents its new high jewellery watch collection LES ÉTERNELLES DE CHANEL. The new addition shows a graphic cuff in 18k white gold with a quilted design paved with round diamonds. At its centre, an exceptional 5.26-carat briolette diamond reveals a round dial within a perfect square when lightly pressed.
At Chanel Vancouver Boutique, (604) 682-0522, chanel.com
Sophisticated mechanisms such as the tourbillon, perpetual calendar, moon phase, and chime are the product of generations of watchmakers who have made it their lives’ work to challenge the limits of craft and technology and deliver the best in timepiece function and precision.
Toric Tecnica Chrono
The Parmigiani has been built on a powerful conviction: restoring the value of Swiss watchmaking art as heritage, by making it part of an ongoing tradition of manufacturing expertise. With minute repeater, tourbillon, perpetual calendar and chronograph movement, and a dial hand-engraved and covered with translucent enamel, the Toric Tecnica is an accomplishment of wristwatches in both technique and art. Sounds the hours, quarter-hours and minutes with 2 cathedral chime on two gongs. Power reserve for 40 hours.
At Palladio, (604) 685-3885, parmigiani.com
Traditionnelle Calibre 2755
Vacheron Constantin has over 250 years of history, abiding by the ancient authentic watchmaking tradition in Geneva. The Traditionnelle series embodies the tradition at its best. Every watch is produced according to the strictest standards, highlighting sophisticated techniques with complicated functions: tourbillon, minute repeater, perpetual calendar, hand-type date, hours, month, and day of the week, leap year, power reserve on the back of the watch, power reserve is about 58 hours.
At Palladio, (604) 685-3885, vacheron-constantin.com
Captured in automatons and translucent enamel, wondrous surprises are revealed in the smallest of packages, and unprecedented emotion expressed in seemingly cold mechanical devices.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Lady Arpels Poetic Wish Watch
The Poetic Complications Collection is full of picturesque ingenuity and imagination. Dial with miniature painted sky on mother-of-pearl, sculpted and engraved white mother-of-pearl clouds, the Lady Arpels Poetic Wish watch depicts a young woman on the Eiffel Tower with hour markers, watching a red kite, a symbol of luck, pass by along the minute markers. 5-minute repeater movement. Power reserve for 60 hours.
At Birks, (604) 669-3333, vancleefarpels.com
Novelties The Charming Bird Watch
The Jaquet Droz watch with its singing bird automaton movement creates a sense of nature. At the press of the push-button, the bird in the glass will chirp and spin. The transparent dial shows the complex mechanical movement. Power reserve of 38 hours. Numerus clausus of 28.
At Montecristo Jewellers, (604) 263-3611, jaquet-droz.com