They may be tiny to look at, but they’re a huge trend right now.
Where larger and chunkier unisex watches were a major trend throughout the 90s, jewellery-like timepieces have started slipping into the spotlight through the 21st century.
Inspired by the very first watch designs, their feminine pieces have a slew of similarities with the earliest wristwatch designs in the 19th century. Men had their pocket watches while the ladies had bejewelled bracelets with concealed dials because women weren’t ‘supposed’ to check the time in public at that time.
The renewed interest in petite watches, especially from the 50s and 60s are becoming more apparent with brands like Piaget, Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre reviving archival pieces in more contemporary codes. Pairing aesthetics with exceptional watchmaking facilities, stunning new creations have also emerged in the market.
Moreover, watches are no longer just a functional device — it is a personification of your personality and style, and nowhere is this shift move evident that in women’s timepieces.
Taking the Panthère de Cartier as the best example; it is more of a jewellery than a timepiece that women who don’t necessarily ‘do’ watches would want to wear one. With its beautiful bracelet wrapping the wrist once, twice or thrice, to the statement Panthère Manchette, these ultra-luxurious petite watches are sumptuous additions to a woman’s jewellery box. While one may brand petite watches for evening galas and cocktail events, it doesn’t hurt to dust diamonds on the wrist even when sporting a casual everyday look.
[Hero and Featured Image Credit: Cartier]
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur.
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- Panthère de Cartier 22mm small 18k gold watch
- Jaeger-LeCoultre 101 Reine 6.8mm 18k rose gold and diamond watch
- Hermès Heure H 17.2mm small gold-plated and leather watch
- Chanel Première Rock Watch 23.6mm
- Piaget Limelight Gala 26mm 18k white gold, alligator and diamond watch
- Maillon de Cartier 16 x 17mm various finishes
The iconic Panthère watch first debuted in the 80s, and is known for its elegant and classic architecture. Cartier has given the Panthère a new update with a redesigned maillot bracelet that wraps around the wrist twice. Patented in 18k gold, the timepiece boasts the same soft square shape as the original and black Roman numbers and markers. Doubling as a lightweight jewellery watch, the updated Panthère also comes in rose gold.
The history of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 101 watch started in the twenties when bourgeoise women of that time favoured smaller timepieces. It is also the timepiece that was worn by Queen Elizabeth II on her Coronation Day. The 18k rose gold watch represents its fourth generation of the pioneering movement, festooned in diamonds — giving it a bracelet-like feature for the most glamorous occasion.
The distinctive gold-plate case resembling the brand’s iconic ‘H’ motif braces the sunburst-stamped dial while featuring hidden lugs that secure it to the interchangeable leather strap. The elegant topstitched brown hide with white yarns gives a timeless yet modern look, a perfect investment piece for everyday use. The stainless steel case back is also artfully engraved with Hermès moniker to give it subtle detailing.
The latest addition to Chanel’s range of watches is The Première Rock that comes in novel colour variations and two types of steel chain bracelets interwoven with leather strap — a single and a triple row bracelet — akin to the maison’s iconic handbags. The watch is powered by a high precision quartz movement within its petite body. Delicate yet powerful, the beautiful timepiece is a statement of elegance and pizzazz thanks to its diamond-cut case, and ultra-minimalist dial.
The beauty of Piaget’s ‘Limelight Gala’ watch lies in its covetable combination of timeless elegance and utilitarian edge. The construction pays homage to the original 1973 model, with a swirling case paved in sparkling diamonds and featuring elongated Roman numerals. Keeping the timepiece contemporary, blue alligator strap complements the brilliant white gold finish for a royal touch. It also comes in a rose gold and diamond iteration.
Cartier’s latest novelty comes in the form of the Maillon that translates to ‘link’ in French. Meticulously crafted with an ultra-feminine elegance, the greatest feature of this timepiece is the hexagonal chain links that are offset and aligned on the bias by Cartier. A glorious interpretation of rhythmic geometry, the Maillon de Cartier also unites exceptional pieces with stones to enhance the designs in this range. It comes in seven variants, each holding a unique character — whether it’s brazen yellow gold with majestic blue hands and crown, or bedazzled with brilliant-cut diamonds. On its own, it is a jewellery timepiece that is deconstructed yet elegant in its own codes.