Even with so many innovations, from laboratory diamonds to 3D printing, presented by watch manufacturers at the most renowned fair in the sector, held in Geneva, Switzerland, the big news was a simpler, almost simple trend: watchmaking off the wrist. They hadn’t been out of there for a while. The accessory left the chains attached to the vests to be buckled to the arms at the beginning of the 20th century. First, during World War I (1914-1918), to make life easier for soldiers, who were forced to check the time at all times. And then, by the hands of the father of aviation, the Brazilian Santos Dumont, who ordered from French jeweler Louis Cartier a model that would stay fixed on the wrist while he was in charge of the joystick of his creations that came out of the ground. In the age of the smartphone, however, when it is possible to see the time without difficulty, the concept of functionality has lost its relevance – in some cases it is enough to be unusual.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the hands begin to gain other windows besides the arms. They are appearing inside rings, pendants, brooches and even padlocks. Dior invested in watches made as medallion-style necklaces, with a 1970s feel, which nods to the shapes of rough stones, from lapis lazuli to onyx. Created by Victoire de Castellane, artistic director of jewelry at the maison, they cost from 22,600 euros and are the protagonists of the haute horlogerie collection. In the brand’s latest campaign, model Cara Delevingne appeared with a version that stands out in the clean look of the advertising piece. The pendant watch also appears in the form of a padlock in the Hermès collection and in an amulet style in pieces by Bulgari.
Chanel was more ingenious. In addition to creating three models of necklaces with watches, the sophisticated French house advanced the new concept and fitted the accessory into a ring. Called Hors-Series Mademoiselle Privé Bouton, the jewel is inspired by the brand’s buttons and is decorated with pearls. Van Cleef & Arpels, in turn, bet on a watch inside a brooch, which can also be used as a pendant. The hands are strategically placed behind domes of lapis lazuli, chrysoprase and coral, decorated with diamonds and colored gemstones.
The models with an old-fashioned look, as refined as rare diamonds, often adorned with classic motifs, seem to deliver a message: the marriage of cutting-edge technology, which makes them increasingly tiny, with perpetuity. It is the future and the past hand in hand, in perfect partnership with objects that measure time. It is an aesthetic movement that has been repeated in fashion like the pendulums of a cuckoo model, in eternal swing. The beautiful aphorism of Mario Quintana (1906-1944) is valid: “Eternity is a clock without hands”.
Published in VEJA of August 17, 2022, issue no. 2802