Tuesday is Valentine’s Day, the most romantic day of the year, which puts us in mind of the new crop of ladies’ timepieces introduced by the purveyors of haute horlogerie at January’s SIHH watch fair in Geneva. You may wish to consider one of these as the ideal gift for Valentine’s Day or some other occasion — a way both to show your devotion and share with her your passion for watches. (Of course, if you’re just now thinking about a Valentine’s gift, it may be time for a new watch for yourself — one with a calendar. But first things first…)
Montblanc’s big ladies’ initiative this year is its Princesse Grace de Monaco collection, a tribute to iconic beauty Grace Kelly. In addition to pens and jewelry, the collection includes several ladies’ watches, including several limited editions and two unique pieces: the Pétales de Rose ($226,100, pictured at top), with a mother-of-pearl dial and a white-gold bracelet and case comprised of rose-petal contours containing 605 brilliant cut diamonds; and the Pétales Entrelaces ($159,600), also with the rose-petal motif, here used in the indices and as interlacing loops on the rose-gold bracelet. Slightly less excusive is the rose-gold model with 130 diamonds on the flange, 126 on the bezel, and 45 on the dial, which is limited to 29 pieces ($39,100). The watch has a pink teardrop-shaped sapphire at 6 o’clock, a Montblanc diamond (cut to resemble the brand’s star logo) on the winding crown, and Princess Grace’s monogram on the caseback. For those of more modest means, there is also an unlimited stainless-steel-case version for $6,600.
Roger Dubuis introduced its new, feminine Velvet models at SIHH, all of which contain the company’s in-house, automatic RD821 movement, which is COSC-certified and also carries the Geneva Seal. While the technical achievement on the inside is impressive, it is the watches’ exteriors that are more likely to catch the eye of your better half, particularly the one with a case of black-DLC-coated titanium and a bezel and lugs set with 48 amethysts and 40 spinels. There’s also a High Jewellery model in white gold fully pavéd with 1,300 diamonds. Prices range from $37,300 to $120,500.
A more restrained, classical elegance is evident in the new ladies’ model by Germany’s A. Lange & Söhne. The Ladies Saxonia Automatic has a slim, 37-mm-diameter gold case and a solid-silver dial covered with a thin layer of mother-of-pearl. The bezel is set with 68 brilliant-cut diamonds. The dial, with its simple gold hands and appliqués, has a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. The movement, automatic caliber L086.4, is visible through the sapphire caseback and has a power reserve of three days. The rose-gold model is $43,100; the white-gold model, $44,300.
Vacheron Constantin’s new Malte Small Model, with the redesigned tonneau-shaped case, is not yet available at retail, but you can still find the classic version ($24,800), with its traditionally feminine dimensions (28 mm by 26.5 mm) and a bezel set with 58 round-cut diamonds. The watch has a rose-gold case and a silvered opaline dial with a tappisserie wave pattern. The movement, manual-wound Caliber 1400, bears the Geneva Seal and has a power reserve of 50 hours.
Cartier, of course, unveiled several new ladies’ models, including the Promenade d’une Panthere, which features an interesting new technical twist on the Cartier panther, the sleek jungle cat that has become a symbol of the brand. The watch’s in-house mechanical movement, Caliber 9603 MC, has an inverted winding rotor sculpted in the form of a panther and set with diamonds. As the rotor sways with the motion of the wearer’s wrist, the panther seems to prowl around the dial, which is made of deep purple mother-of-pearl. The 42-mm, white-gold case also has a bezel set with multiple rows of diamonds; it also has a sapphire viewing window in the back. Price upon request.
Parmigiani introduced a stainless-steel version of its Kalparisma, now with small seconds and a large date window at 6 o’clock. The dial, in either black or ivory, has an eye-catching sunray guilloché pattern and gold-plated or rhodium-plated numerals. The movement, Parmigiani’s own automatic PF 331, is visible through the caseback and has a 55-hour power reserve. Prices range from $9,800 to $13,600 for the models with diamonds.
Fans of Girard-Perregaux’s vintage-style 1966 line now have a complicated model suitable for their lady love: the 1966 Lady Moon-Phases has the automatic 3300-0067 movement, with a lunar calendar and small seconds indication. The case is petite (36-mm diameter) and is adorned with 54 diamonds on its bezel; the dial is mother-of-pearl; the strap is alligator leather. The movement, visible through the caseback, is intricately decorated with sunray patterns, circular graining and cotes de Geneve. Prices are $27,300 in rose gold and $28,800 in white gold.
Finally, what woman doesn’t appreciate a well-chosen flower on Valentines’s Day? The Piaget Limelight Dancing Light watch ($58,000), part of the brand’s new Limelight Garden Party collection, has a small subdial for hours and minutes centered inside a rotating white-gold rose set with 155 brilliant-cut diamonds. The white-gold case is set with 52 brilliant-cut diamonds, plus 15 more on the buckle, and comes on a black satin strap. There is also a rose-gold model for $57,000.