Watches with elaborate complications or anything resembling cutting-edge technology have long been largely in the domain of men’s watches.
Watches for women are usually made to be pretty, with a smaller size, but more diamonds and gold in order to appeal to our alleged interest in bling.
Bling is nice, but women like complications, too, and we particularly like it when a watchmaker decides that our part of the market is important enough to rate something special in the way of a new movement or design.
Jaeger LeCoultre has certainly raised the bar with their Hybris Artistica Mysterieuse series, and they’ve done so in a fascinating way, producing a watch that is not only drop-dead gorgeous, but also innovative.
The Hybris Artistica Mysterieuse, limited to just 3 pieces (though we’ve read elsewhere that they’ll make as many as five) is a watch that qualifies as revolutionary in a world where the term is often thrown about haphazardly.
Yes, there’s a men’s version, too, but they’re different enough that the women’s version alone is worth writing about.
The most remarkable thing about the Hybris Artistica Mysterieuse is that the watch tells the time without hands. No, it’s not a quartz powered model with a digital display. It’s a timepiece that uses a unique method of displaying the time with an elaborate and highly accurate mechanical movement.
The hours are displayed via the tourbillon. Most watches with a tourbillon have them at a fixed position; they’re usually at 6 o’clock but sometimes at 3 or 9. In the case of the Hybris Artistica Mysterieuse, the tourbillon actually moves around the dial, and it’s the location of the tourbillon cage on the dial that indicates the hours.
The minutes are indicated by an inset dial that rotates round the perimeter, with a single ruby used on the dial to indicate the time.
The watch features 73 individually hand crafted leaves on the case, with mother of pearl leaves around the dial. 18 leaves adorn the dial, and these have inset diamonds.
The automatic movement is visible via the sapphire crystal cover on the back of the watch case. The movement was built in-house by Jaeger LeCoultre especially for this watch, which shows that an awful lot of work and time were put into it, given the extremely low production of the finished product.
The end result is a truly lovely watch that would draw attention to itself even if it had a traditional face with hands. Putting a rotating/revolving tourbillon on the dial to show the time, however, makes the Hybris Artistica Mysterieuse a design masterpiece.
There’s a men’s model, too, and it works in much the same way, but it’s less pretty and far more industrial looking. That’s the nature of the market, of course, and men like that look. Women, especially those for whom the necessity of a watch has long ago been replaced by the presence of the ubiquitous smartphone, still want a watch that’s going to look good.
This one certainly does.
Jaeger LeCoultre has not released a price for the Hybris Artistica Mysterieuse; their site lists the price as being “available on request.”