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Moonphase in a Small Form Factor

As time goes on, luxury watchmakers have been constantly trying to include more complications and additional bling and features into their timepieces, including their watches for women.

That’s fine, especially if they’re adding complications to women’s watches, as that has traditionally been reserved only for men’s watches.

The problem with adding complications is that they almost always add additional size.

Men may enjoy getting into the “size wars” over gigantic oversized cases, but most women I know prefer that their watches not become the size of sundials just so they can accommodate additional features.

That’s where the new Blancpain Villeret Date Moonphase, introduced at Baselworld reently, really shines.  The watch, designed for women and using a dedicated movement, includes a clever date display as well as a rather cheeky moonphase complication.

The case, measuring 29.2 mm, is available in either gold ($19,000) or stainless steel ($16,000.)  The case is adorned with 48 diamonds around the face, and an additional 8 diamonds on the face itself, at 1, 2, 4,5,7,8, 10, and 11 o’clock.

The date isn’t displayed in a window, but is instead shown around the perimeter of the case, with a dedicated red pointer to point to the date.

The moon phase complication is shown in a window at 6 o’clock and the full moon display shows a moon that appears to have eyelashes, lipstick and even a beauty mark.

On the back of the case, you’ll find sapphire crystal that reveals a red gold rotor.  The automatic movement has a 40 hour power reserve.

The nice thing about this watch is the movement, which was built in-house and is known as the Caliber 913QL.  Measuring 21mm, the movement is quite size-efficient, especially given that it has a moon phase, which ordinarily takes up quite a bit of space.

blancpain villeret date moonphaseLadies’ watches have often been an afterthought in the watch industry, as the industry and associated innovation seem to be driven by men’s models.  That’s not surprising, given that most watch designers and watch company CEOs are men, but men’s models usually get the features, the complications and the cutting-edge innovation.

Ladies’ models, on the other hand, are usually kept fairly simple, with the manufacturers just throwing some gold and some diamonds at a movement with so-so features, assuming that women don’t really care about features or complications.

It’s nice to see that Blancpain does care enough to introduce some dedicated movements as well as some complications that appear to have been designed with the intended customer base in mind.

While a moon phase is hardly an essential feature in any watch, let alone one for women, it’s nice to see that this one has been designed with a bit of whimsy.  It fits in well with this model, and while it hardly makes the watch a “must buy,” it does add a certain je ne sais quois to it.

The end result is a watch that is expensive, to be sure, but is also drop-dead gorgeous.   This one is a watch that just about anyone would be happy to own.

The end result is a watch that is truly a thing of beauty.

Diamonds and Flowers – Oh, My!

Sometimes when I see a watch, I’m just not sure what to think about it.  In the case of this one, the Urwerk UR-106 “Flower Power,” I’m pretty sure I like it, but it took a while for me to even figure out what I was looking at.

The watch has diamonds, and who doesn’t like diamonds?  That part is great.  The diamonds adorn the case, and there are some diamonds that form flowers under the crystal.

urwerk ur-106 flower power And then there are those strange rotating clusters of numbers that seem to float around on the inside.

As well as that odd row of numbers on the bottom.

I finally figured it out; the numbers rotate, and the one at the bottom indicates hours and it “points” at the row of numbers at the bottom of the face.

Those are the minutes.

It’s a pretty odd arrangement, but Urwerk has an exploded view of the watch on their Website that gives a bit more of an explanation as to what’s going on in this odd, but fascinating watch.

Meanwhile, there is an explanation there for the sorts of things that we can understand about this amazing watch:

It has a steel case with a diamond-set titanium crown.

It has water resistance to 30 meters.

It has a UR-6.01 automatic winding mechanical movement.

It has a 48 hour power reserve

Oh, and it’s a limited edition of just 11 pieces.  The price is $96,000.  It’s also available in a color that they call “black pink,” which is also odd.

It’s actually a titanium case that’s PVD-coated to make it black.  The numbers are all pink.  That makes the watch “pop” just a bit more and catch the eye, but to be honest, I’m not sure I actually like how the watch looks when someone is wearing it.

It looks pretty in the photos, but when someone is wearing it, it sort of looks like a smartwatch, or something.  It’s the shape that puts me off.   That’s not to say that I wouldn’t mind trying one on just to see how it looks on me.

urwerk black pinkThen again, from browsing the company’s site, it’s pretty apparent that all of their watches are rather odd looking.  Most of their models are made for men, and for some reason, men seem to be able to wear unusual watches better than women can.  It’s also possible that Urwerk just isn’t all that accustomed to making women’s watches just yet.  Perhaps in time, they’ll make one that’s a bit more feminine looking and a bit less, oh, I don’t know – industrial.

There are some women who are going to think that this watch is gorgeous, and I can’t exactly say that it isn’t.  I’m just still on the fence about it.  It’s certainly eye-catching; I’ll give it that.  I’m not yet sure that I love it.  But here it is.  You can draw your own conclusions about it.

Still, at 11 pieces, I don’t think I’m likely to run across one anytime soon to try on.  In all likelihood, they’re already sold out.

Beautiful Watch and Interesting Movements

Watchmakers have long added “complications” to their timepieces to provide additional functions.  The term “complication” is an odd one, but for the watchmaker, adding any functionality to a timepiece beyond telling the time does, indeed, complicate their job.

van cleef & arpels ballerine enchantee

The ballerina’s tutu tells the time.

Most complications are purely functional, adding time-related features to the watch.  This might include adding the date or the day of the week, or perhaps a stopwatch feature or a second hand.

All of these things are technically complications, and probably 99% of all of the complications that you’ll find in a watch add some feature that makes the watch more useful as a watch.

That isn’t what’s going on in the new Poetic Complications series of watches from Van Cleef & Arpels.  These watches do include complications, but they’re not your garden variety add-ons.

These complications change the way the watch works, or in some cases, simply add a bit of fun to the timepiece.  They’re still, at their core, wristwatches, but now they have a bit of whimsy to them.

Take the Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantee watch, for instance.  This white gold and diamond-encrusted beauty features a lovely ballerina on its face.

She’s dressed in a tutu, and the tutu rises and falls to indicate the hours and minutes.   That’s it; the watch is a time-only timepiece, and the elaborate complication simply involves creating another way to have the watch display the time.

Of course, this is all done in a beautiful 40mm white gold case with white gold, and the entire bezel is surrounded by diamonds.  There are also diamonds used for the hour markers.  The tutu on the ballerina is white gold, and the crown is white gold, capped with yet another diamond.

Van Cleef & Arpels’ Lady Arpels Papillon Automate  Prev Next  In Van Cleef & Arpels’ Lady Arpels Papillon Automate, a butterfly automaton beats its wings randomly and irregularly: every two to four minutes when the watch is off the wrist, and increasingly frequent as the wearer becomes more active. It can also be triggered on demand via a pushbutton, thanks to a self-winding movement made by Manufacture ValFleurier exclusively for Van Cleef. Various decorative arts – paillonne enamel, champleve enamel, mother-of-pearl sculpture, gem-setting and miniature painting – are showcased, including a brand-new technique invented by Van Cleef & Arpels: curved plique-a-jour enamel forming twisted blades of grass. #6. Slim d’Hermes L’Heure Impatiente  Prev Next  Time at Hermes is playful, spontaneous and full of emotions. Building on the popularity of the super-slim and minimalist Slim d’Hermes watch collection, which has all the makings of a future classic, L’Heure Impatiente allows the user to set her watch to the time of a much-anticipated event that will take place within the next 12 hours. An hour before, a countdown at six o’clock sets off, enhancing the sense of expectation, until a lasting note rings out at the desired time, animated by the self-winding manufacture Hermes H1912 movement.  You may also like:  5 of the Grandest Cartier Diamonds #7. Breguet Tradition Dame 7038  breguet_tradition_dame_7038.jpg  First launched in 2005, Breguet’s emblematic Tradition collection is now enhanced with the 37-mm rose gold Tradition Dame 7038. The watch’s unusual architecture offers views of the main movement components dial-side, and its symmetrical layout gives the piece a distinct visual identity. Powered by the self-winding Calibre 505SR, it showcases a central barrel with a rosette motif, a hobnail guilloché pattern, white mother-of-pearl dial at 12 o’clock, engraved retrograde seconds at 10 o’clock and wheels forming an arc from four to eight o’clock.  Story originally appeared on The Peak. RECOMMENDED Insider's Picks: These Are The Best Red Lipsticks You Need To Own This Season Insider's Picks: These Are The Best Red Lipsticks You Need To Own This Season Fashion & Beauty Featured Crocodile Skin Hermès Birkin Breaks Record For World’s Most Expensive Handbag Sold At Auction Crocodile Skin Hermès Birkin Breaks Record For World’s Most Expensive Handbag Sold At Auction Fashion & Beauty Lavish S$590 Chanel Tennis Balls Debut from Spring Summer 2017 Lavish Chanel Tennis Balls Debut from Spring Summer 2017 Toys & Tech Chanel Is Now Selling a S$2020 Boomerang Chanel Is Now Selling a S$2020 Boomerang Toys & Tech Spotlight  QUIZ: Can You Identify These 15 Watch Brand Logos?  Sponsored: The Singapore Jewellery & Gem Fair To Return this November

The butterfly moves at rates that vary according to your own movement.

Van Cleef & Arpels did not design the movement; it was apparently designed and built by an unnamed watch manufacturer.  The mechanical movement has a 59 hour power reserve.

While lovely, the Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantee is not cheap; it sells for $120,000.

This beautiful watch is one of a number of pieces in the company’s Poetic Complications series, all of which have taken the notion of a watch complication and used it to do something extraordinary.

There are 35 or so watches in the series, and they are all truly stunning examples of how one can make a watch that is a thing of beauty as well as a bit of fun.  They’re lively and colorful, and they’re all gold or platinum and diamonds about.

The only downside, of course, is the price, but if you’re familiar with Van Cleef & Arpels, you’ll know that they’re not exactly a bargain-basement kind of company.  Everything they make is lovely, but it’s all fairly pricey.

Still, they’re amazing watches, and it’s nice to see someone thinking outside of the box when it comes to watch design.  Anyone can add a date or a stopwatch to a wristwatch, and by now, pretty much everyone has done that.

Sure, there are a few companies that try to pile on the complications, and then you end up with tides, and chimes and whatnot.  There’s a place for that.  There’s also a place for something else, and in their Poetic Complications series, Van Cleef & Arpels have shown that something else can be pretty amazing.


Chanel Enhances the Skeleton With Diamonds

As I’ve mentioned before, skeleton watches are a relative rarity in women’s watches.  They tend to look so…mechanical, and don’t have the elegance that a lot of women seek in a high end timepiece.

chanel premiere camelia skeletonDespite this, various high end watchmakers are experimenting with skeleton designs, though it can be a bit tricky to make the watch look pretty while still maintaining the interesting see-through looks that one gets from a skeleton design.

That’s where Chanel comes in.  Their new  Premiere Camelia Skeleton watches feature, as the name implies, a skeleton form factor, but this watch truly dazzles.

The dazzle comes from the hundreds of diamonds that adorn the case, the bezel and the bracelet.  This is not a watch for someone who doesn’t like diamonds, because this watch is loaded with them.

How loaded?  According to Chanel, the watch features more than 250 diamonds.

The watch is available with either a leather strap that is adorned with 30 diamonds, or a white gold bracelet that features 536 diamonds.

That’s amazing.  But what about the watch itself?

The Premiere Camelia Skeleton has a white gold case, and a mechanically wound Caliber 2 movement with a 48 hour power reserve.  Water resistance (as though it matters) is rated at 30 meters.

If you’re looking for features, you will not find them here.  Chanel is keeping it simple; the Premiere Camelia Skeleton offers the time of day only.  That’s it; no repeater, no chime, no date, no phases of the moon.

On the other hand, keeping the movement simple in a skeleton watch means that you’re also keeping the movement attractive.  The more features you include, the more cluttered-looking your finished movement is going to be and in a skeleton watch, cluttered isn’t what you’re looking for.

It’s also not what you’re looking for in a timepiece with a six figure price tag.  While Chanel’s site lists the price as “available on request,” we understand that the base price is $138,000 or so, though the price can double if you decide that you cannot resist the version with the white gold bracelet and the additional 500+ diamonds on it.

And who could, really?

If the price doesn’t scare you away, the availability might – the Chanel Premiere Camelia Skeleton is a limited edition (aren’t they all) watch that is going to be limited to 12 pieces only.

Still, this is a beautiful watch, and it’s made all the more impressive by the fact that the movement was designed in-house.  A lot of watches from “fashion” companies are often simply rebadged timepieces from other manufacturers.  You buy a watch from another maker, put your name on it, add a few diamonds, and call it your own.

Don’t misunderstand; when this is done in high end watches, the result is still a quality timepiece.  But a lot of fashion companies aren’t interested in manufacturing or research and development, and a lot of companies that are don’t mind wholesaling a few movements now and then.

Still, deciding that you’re going to build your own movement in-house shows a commitment to watches, and that’s something I think we’re all glad to see, especially in this age where fewer people are wearing wristwatches.


Diamonds and Complications

When it comes to watches, it seems that men get all the fun.  Women’s watches are usually made to be pretty, but they generally lack the features of men’s watches.  Furthermore, they’re rarely seen with interesting complications or with a “skeleton” style, that allows you to see the inner workings of the timepiece.

Granted, creating a timepiece with visual moving gears while still making the watch attractive to the eye so it will work as a functional piece of jewelry is a tough trick to pull off.

It looks like Breguet has done it, however, with their recently-introduced Tradition Dame 7038.

Don’t be fooled by the odd or awkward name.  This is a beautiful, elegant watch that people will beg to see when it’s on your wrist.

The watch has a 37mm rose gold case that is rimmed with 68 diamonds, all mounted to a white leather strap.  The case has a crystal back, allowing you to view the exquisite movement from both sides of this magnificent timepiece.

breguet tradtion dame 7038The dial is mother of pearl and the hands are rose gold.

The timepiece is self-winding, which will be convenient if you’re wearing it often, as you won’t have to wind it regularly.  The 38 jewel movement has a 50 hour power reserve, and the watch is water resistant to 30 meters.  For most wearers, this is not going to be an issue, as you likely will not find yourself wearing this beautiful watch anywhere near the water.

The standard model is rose gold, though a white gold model is also available.  Each model will be numbered and signed and the Tradition Dame 7038 will be a limited-issue watch, though Breguet has not announced how many pieces will be made.

Unfortunately, they also have not announced the price, though one site I saw the other day mentioned a retail price of approximately $40,000.

As I previously mentioned, it’s rather unusual to see skeleton watches for women, especially in this price range.  There’s a certain elegance that one expects to see in a $40,000 watch and mechanical contrivances usually conflict with that.

Still, Breguet, which has been in business since 1775, has a long history of finding a way to make something that was intended to be merely functional attractive.

Admittedly, the 68 diamonds surrounding the dial don’t hurt a bit.

While I don’t think I’ll be buying this one (it’s only available at a handful of retailers worldwide and only 2 in America), I can certainly put it on my Dream List.

You can read more about the Tradition Dame 7038 at the company’s Website.