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- 31 Jan 2013

Key Insights from the 2013 Salon Internationale de la Haute Horlogerie

Maria Doulton of The Jewellery Editor takes a closer look at women’s high jewellery watches

2013 looks like another year of safe bets for the luxury watch world, according to Maria Doulton reporting from the Salon Internationale de la Haute Horlogerie.

An abundance of smaller, slimmer traditional round watches for both men and women is indication of China’s strong influence in this sector of the watch industry. IWC, Panerai and Jaeger-LeCoultre were some of the houses that presented smaller sized watches in a final show of bucking the trend of bulking up case sizes.

The World Watch report confirmed the very same week as the SIHH that China accounts for 31% of the demand for haute horlogerie time pieces.

Cartier presented its first in-house manufactured chronograph, the Calibre de Cartier. The Richemont house also resurrected its Mystery clocks from 1912, in a new range of watches where the hands and even a tourbillon appear to float in thin air.

IWC turned its attention to the race track with Formula One inspired Ingenieur watches to mark its association with Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One.

 Brands are now more in tune with what women want, now offering superior mechanical watches that are also very beautiful & feminine 

For women, however, it is a different story. We are beginning to see a larger number of more daring and creative propositions for women than in previous years. The reason for this could be two fold.

On the one hand women’s watches are the less developed segment of the top end watch market. Secondly, brands are now more in tune with what women want and now offer both superior mechanical watches that are also very beautiful and feminine.

A good example of this approach is Van Cleef & Arpels Enchanted Ballerina and Cartier and Piaget’s impressive array of women’s watches. It also makes business sense to introduce women, into what has traditionally been a very male and technical product.

Vacheron Constantin went the whole way and dedicated their entire stand to women’s watches, with a new version of the Malte watch in a feminine tonneau shape, suitably slim and petite.

They also presented their top of the range Metiers d’Arts collection re-focused on women, with three different engraved and enameled watch models, each featuring flowers inspired by 18th century botanical illustrations.

 Where there has been innovation tended to rest with materials. Roger Dubuis presented a silicon case lighter & stronger than titanium 

Cartier showed a very strong collection with a large number of highly creative watches for women. Some highlights included tiara and diamond bracelet watch sets, as well as models featuring detachable brooches that can be worn over the watch or on your evening gown.

The house also unveiled ‘secret’ watches with dials hidden under bejewelled turtles, which slide away to reveal the time as well as lavishly set jewels featuring dials.

Where there has been innovation tended to rest with materials, such as Richard Mille’s ultra- light RM 59-01 with a lurid green carbon nano tube composite case made in honour of Jamaican Olympic sprinter Yohan Blake, also known as ’The Beast". Roger Dubuis also presented a watch with a silicon case that is lighter and stronger than titanium.

Interesting to note competitive prices from Ralph Lauren, Baume & Mercier and even Montblanc as the mid-range priced watches mark out their territories.

To further investigate Timepieces on Luxury Society, we invite your to explore the related materials as follows:

- In Conversation With… Luc Perramond, CEO, La Montre Hermès
- China’s Luxury Watch Market Not Nearly As Grim As It May Seem
- The Global Consumer’s Interest for Haute Horlogerie Increases by 7%


The Jewellery Editor is Maria Doulton, a freelance editor and journalist based in London specialising in jewellery and watches. Maria writes for the Financial Times, The Telegraph, Luxx magazine for The Times, Vanity Fair and specialist watch publications around the world.

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