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- 2 May 2013
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Women’s Luxury Watch Trends For 2013


Cartier’s limited edition Crash series

Mahasweta Bhattacharyya of Tic-Tock takes a look at the key trends in women’s timepieces to emerge from launches at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie

Luxury has a distinct definition when it comes to watches. A handcrafted horological heirloom can cost millions, and connoisseurs would pay for it willingly. As the exhibitions unveil the latest, and the best, in watch making, the timeless classics retain their position at the top of the list of favorites.

As The Guardian reports, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie held in January 2013, saw a considerable rise (10%) in the number of visitors compared to the previous years. The number of visitors is predicted to increase also at the Baselworld Trade Fair, taking place this week.

The question is – does an increase in the number of visitors translates into the increase in the sales of luxury watches? The statistics from the Swatch Group archives can perhaps give you an indication. Swatch’s gross sales increased by 14% in 2012 from 2011; this increase is set to continue through 2013.

 These trends also give a hint of the market that these manufacturers are targeting – Asia 

A luxury timepiece interests a buyer, not because it’s made from gold or it’s studded with diamonds (though these have an effect on the value too) but because of its history, craftsmanship and exclusivity.

The reputed watch houses showcased some of their finest horological creations at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie. The show also brought to the foray the trends in luxury watches for women that would dominate 2013. Interestingly, these trends also give a hint of the market that these manufacturers are targeting – Asia.

Historians opine that the wristwatch was essentially created for the female, as pocket watches were too masculine. A watch for a woman is as much an accessory as a utilitarian piece. The luxury timepieces at the Salon were some of the best examples of this attitude.


Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Haute Joaillerie

Fit for a princess: Gold dials studded with diamonds, gold bracelets with diamond-adorned clasps, gold bezels embellished with diamonds – a fascination with valuable metal and precious stones seem to be all the rage in women’s luxury wristwatches.

The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Haute Joaillerie is the prime example, paved with almost 800 diamonds, it pays a further tribute to the Maison’s expertise in jewellery. The gems take over the entire surface of the dial and invade the bezel and the outside of the bracelet.

Rose gold is all the rage for the new-age femme fatale. The hint of rosy hue adds just the right dose of feminine beauty to the pieces crafted from this gold/copper alloy. And the manufacturers do know how to use this attraction.

 A fascination with valuable metal and precious stones seem to be all the rage in women’s luxury wristwatches 

A slim, cute masterpiece: Beautiful and brilliant, the Piaget Altiplano Ultra Thin Skeleton, set with diamonds and rubies, is perhaps the best example of this trend. Though marketed for men, this little beauty is more appropriate for today’s women. Slender watches are in vogue and attract both male and female clientele.

Big, chunky dials with many functions may have been in fashion for quite some time but things are changing. The preference for slim watches, especially in Asia, has prompted Swiss manufacturers to come up with thin watches and small dials.


Piaget Altiplano Ultra Thin Skeleton

Flowers and butterflies: Again, the target market of the watchmakers is what encourages the accommodation of flora and fauna inspired designs in fine, high-end women’s watches today. Lilies and tulips, butterflies and snakes, strawberries and kiwis – new-age wristwatches for women feature them all.

Imagination is not limited to the real world for watchmakers. The effect of the Oriental is obvious – dragons and fairies are common motifs on the pretty little things. Watch houses have understood that ingenuity coupled with creativity can make their watches sell.

 Lilies, tulips, butterflies, snakes, strawberries and kiwis – new-age wristwatches for women feature them all 

Bold and bright: Almost every watch house present at the Salon had a wristwatch that conformed to one of the most popular trends of the day – colored dials. Pinks, blues and greens were visible everywhere! And it was not necessarily a single color. Vibrant reds, yellows and oranges adorned nice little orchids on some watch dials.

It was the Poetic Wish from Van Cleef & Arpels that was the focus of the day when it came to colored high-end wristwatches. The miniature painting, set with gold-engraving, gem-setting, and mother-of-pearl sculpting on the dial is sure to take your breath away.

Poetic Wish by Van Cleef & Arpels

A little touch of whimsy: Who said watch dials need to be round or square? The fanciful creations of the well-known Swiss watch houses do not play by the rules! Be it the 1930s inter-war inspired art deco 867 Diamants from Ralph Lauren or the asymmetric and humorous Crash from Cartier, whimsy retains its charm for the women of today.

And this trend is not limited to the watch dial alone. The beauty of the fine rose gold scales on the bracelet of Cartier’s Tank Americaine add the right touch of brilliance to this otherwise simple timepiece.

Another trend, which has been and which will continue to be (as per predictions), is the preference for quartz movement in ladies luxury watches. Women do not yet seem very keen on the pieces that require winding regularly. Hopefully, in the future, women will warm up to the intricacy of the mechanical movement in high-end horological pieces.

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
- Interest from BRICs Fuels World Luxury Watch Market
- Key Insights from the 2013 Salon Internationale de la Haute Horlogerie


Mahasweta Bhattacharyya is a contributing writer at Tic-Tock. An unwavering passion for luxury watches and an unending curiosity about how they work is what drives her to take an active interest in them.