Ladies’ watches have not only come a long way from their previous status as smaller, quartz versions of men’s watches, they have come to represent the best that high watchmaking has to offer. That means better dial finishing and also better bracelet construction. Watch companies have begun to take the ladies’ bracelet seriously as a canvas for the expression of technical expertise and fine craftsmanship. Diamonds are set in unusual formats or special cuts, links are engineering to move more freely with the wrist, and the bracelet is increasingly designed to be the focal point of the watch, transforming it into a piece of jewelry. These watches have helped redefine the ladies’ high jewelry watch, but craftsmanship is not all about diamonds. Hermès gets points for its double saddle stitched Barenia calfskin leather straps, reproducing the same technique used on its famous handbags, including the Birkin.
Harry Winston Glacier Manchette, inspired by the Water high jewelry collection, with 76 carats of mostly baguette cut diamonds, set into platinum and connected via thin wires of platinum to form an open-worked watch bracelet.
Chopard Happy Sport Diamantissimo, set with 958 baguette-cut diamonds and 1,978 brilliant-cut diamonds, totaling 65 carats. Dial, case and bracelet are invisibly set. It contains a Chopard manufacture movement, the automatic caliber L.U.C 96.17-L.
Hermès Arceau Chrono Bridon, with the stirrup-inspired bradoon strap that features reinforced saddle stitching. In steel, with a self-winding chronograph movement and Hermès signature orange hands.
Bulgari Catene, with an open chain link bracelet that mirrors current jewelry trends. The 18k gold links are set with diamonds, but the watch is available without diamonds, and still functions as a piece of fine jewelry.
Cartier Fabuleux Diamond Cuff Bracelet, designed as a graphic solar surge with openwork circles and stripes. It is set with rose-cut diamonds and brilliant-cut diamonds, in 18k rhodium-plated white gold. Quartz movement.