These five time-only beauties remind us to take time to enjoy time by removing even the seconds hand. Well, except for one piece...
Van Cleef & Arpels is at the forefront of exceptional dial art, as seen here in the Lady Arpels Papillon Extraordinaire
A watch dial is sometimes a canvas for spectacular displays, as the Van Cleef & Arpels Extraordinary Dial Papillion watch above shows. At other times though, the dial conceals great craftsmanship with the most unassuming of facades. When there are no fussy and haughty complications in the picture, what is left is a certain kind of purity and this is what we wanted to explore with this selection of watches, all hailing from the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) 2013. These time-only beauties remind us to take time to enjoy time by removing even the seconds hand – well with one important exception.
We have covered our share of complicated watches and important watches over the years but sometimes it is fun to zoom in on simpler affairs, as we do in this story. In fact, you might consider these five watches as standard bearers of a particularly interesting trend in watchmaking – achieving complexity through simplicity.
As always, this is nothing new really but it is often easier to fling innovations and watchmaking complications in the faces of journalists and collectors than it is to impress with lavish attention to detail, for example. Complicated watches are, after all, the undisputed stars of watchmaking and will remain so.
Make mistake though, the following five watches are no wallflowers, although one of them does go heavy on the floral motifs! Each in its own way is as exciting as any grand complication out there and indeed most be just as difficult to lay your hands on thanks to their relative rarity.
One thing worth noting with these watches, and others by Cartier and Piaget not on this list, is that métiers d’art artisanal touches are increasingly impacting high watchmaking. It is certain that we will see such watches from Breguet, Blancpain and Jaquet Droz at BaselWorld 2013 since these brands have always had such watches. Chopard and Hermès will also likely exhibit similar creations so keep an eye (or two) out.
As is our usual practice, we list our selections in alphabetical order.