Last year, Chanel was responsible for making cuffs inspired by the 1960s and 70s one of the hottest trends of the year, with bold and sexy leather cuffs, gladiator straps and gloves that paired XXL accessories with the dainty and diminutive J12 XS watch. Hermès, with its Faubourg Manchette Joaillerie, also offered a small-format women’s watch set off by a broad leather strap tooled according to the company’s saddlemaking heritage, in a rather fetching shade of green.
As the new year dawned, Geneva watch week gave us the opportunity to confirm that cuff bracelets are still holding their own among this year’s novelties and that, far from being merely an accessory, they are part and parcel of the charm of the watches themselves, to the point of becoming inseparable, even indispensable.
Can you conceive of HYT’s Skull Axl Rose without its blue-topstitched black leather cuff, to match the black DLC titanium case with blue PVD Damascus steel skull? The iconoclastic spirit of the Guns’n Roses singer, rock legend Axl Rose, informs the dark timepiece he had specially created for him; he chose the clous de Paris motif that flanks the central skull at 3 and 9 o’clock. The 51 mm diameter of this muscular, macho watch needs a black leather cuff. Axl Rose has generously agreed to share his passion – his watch is available in a limited edition of 25.
Hublot has chosen to adorn its lady clients’ wrists in rabbit fur. Never shy of exploring new materials, Hublot has adopted Orylag, a French trademark named after a breed of rabbits whose silky soft pelt makes an exceptional fur highly prized by the grand couture houses. Importantly, these animals are not slaughtered solely for their fur: their flesh is favoured by some of the finest chefs, and they are kept in conditions that meet the highest ethical standards. The Big Bang One Click Cuddly Click is the name of a women’s Big Bang 39 mm in brushed steel, with a bezel set with 42 diamonds, and an automatic movement with date function, mounted on a choice of three bracelets that can be swapped around easily thanks to the patented One Click system. The silky Orylag fur is worked by artisan furriers, and offers graduated colours in base tones of grey, turquoise and fuchsia.
In the high jewellery category, two cuff creations stand out from the crowd. The first is the Panthère Astrale by Cartier. The time is read off a dial decorated with a black lacquer motif, under a huge rectangular yellow heliodore weighing 27.14 carats. The rest of the white gold cuff plays up the contrast between black and white by means of 27 onyx, 931 brilliant-cut diamonds and a single 0.29 carat baguette-cut diamond with, to either side of the heliodore, the iconic Cartier panther paved with precious gems in a geometric motif.
The equally bejewelled and sculptural Diamond Outrage watch by Audemars Piguet revisits the cuff shape, adding diamond-studded spikes like icicles. This one-off piece is offered in either diamonds or blue sapphires. The white gold framework of the bracelet is hidden under almost 10,000 snow-set brilliant-cut diamonds of different sizes (or more than 11,000 sapphires, in the blue version). The diamond version also features three spikes invisibly set with baguette-cut diamonds. The watch is hidden under the flattest section of this glacial bracelet. The octagonal white gold case, paved with diamonds or sapphires, conceals the quartz calibre 2701 that drives the hour and minute functions.
The handsome looking Rotonde Annual calendar with all grande automatic and date in-house caliber 9908 MC, is an illustration of a complicated motion that’s predicated on the 1904 Caliber. All corrections of this watch can be produced through the crown and just needs one correct per year.Cartier Rotonde Annual Calendar.This Santos Dumont Skeleton (below) was following the Santos 100 skeleton, the second version that featured the newest 9612 MC mechanical skeleton caliber. A very eye catching watch which includes a white-, pink gold or ADLC coated titanium instance. The skeletonized bridges come at the form of Roman numerals and therefore are, in case of the black edition, ADLC coated. Cartier was the first new in presenting a mystery clock at 1912. It was developed by Maurice Coüet for Cartier. Hundred years after Cartier built especially a fresh in-house caliber for their Mysterieuse watch, a quality that was constructed around sapphire crystal dial with the floating hands. Cartier’s watchmakers had to overcome difficulties like driving of those sapphire discs together with the minute hand and the one with the hour hand plus the friction between them. Rather than adopting the system which was developed by Maurice Coüet for the vintage Mystery clocks, Cartier did it on its way and determined they ought to turn on mild pivots, really like a wheels in a gear train.To take the invention a step farther La Maison also developed the platinum Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Dual Tourbillon. A timepiece that is visually so remarkable, the huge case of 45mm doesn’t really matter anymore. The flying tourbillon turning once on its axis, every moment, is eye-candy. Entirely moving free, at a see-through round chamber, with no visible link to a gear train.