Love watches? Say it with flowers! No, not literally hang a garland around your watch — wear one that's gussied up with beautiful blossoms. Camellias, peonies, and roses of course, even extraordinary ones you've never heard of, like diphylleia, take turn to grace the dials of haute horlogerie's finest design icons. Immortalised by a panoply of artisanal techniques that vacillate between the classical and the novel, they suffuse traditional high watchmaking with a feminine charm.
1. Corum Heritage Diphylleia
This dainty skeletonised timepiece is actually a visual metaphor for the rare and precious Diphylleia grayi. Known as the skeleton flower, its delicate white petals astonishingly turn translucent with rain yet its stamen remains golden, leading it to resemble something straight out of James Cameron's Avatar. Echoing that translucence is the ring of 22 VVS F-G brilliant-cut diamonds encircling the dial, which is outlined by a white mother-of-pearl inner bezel. Leaf-shaped hands complete this flawlessly feminine timepiece.
2. Roger Dubuis Velvet Blossom
Ever the avant-gardist, Roger Dubuis premiered an ingenious new artisanal technique with the Velvet Blossom: grand feu enamel sculpting. Sounding way more simple that it actually is, the Genevan manufacture applied this technique to the dial's numerous flower petals and leaves, which are fashioned out of an extremely thick plate of enamel. Comparatively, the undulating tendrils crafted in gold and the corollas, essentially just a single brilliant-cut diamond, appear almost easy shape and set.
3. Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Thousand Year Lights
Could one truly find heaven in a wild flower? Perhaps this inimitable work of art by Jaquet Droz holds the key. A pastoral night scene of thriving wild flowers brim with life, crafted by the traditional Korean lacquering technique, Najeon Chilgi, which dates back to the Goryeo dynasty and involves lacquer coated mother-of-pearl. On a dial blanketed with rich, black lacquer, the mother-of-pearl segments are first covered with lacquer, then polished meticulously and finally hand-painted for depth.
4. Chanel Première Flying Tourbillon Volant
Mademoiselle Chanel's favourite flower is also one of the most recognisable emblems of the Maison. Fittingly, the camellia was the motif selected to grace the tourbillon carriage of Chanel's by-now iconic Première Flying Tourbillon Volant. Of the numerous iterations in existence thus far, the full baguette diamond model presented in 2016 is certain to draw gasps again. With stones impeccably lined up, forming straight geometric lines, the camellia's soft curves and rotating motion create a striking contrast.
5. Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Complications Lady Jour des Fleurs
This eye-wateringly gorgeous high jewellery timepiece hides a secret in plain sight, doubtlessly aided by the dazzling festoon of precious stones, but it is certainly not called a Poetic Complication for nothing. Essentially, it has two dials; the upper one is set fully in diamonds and comes with cut-outs through which the lower dial can be seen. The lower dial, which rotates once every 12 hours, is set with a medley of precious coloured stones in all the shades of Spring.
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