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Watches that transcend the business of time

July 03,2007
Top: Cartier’s pretzel-like creation. Center: Versace’s latest design Bottom: Breguet
If you’ve ever paid attention to Paris Hilton’s latest watch, that is, the one she was wearing before she had to spend a week in jail, you might have noticed a PH timepiece on her wrist. Both hands on the watch are in the shape of petals.
In modern day fashion, a watch is not just a tool that signals the time but an accessory that reflects your fashion sensibility.
Contemporary watches sparkle with jewels; they are as innovative as any work of fine art and often cost just as much.
The modern trend in watches is focused on aesthetic values. Watch designers jump beyond the simple concept of functional design and try to encapsulate history and fantasy on a person’s wrist.
For its latest collection, Van Cleef & Arpels created a watch adorned with images of wild flowers, a young fairy and magic wands, based on Shakespeare’s “MidSummer Night’s Dream.” The piece is supposed to make the wearer think of Titania whenever they check the time.
The Vachelon Constantin collection combines art and technology, with its inspiration from the mask collections at the Barbier-Mueller Museum in Geneva.
“Original Monaco,” the latest edition from Tag Heuer, possesses a “sporty vintage” edge on top of its original design.
The edition first earned worldwide fame after Steve McQueen wore it in the racing film “Le Mans” in 1971.
Indeed the function of watches has expanded so that they incorporate beauty , style and practicality to a greater extent than ever before.
“Raine de Naples,” a ladies watch by Abraham Louis Breguet, who is known as the father of the watch industry, is a design that intricately mixes jewels into a watch.
Using motifs of feathers and soft curves, the watch has gemstones and a graceful setting for a diamond.
The silhouette of this watch could be seen as a piece of jewelry in its own right if it didn’t have the hands of a timepiece.
The Cartier collection presents a design that turns rectangular lattice shapes into soft waves.
Other designs include hundreds of semi precious and precious jewels.
Dior Watch, which has Sharon Stone as the face ― and wrist ― of its products, presents the “Sharon Stone Special Edition” set with 488 diamonds. Other designers use sapphires and rubies.
“Limelight Party” by Piaget introduces six moving rings highlighted with black sapphire, onyx and diamond contrasts. “J 12” by Chanel lures watch collectors with a bracelet that includes a baguette-cut ruby.
Collection Privee Cartier Paris presents a limited edition of 10 watches designed in simple black and blue.
The glossy surface creates a mirrored effect, complete with a single push button chronograph, a perpetual calendar and a power reserve function.
Omega, which has always been one of the most stylish and coveted designer watch brands, presented “Speed Master Brow Arrow 1957” which comes with a self-winding movement that controls mechanical friction.

Breguet’s diamond encrusted timepiece.
Most watch designers have begun to focus on developing innovative materials for their masterpieces. Aside from function, companies bring in unusual materials from automobile engineering, the aerospace industry and other high-tech additives such as ceramics and titanium.
“Top Gun,” by IWC is the latest version of the watches that are produced in collaboration with the Top Gun Fighter Weapon School, part of the United States Navy. It’s designed with a high-tech ceramic case resistant to shock and heat.
“Hampton Square XL Magnum,” a design by Baume & Mercier, has a separate counter that tells the time from other countries ― it’s a great time to be a watch.


By Hong Ju-yeon JoongAng Ilbo [myfeast@joongang.co.kr]



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