It has been a few years since I attended the big watch trade show in Switzerland with the theme park sounding title, Baselworld. Since my last visit, times have changed, but my passion for a good watch pun has not. You’ve been warned.
First let’s walk it back. I am not only a jewelry expert, I do know a little about timepieces as well. One thing I learned in my past life covering the category for, oh, 17-years or so—beyond the question of what is a tourbillon—is that the styles are s-l-o-w-l-y altered. And many watch brands felt if they shrank a men’s style down a few millimeters that’s all they had to do to make women want it. Seriously. Well, time’s up on that simplistic approach.
There was a lot for women to love in Watchland, I mean Baselworld. Why the change? I chalk it up to the fact that we don’t need a watch to tell time when the phones glued to our hands do that. So, to inspire women into the watch arena you have got to deliver something stylish. Jewelers will always be the best at making watches for women—they understand women—but many pure watch brands are getting better at it.
See the watch trends I reported on for Harper’s Bazaar dot com here and some more of my favorite styles below. The superstars of the show for women were the Bvlgari and Chanel skeletons above flanking the sensational de Grisogono Retro Double Power Reserve. Those beauties alone were worth the trip.
As the author of the Bvlgari: Serpenti Collection, I have seen more than my fair share of the style. The new Italian snakes look so sensational, I feel as though I could write a second volume. Truly, the Italians have taken the motif and run wonderfully wild with the variations. It would be hard to say any one was my favorite. They are all fantastic.
The Chanel Coco Code watch debuted last year and there were lots of new variations shown this year with diamond and ceramic details. Obviously, I like diamonds but I also love the simplicity of the original design seen above. It just looks like a cool jewel with the signature quilting in steel. The little knob you can turn to hide the dial and let the time fly by is a unique feature.
Harry Winston watches were sweet and bright. The multi-wrap soft pink strap on the elegant Emerald collection was a nice nod to millennial pink. A delicious assortment of multi-color gems and diamonds cover the Premier automatic Candy watch.
Gucci designer Alessandro Michele’s fine hand has reached the watch department. The timepieces have all the individuality of everything else made under his direction. The watch on the left is the showpiece in the collection. The one on the right is a badass secret watch. The watch is revealed when the lion’s head is lifted.
It is always a good time at Chopard with the label’s iconic Happy collection that features gems floating between the crystal and dial. The Oval rendition has long been one of my favorites. I love the Happy Palm created in honor of the Cannes Film Festival that Chopard has supported for eons.
There is something about the joyful rainbow of sapphires around the classic Rolex Daytona that has made it a unanimous favorite among editors attending Basel. Take a second to look closely at the gem setting and I think you can see why the watch is such a charmer.
Bell & Ross is one of those brands that has taken an interesting design turn in its creations for women. This Blue Diamond Eagle has lingered in my mind.
Hublot is the Official Timekeeper of the World Cup. It’s a fact you can’t help but notice when watching the event as the name Hublot is on the countdown clocks on the field. I guess it’s that sponsorship that makes me think this imaginative watch and sunglass collab would look great on Victoria Beckham or another one of the footballers wives on the sidelines. The velvet on the watch not only covers the strap, it is also on the dial and that’s no mean feat. You know how velvet attracts lint, right? Well, they had to do all kinds of high tech things to make sure it was clean when it was sealed under the crystal. The sunglasses by Italian Independent are also lined in velvet.