Sautoir watches are deeply redolent of 1960s jewellery and timepieces, very expressive and highly creative. They encapsulated the mood of the decade perfectly, as this was the time when women were beginning to gain independence and take full control over our lives. It was a period of great modernity as well.
Detaching from the old notions of luxury, of jewellery being completely ornate and worn as a parure or matching set, sautoir watches bridge functionality with style. They allowed women to check the time very discreetly and through a very intimate gesture because the dial was often only visible to the wearer.
Because they could be worn with such ease and had a real practical use as well, not to mention how chic they were, sautoir watches express a vivacious spirit and are making a strong comeback this year.
Reclaiming its leading position in this arena, Piaget has released two new high jewellery sautoir watches this year. Swinging Sautoir was inspired by a 1969 creation, and the first reference features handcrafted gold chains, braided gold links, gold tassels studded with closed-set round diamonds, and a gold dial engraved with Piaget’s signature Palace décor.
The second is a diamond and turquoise interpretation of the sautoir watch, very sleek and chic, very modern as well, with a dial of shimmering blue turquoise.
The third piece is also the pièce du resistance of the collection, crafted with exquisite gold links connected by brilliant cut diamonds and culminating in a single oval cabochon cut Zambian emerald. Its dial is made of malachite.
The Reverso has always been closely associated with the Art Deco period, given its birth in 1931, its elegant proportions, and geometric harmony. Echoing the inimitable style of the feminine Reverso Cordonnet model, the Reverso Secret Necklace presents a playful way of reading the time while mastering gem-setting, métiers d’art, and traditional watchmaking all at once.
Ropes of pink gold, fully paved with brilliant cut diamonds, extend towards black onyx beads to encircle the neck. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s goldsmithing craftsmanship comes through in the way the gold chain is cinched above and below the Reverso case, as if it were truly a cord made of pure gold.
The case is a beautiful work of art, as is the dial. Fully set with brilliant cut diamonds, the surfaces were also inlaid with hand-cut black onyx shards carefully cut and shaped to evoke Art Deco inspired motifs. Adding a touch of sophistication are the tassels at the end, complete with aiglets fashioned from black onyx.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Sautoir watches at Van Cleef & Arpels come in numerous iterations, and range from high jewellery masterpieces to everyday wearable fine jewellery styles such as these new Perlée designs. Worn on a sleek long chain, they look equally good solo or stacked with another necklace such as the Alhambra in 10 or 20 motifs.
Already available in a full pavé yellow gold case featuring either emeralds, rubies, or blue sapphires, the Perlée Secret Pendant Watch now comes with ornamental stone dial covers. According to the maison, these stone variations are not found in other product categories and collections.
The new trio includes a yellow gold piece with sodalite, a rose gold piece with rose quartz, and a white gold model with blue chalcedony.
Always finding new and creative ways to present the time, Chanel has been known to hide precious little dials on rings, brooches, and of course necklaces. This year’s Lion Sautoir is based on one of Mademoiselle Chanel’s favourite design motifs, the lion, which is related to her star sign, Leo. Here, a delicate gold, diamond, and facetted onyx chain espouses the classical codes of the maison, leading the eye down towards a medallion of black onyx with a gold sculpted lion head paved in diamonds.
Swivel the medallion to reveal a hidden dial again in smooth polished black onyx with a circlet of diamonds. Around the back, gently facetted onyx and a single brilliant diamond greets the eye, encircled by a border of braided yellow gold.