While only a handful of watchmakers have dipped their toes in the smart watch pool, almost every fine watch house has conspired to make watch-collecting, one of the last bastions of red-blooded machismo, a growing avocation for the ladies. With watches that speak specifically and directly to every woman, this particular corner of the timekeeping game is celebrated to grand effect in Roger Dubuis’ latest Velvet collections.
The first range, the Blossom Velvet is a beautifully florid model that arrives in five different permutations, all of which measure 36mm in diameter and are crafted in pink or white gold with diamond-encrusted bezel and lugs, including the classic central ‘third lug’. The magic, however, takes place directly on the sans-hour markers, mother-of-pearl dial. It stages the highly delicate art of floral marquetry where the artisans have played with soft curves and subtle shades of pink or blue to form a wreath of exquisite blooms skillfully fashioned from an exceptionally thick plate of Grand Feu enamel. The Blossom Velvet is equipped with a mechanical self-winding movement, Calibre RD821 with a 48-hour power reserve, bearing the iconic Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark.
A parable-like opposite is the Black Velvet collection that boasts an aesthetic suspended between masculinity and femininity, echoing the all-conquering spirit of a woman. It emerges as the first ever timepiece to feature gem-set carbon, demanding a newly evolved technique which has also been duly patented. The multi-layered technique used to form the carbon case creates a distinctively mottled, superimposed wave-like effect that is never the same twice depending on how the light plays over it, thus rendering each watch truly unique. It is composed of 66 tourmaline Paraibas. Further enhancing the glow of this watch, the distinctive blue-green hue is also reflected in the glimmering of the satin-finish strap secured to the wrist by a DLC-titanium folding clasp.
Velvet Secret Heart
The Velvet Secret Heart features a blue sunburst dial with Roman numerals in classic Velvet fashion. The bezel is ringed with two rows of brilliant-cut diamonds. Yet the gripping aspect of this watch is its bi-retrograde jumping date, a marvelous feature of the self-winding caliber RD821B, adjusted in five positions. This is the first ever complication to grace the Velvet collection, rendering it a timekeeper of both beauty and technical verve. It comes in a limited edition of just 8 pieces.
Yet, it is only in the Velvet Ribbon where the maison’s gem-setting expertise was staged to full resplendence. Swathed in no less than 631 diamonds, totaling around 53 carats, the ideally sized 38.5mm platinum case of the Velvet Ribbon was redesigned to give way to opulent gemsetting where it did away with the customary lateral lugs and leave only the inimitable central lug highlighted by two perfectly paired and truly exceptional 1-carat F/IF-VVS gems. The inner bezel ring and luminous dial are also fully paved with baguette-cut diamonds creating an entrancing effect further enhanced by the fact that this pristine purity remains unimpeded by the usual hour markers. The Velvet Ribbon is issued in a limited edition of 8 pieces.
Velvet by Massaro
One novelty that incites women to covet it the way she does her shoe collection is the Velvet by Massaro, produced in concert with century-old Parisian shoemaker, Massaro. The model decorated with diamonds, is accompanied by a gilded leather strap handcrafted by the artisans at Massaro. Secured by a white gold adjustable folding clasp set with brilliant-cut diamonds, its golden tone is picked up in the yellow gold barrel-shaped dial centre while its radiating applied hour-markers – including two yellow gold ones at 6 and 12 o’clock – are arranged on a satin sunburst exterior. It is once again powered by the self-winding calibre RD82, delivering a 48-hour power reserve and runs at a limited edition of 88 pieces.