Atalisman of wisdom, power and protection, turquoise has been a favourite the world over for over 7,000 years. Originally sourced from Iran, today the copper-rich mines of the American south-west produce the most sought-after stones.
Piaget’s 1960s timepieces with hardstone dials were quickly adopted by the bold and the beautiful, from Jackie Kennedy to Elizabeth Taylor. The house’s current collection offers several takes on turquoise, including a Possession watch, with signature rotating bezel, in a 29mm rose-gold case set with 42 brilliant-cut diamonds.
Drawing on 240 years of jewellery and watchmaking expertise, Chaumet’s tiny Hortensia Eden has a turquoise dial framed by a pink-gold case and a bezel of brilliant-cut diamonds and floral motifs. The theme continues with a hydrangea engraving on the caseback and a petal buckle on the satin strap.
Dior’s Grand Bal collection has brought the magic of haute couture to horology since it first swished on to the scene in 2012. Over the years, the dial-mounted winding rotor has been decorated with thread, gems and feathers, waltzing around the watch face like a pirouetting dancer. This year sees a 36mm Grand Bal Plume with turquoise dial, black-feather trim and denim strap.
Rolex has experimented with hardstones for decades, and 2019 saw variants including a turquoise-dial Day-Date 36 with yellow-gold case, its bezel, indexes and hour markers set with diamonds. As its name suggests, the self-winding watch has dial apertures showing the date and day, written in full.
Moritz Grossmann’s insomnia-inspired beauty
Individual, bespoke and custom-made are the biggest asks in high-end watchmaking, leading to an increase in partnerships between major houses and specialist artisans. One recent example saw a collaboration between German timepiece manufacture Moritz Grossmann and Singaporean jewellery designer Michael Koh, famed for creating sculptural forms to house precious stones.
Inspired by the classical lines of Grossmann’s Tefnut 36, Koh reworked the architecture of the watch entirely, completing his design in one sleepless night. As a wry nod to this insomnia, the resulting timepiece was christened Sleeping Beauty.
A gold case houses a harmonious blend of asymmetrical elements including a diamond-set bezel surrounding a crescent of mother-of-pearl that decreases in thickness as it travels around the dial. An off-centre guilloché pattern is punctuated by a large moon motif and a small-seconds dial, while the delicate lugs are attached only on the left side.
The unusual layout proved so popular that last year a 1,001 Nights edition was introduced, and 2019 sees both models offered on a fine Milanese bracelet.