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Often, luxury watches are described as being excellent everyday companions or performing brilliantly under the most adverse conditions and in extreme situations. But not all luxury watches can do that – and in fact, they don't have to. While the wristwatch is a practical item for everyday use for many people, elaborately designed and extravagant high jewellery watches are primarily designer accessories and fashion statements that add that certain something to an outfit. We'd like to take a look at a number of artistic luxury watches, which fall between the lines of Haute Joaillerie and Haute Horlogerie – or, in other words, high jewellery and fine watchmaking.

What is a jewellery watch?

Luxury watches in between Haute Horlogerie and Haute Joaillerie

If you have ever seen jewellery made of gold or real diamonds, then you know what magical allure these precious materials possess. One becomes fully enveloped in gold's warm embrace and is mesmerized by the colourful sparkle that is triggered when a ray of sunlight refracts in a perfectly cut diamond.

These attributes are unlikely to be found on a rugged tool watch – and one probably wouldn't want that anyway. While these watches are made for many situations away from everyday life, fine jewellery watches should primarily serve as fashionable accessories next to their practical use as timepieces. Featuring unconventional shapes, modern and in some cases playful designs, as well as exclusive materials such as mother-of-pearl or diamonds, jewellery watches are designed to captivate and enchant.

The historical background

Jewellery watches are timepieces whose appearance is shaped by fashion. Artistic design is clearly in focus for this type of timepiece and seemingly more important than the primary function of timekeeping. The first ornate watches were created as early as the 17th and 18th century. At that time, everyday objects such as jewellery boxes, jars and cases for well-to-do people were lavishly decorated and fitted with clock movements to demonstrate their high social status. Due to its excellent reputation in the production of luxurious clocks and enamel artwork, Geneva became the centre for manufacturing jewellery timepieces in the late 18th and early 19th century and was the centre of production for elaborately designed clocks that were, for example, shaped like animals, set with precious stones and pearls, or embellished with guilloché. For the east, decorative pocket watches were manufactured, which featured depictions of western themes, contained musical mechanisms, or were adorned with decorations.

Even today, jewellery watches are still a common sight and are often at first glance mistaken as only mere pieces of jewellery – like an artistically designed bracelet and unreminiscent of a watch. In most cases, it is only upon second glance that their practical use as a timepiece is apparent.

Elegant jewellery watches for women

Since a number of luxury watch manufacturers, for example Chopard and Piaget, also make jewellery, the combination of jewellery and watchmaking is an obvious choice – and has already produced some beautiful pieces. If you are looking for the right women's watch, we'd like to invite you on a little excursion into the world of Haute Joaillerie and feature a few of the most beautiful high jewellery watches for women, which may you wonder whether they are actually timepieces or simply extravagant jewellery.

Jewellery watches by Rado

A master of modern alchemy, cutting-edge ceramics play an important role in the production techniques of the Swiss manufacturer Rado. In keeping with their motto "a watch for a lifetime," the company uses high-tech ceramics to produce extremely robust wristwatches that never seem to lose their lustre. Rado is more than happy to showcase the fact that ceramics are especially beautiful.

  • The Rado Coupole (Ref. R91172208) impressively proves that high jewellery watches can be made of ceramic and cut an extremely fine figure at the same time. The dark blue, convex case seems to blend seamlessly from the case into the dial and is held in place by two diamond-set yellow gold mounts on the bracelet. The bracelet is also made of round, dark blue ceramic plates separated by yellow gold mounts set with diamonds. The watch's primary material is 18-karat yellow gold, on which the ceramic is set and powered by a Swiss quartz movement.

  • If the colour combination of blue and gold isn't that appealing, then check out the Esenza (Ref. R53093722). This watch is made of black ceramic and features a 33 mm oval case with a diamond-set minute track on a jet black dial. This stylish ladies' jewellery watch is equipped with a high-precision quartz movement, proving again that black has earned its place at the table of elegance. The little black dress is capable of appearing stylish and elegant in the form of a watch as well.

Rado Coupole R91172208 jewellery watch in 18-carat yellow gold and blue ceramic with diamonds

Elaborately decorated watches from the Maison Cartier

If the masterful fusion of jewellery and Haute Horlogerie had to be attributed to a single manufacturer, it would probably be Paris-based Maison Cartier. The creative minds behind the fantastic designs know all about beauty and wield the pen of their design concepts like D'Artagnan wields a foil. Even in the simplest of shapes, Cartier knows how to expertly capture and set the scene for pure beauty.

  • The Cartier Déclaration (Ref. 2611) is a prime example of a jewellery watch where function takes a back seat and the watch becomes a fashion accessory and an "it" piece on the wrist. The small square dial is integrated into the bracelet and can be hidden by ten movable rings that individually slide up and down. When the dial is concealed under the rings, more diamonds are visible on the exposed part of the case. A charming women's watch that resembles an elegant bangle, the Cartier Déclaration undoubtedly belongs at the forefront of high jewellery watches, proving how secondary functionality is in favour of aesthetics.

  • Cartier takes one of its most straightforward and classic collections and gives it a modern face with the use of diamonds and white gold in the Tank Americaine (Ref. 2489) A satin watchstrap secures the rectangular white gold case to the wrist, allowing a view of its dial, which is completely set with diamonds. Like a sparkling storm, it mesmerizes its beholders while appearing absolutely modern and suitable for everyday wear.

  • In another version, the Tank Americaine (Ref. 2489), Cartier manages to walk the tightrope between jewellery and watchmaking. This model is also a high jewellery quartz watch for ladies featuring a case diameter of 19 mm. Unlike the aforementioned model, however, Cartier has gone all out. The white dial with Roman numeral hour markers offers timeless, classical style and is surrounded by countless diamonds that decorate the entire case and bracelet making this Cartier watch a small work of art.

Rectangular Cartier Tank Americaine 2489 ladies' watch set with diamonds

Diamond-set wristwatches by Chopard

Another icon in the world of Haute Horlogerie and Haute Joaillerie is Chopard. Hollywood elites and czars have placed their trust in the craftsmanship of this Swiss manufacturer, which has made a name for itself in particular with its chronographs and floating diamonds.

  • Chopard has recognized the magical allure of diamonds and employs them brilliantly with the Happy Diamonds (Ref. 209426-1001). A deceptive floating case is framed by a white gold band, which allows loose, individual diamonds to seemingly dance around the case. Two more diamonds on the exterior of the case at 6 and 12 o'clock punctuate the junction with the elegant leather strap. This fashionable jewellery watch offers a real eye-catcher.

  • Do you prefer yellow gold? Then Chopard provides a particularly exceptional model in the La Strada (Ref. 416543-0001). A three-row bracelet made of yellow gold secures an 18 mm case to the wrist. The middle links of the bracelet are adorned with enchanting diamonds, making the La Strada look more like an elegant bangle.

High jewellery watches by Chanel

Much like Cartier, Chanel excels when it comes to creating highlights in the world of fashion. Alongside creations for the runway and appearances on the red carpet, Chanel knows how to cause a sensation on the wrist as well. Check out these impressively designed wristwatches that are hard to beat as far as their classic elegance is concerned.

  • First, let's look at the Chanel Premiere (Ref. H2146) with its petite case measuring 19.5 mm in diameter combined with an even more delicate bracelet. The octagonal case is bordered by diamonds on the bezel, which frame a white dial without hour markers. To complement this, the bracelet is made of white links, which are also outlined by diamonds. With this watch, you are sure to make a stylish impression.

  • The Chanel Camélia (Ref. J11460) women's watch captivates with its unusual design and pure beauty. The 18-karat white gold case is shaped like a camellia blossom and is set with sparkling diamonds. In the blossom's centre, there is a small black dial with understated baton hands. One special highlight is the flower-shaped lid, which is also set with diamonds and allows the dial to be concealed. A testament to modern craftsmanship, this camellia-themed jewellery watch is a truly exceptional wristwatch that can be transformed in an instant into a stunning accessory on a satin strap without any clue as to its functionality as a watch thanks to the attached diamond flower.

  • Chanel seems to have captured the charm of the roaring 20s with the Mademoiselle (Ref. H0007). A square, yellow gold case featuring a white dial and Roman numeral hour markers is secured to the wrist by a delicate bracelet made of five gold strings set with pearls. Enjoy a piece of the glamorous 20s on your wrist with this gold jewellery watch by Chanel!

Yellow gold Chanel Mademoiselle H0007 quartz watch with five row pearl bracelet and white dial

Extravagance from Bvlgari

One of the oldest Italian jewellers as well as one of the largest jewellery manufacturers in the world, Bvlgari surrounds in an aura of pure luxury. The Italian manufacturer's ornately designed wristwatches are particularly fascinating – and just as impressive as their extravagant creations in the world of jewellery – bringing with them their very own charm.

  • As seductive as the snake in the Garden of Eden, the Bvlgari Tubogas Serpente (Cal. 645) coils itself around its wearer's wrist several times. Flexible bracelet links made of yellow gold allow this model to individually conform to different wrists and forearms. The head of the snake is the Tubogas Serpente's watch case and shows the time on a black dial with gold baton indices. This unique timepiece provides you with a classy accessory that is guaranteed to draw attention.

  • Bvlgari also offers an alternative to the yellow gold Tubogas Serpente with the Serpenti (Ref. 101817). This model features a stainless steel bracelet and case, a white dial, as well as Roman numeral hour markers at 6 and 12 o'clock. This watch also stands out with its snake-like look, but it is a bit more understated with a slightly shorter bracelet than the previous model. However, this jewellery watch still ensures a "wow" effect.

Elegant watches by Vacheron Constantin

As part of the "Holy Trinity" the Swiss manufacturer Vacheron Constantin is one of the most renowned brands in the watch industry. Traditional craftsmanship and the finest quality converge in Vacheron Constantin's timepieces, proving time and again this watchmaker's talent.

  • With a Vacheron Constantin Vintage Cal. 1430 on your wrist, you are sure to draw the attention of your peers. A 24 mm yellow gold case is fastened to the wrist with a black leather strap. The main attraction of this watch is that the case and dial are completely set with brilliant-cut diamonds. Driven by a hand-wound calibre, the golden sword hands move accurately across a sparkling dial. Dating back to 1979, this timepiece is not only a fine jewellery wristwatch, but a true, vintage fashion statement.

  • The Ladies 1430 is equally as breathtaking and also powered by the Caliber 1430 manual winding. This model features a fairly oval case with sword hands on the dial as well, but this watch is made of white gold. The bracelet is made of five rows in a braided look that is reminiscent of modern Milanese bracelets. However, the main highlight of the watch is the bezel, which looks like a crown thanks to its set of brilliant-cut diamonds.

White Gold Vacheron Constantin Ladies 1430 jewellery watch with diamond bezel and braided white gold bracelet

High jewellery watches from Longines

As one of the world's oldest watch manufacturers, Longines has stood firmly behind the company motto "Elegance is an attitude" from the very beginning. The brand's collections are designed in keeping with this philosophy. From sporty diving watches to ornate women's watches and elegant pocket watches, Longines' product range offers the finest quality at affordable prices.

  • As its name suggests, the Longines Prestige Gold (Ref. L4. features a 21 mm case and slender bracelet made of solid yellow gold. A bezel set with diamonds encloses a mother of pearl dial with gold hands. With this golden women's jewellery watch by Longines, you'll always make a great impression – no matter whether in the office or at an evening event.

  • If the Longines Prestige is appealing to you, but gold doesn't quite fit into your collection of jewellery, then take a look at the Symphonette (Ref. L2.304.0.87.6). A slim, steel oval case with a diameter of only 16 mm is fitted to the wrist with a slim, five-link stainless steel bracelet. This watch model also features a bezel set with diamonds and a mother-of-pearl dial. Wear a fine jewellery watch of the highest quality with this elegant women's watch from 2016.

Jewellery watches with high fashion design

When the aesthetics of a luxury watch are the primary concern and functionality and everyday practicality are secondary, you can assume that not only watchmakers, but also jewellers will have their hand in the game. It is precisely this type of collaboration that occasionally results in veritable works of art that are more than a mere wristwatch. If you haven't found the right model for you, please feel free to browse the Watchmaster online shop for even more models of women's jewellery watches – new, pre-owned watches are being added to our collection regularly.

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