Imbued with a blend of fantasy, poetry and delicacy, the watches featuring animal-themed dials mostly target women. This year, the creatures seen at Baselworld were more than ever of the winged variety.
At Delaneau, the butterfly is at the epicentre of the Rondo Butterfly Wings, although one never sees it in its entirety. Its delicate yellow, powdery grand feu cloisonné enamel wings only occupy one side of the dial, providing an enigmatic discrepancy.
At Graff, the graceful lepidopteran is stylised and made of rubies, sapphire and diamonds, laid on the bezel of a Classic Butterfly.
The swallows on the Camelia Coromandel are drawn from one of the lacquer screens which belonged to Coco Chanel herself. They recurrently inspire the brand, which in this instance proposes two gold and yellow diamond birds on an onyx background.
As the direct counterpart of the sky, the depths of the ocean are also a great source of inspiration. At Bulgari, startling blue seas are crossed by brightly coloured fish. The technical mastery and the gaiety of the Roman company’s colours explode against the tourbillon backdrop in the Il Giardino Marino collection.
Boucheron also powerfully alludes to this milieu with the most enigmatic in the Epure d’Art series: its gold and sapphire dial is a precious reproduction of a sea urchin shell … without the spines.
The bestiary theme does not however address an exclusively feminine audience. It also has a number of masculine applications. Everything depends on the animal and how it is dealt with. Consequently, the horse is positioned on both sides of the gender line. As this year’s star of the Chinese calendar, it is the subject of a number of interpretations as is always the case with this pet theme among clients from the Middle Kingdom.
The Pegasus that Vulcain has chosen to adorn its most recent Cloisonné model (whose very name indicates the enamel technique selected to make it) is resolutely virile.
And what can be said about the gargoyles of Notre Dame Cathedral that Patek Philippe has placed on its “Rare Handcrafts” watches? Hybrid, mystical creatures, these are lucky charms designed to keep the Evil Spirit away from both men and women alike.