Every year it’s the same old story in the run-up to Valentine’s Day: finding the gift that will please that special someone in your life – and more often than not that means picking out a present for a woman. This despite the fact that people regularly grumble about Valentine’s Day being just a commercial gimmick, merely an excuse to talk about a brand or a product… While all that may be true, the pleasure on a woman’s face when she opens the gift box is definitely genuine.
So what might one hope to find in this velvet-lined box on February 14th?
For a first option, let’s travel back in time to 1935, when Van Cleef & Arpels launched its first Cadenas (padlock) watch, a timepiece that became a symbol of femininity over the years thanks to its sloping dial that enabled only the person wearing it to tell the time. This year, Van Cleef & Arpels has revisited its Cadenas watch by redesigning the dial in such a way as to make the time more visible. The diamond setting on the case is a gem of craftsmanship in itself and makes a perfect match with the understated gold bracelet. This padlock watch is a powerful symbol of union, featuring a new clasp that now leaves space for personalising it with a secret message.
As far as Gabrielle Chanel was concerned, there was no real point in knowing the time, at least not with any degree of exactness. But this did not stop Chanel from introducing its first watch in 1987, simply called Première. Its octagonal case, inspired by the shape of Place Vendôme in Paris as well as the stopper of the legendary N°5 fragrance, is now interpreted in a model that makes an appealing second Valentine’s Day option. Available in a 1,000-piece limited edition dubbed Première Rock by Chanel, it features the signature ‘two hands and no numerals’ on a white mother-of-pearl dial and comes on a steel chain bracelet interwoven with pastel-coloured leather and wrapping three times around the wrist. A rock’n’roll variation on a classic model that is bound to please.
After these classic and then rock’n’roll options comes the turn of a modern watch. If one were to choose just one Big Bang from among the countless versions introduced by Hublot, the new Pop Art is certainly worth a closer look. Adorned with green tsavorites or pink sapphires on the bezel, framing a dial set with blue sapphires and flaunting flashy colours painted directly on the hour-markers and the seconds indicator, this Pop Art model extends its Warhol-style colours to a fluorescent pink or green rubber strap with tone-on-tone alligator leather stitched on top.
Finally, there is nothing surprising about the fact that Christophe Claret won the Best Ladies’ High-Mech Watch prize at the 2014 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. Margot is an undeniably feminine model created exclusively for women and admirably marrying mechanical haute horlogerie with exquisite aesthetic appeal. Inspired by the childhood game of “He loves me, he loves me not”, of which the French version is far more sophisticated with “Il m’aime un peu, beaucoup, passionnément, à la folie”, Claret has reconstituted the daisy oracle. The wearer can use the pusher at 2 o’clock to make the petals disappear randomly, revealing the degree of love felt by her man to the sound of a delicate, crystal-clear chime. This high-end mechanical self-winding watch comes in a choice of white or pink gold, with snow or baguette settings, composing four limited series of 20 each.