The use of floral aesthetics in watchmaking is hardly a modern invention and yet the simple flower is used time and again as an aesthetic marker for ever more intricate ways to blend the art of timekeeping with various crafts such as gem-setting and metal work.
This year, Van Cleef & Arpels revealed not one bloom but a veritable flowerbed of horological stems in Le Jardin Van Cleef & Arpels, a collection of secret watches that feature garden variety creations such as daisies, forget-me-nots and dandelions. Showcasing in-house skill and dazzling gems, the Dandelion Secret watch is presented in the form of a torque bracelet, with each end of the piece conveying the dual nature of the flower that can be both as delicate as a wisp of air and as bold as the sun itself. White and yellow diamonds are used to house a tiny 10mm dial in yellow gold, whilst a diamond sphere employs a trembleuse mechanism to depict the dandelion’s ball of seeds that seemingly quiver in the breeze.
Whilst some dainty watches call for the mastery of precious stones to take centre stage, some allow both métiers d’art and mechanical prowess to share the spotlight. The MasterGraff Floral Tourbillon has a mother-of-pearl dial that is adorned with enamel flowers that are created using an ancient and challenging process. Each one is hand cut from white gold before an artist treats and paints every petal. The timepiece houses a manually-wound tourbillon movement at 5 o’clock with a 68 hour power reserve.
Christophe Claret combines both romantic and floral inspiration in the form of the Margot watch, which houses a charming complication that allows its wearer to figuratively embark on a game of ‘he loves me, he loves me not’, traditionally played by picking the petals off a daisy. A simple press of the pusher at 2 o’clock activates the watch as with each push, petals disappear and a variety of messages appear in the window at 4’o clock, revealing the answer to the eternal question ‘does he love me?’ To avoid disappointment we recommend opting for the French version of the watch as it allows for more variance in response: Un peu (a little) – beaucoup (a lot) – passionnément (passionately) – à la folie (madly) – pas du tout (not at all)? The English version is all or nothing: he loves me, he loves me not.