By Roberta Naas Photography by Jeff Crawford Styling by Terry Lewis| January 15, 2015 |
Watches & Jewelry
This season, Chicago watch lovers are uncovering timepieces whose superior craftsmanship is complemented by delightful elements of surprise.
Often referred to as “hidden,” secret watches are an artful blend of ingenious design, meticulous gem setting, precious-metal sculpting, and sensual appeal. Meant to look like bracelets, these jeweled masterpieces feature decorative covers that can be flipped open or moved aside to reveal the dials of the watches. Crafted by some of the finest watchmakers in the world, secret watches date back to the 18th and 19th centuries, when women’s timepieces were designed to double as brooches and pendants. In the first half of the 20th century, the pieces surged in popularity when they were reimagined for the wrist and were embellished with Art Deco designs. Today, secret watches offer breathtaking beauty in myriad styles, with flower and animal motifs among the most popular.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: 1. From Bulgari, this new Serpenti High Jewelry onyx and diamond wraparound watch ($310,000) is crafted in 18k white gold and meticulously set with diamonds. The coil bracelet finishes with a triangular snakehead that lifts to reveal the watch dial. 909 N. Michigan Ave., 312-255-1313
2. This Louis Vuitton Tambour Bijou secret watch ($6,150) is realized in steel for a timepiece that’s both highly stylish and reasonably priced. It features a monogram flower cover set with diamonds. 919 N. Michigan Ave., 312-944-2010
3. Cartier has unveiled this whimsical 18k gold Tortue secret watch ($97,000), which is designed to resemble a turtle. It is adorned with diamonds, and green sapphires dot the turtle’s eyes. A large faceted morganite gemstone serves as the dial cover and the turtle’s shell. 630 N. Michigan Ave., 312-266-7440
4. From Chanel, this Camélia Gansé watch ($252,000) is created in 18k white gold and set with approximately 16 carats of marquise- and brilliant-cut diamonds and black spinels. By appointment only at Neiman Marcus, 737 N. Michigan Ave., 312-642-5900