Hearts of stone
Diamonds seem to be making the news at the moment. A rare pink diamond, the Martian Pink, sold for US$17.4 million at Christie's Hong Kong last month. Diamonds Are Forever, the best James Bond film, has recently been re-released on Blu-ray, so now the picture is as sharp as Sean Connery's one-liners. And try as we all might, we just can't escape news of Queen Elizabeth's diamond jubilee this month.
Perhaps the time is right to consider a diamond watch. Now, high-jewellery watches aren't every man's cup of tea, and, truth be told, it is difficult to balance the need to remain masculine, show off the gems and make things work aesthetically. However, what most men don't realise is there is a wide variety of diamond watches on offer, chief among the surprises is the Hublot Big Bang All Black Carat (far right). Yes, this is a high-jewellery watch and yes, those are black diamonds. The timepiece has the iconic and very manly 44mm case, which comes in black ceramic. The stones, 48 baguette diamonds at 2.8 carats in total, are set in an 18-carat white-gold bezel that has been coated in black PVD. The focus of the watch, which has a black rubber strap, is obviously the black diamonds and the menacing all-black colour scheme but the timepiece also has a chronograph function and is water resistant to 100 metres. The Hublot Big Bang All Black Carat is priced at HK$572,000.
From the masculine we go to the flamboyant, with the Backes & Strauss Regent Diamond Knight (left). Venerable London jeweller Backes & Strauss has delved into its centuries-old history to produce this timepiece, inspired by the splendour of the Regency period. The watch is Swiss-made, with a case of steel, which compli-cates the process of setting of the diamonds - one scratch and the whole thing is ruined. The size of the black PVD steel case is a rather hefty 44mm by 52mm so this isn't a watch for slim wrists. The case is set with 140 ideal-cut round brilliant diamonds of 5.5 carats and a single 0.12 carat diamond tops the crown. The dial design is bold with elongated Roman numerals and there is a similarly eccentric strap made of alligator skin, which presumably comes in more sober colours than the one featured. The Backes & Strauss Regent Diamond Knight is priced at HK$360,000.
A diamond watch that is more a work of art than a humble timepiece is the Rotonde de Cartier Flying Tourbillon (above left). Priced at HK$1.15 million, the watch is for serious collectors of jewellery watches. The timepiece comes in a 40mm, 18-carat white-gold case set with 65 brilliant diamonds of 1.25 carats. The dial face is set with more brilliant diamonds, although how many Cartier isn't saying, but the jewelled surface looks fantastic and plays well with the open-worked tourbillon at the six o'clock position. There are also diamonds on the rim of the crown, which is topped with Cartier's signature blue sapphire. The individually numbered movement is exquisite with the 142 parts inside polished to a high finish, meaning this watch can proudly boast the coveted Geneva Seal.