Nothing is as precious as time, and watchmakers and jewellers often try to emphasise this by adding gems and jewels to their timepieces. Whether it is a lot of shine or just a few sparkles, diamonds, sapphires, rubies and other gemstones liven up a design and catch light in such a way that they command our attention. The latest designs from luxury jewellers and watchmakers prove that, while gemstones are irresistible, more is not always better. Some designs, with just the right touch of light reflection, become instantly irresistible, while others benefit from the allure of an intricate full pavé of gemstones. Examples of the former are the latest timepieces from Chanel and Chaumet. Chanel is constantly reinventing its flagship watch, the J12. What was initially a ceramic timepiece now sees numerous interpretations. From different gem settings to new cases and bracelet materials, the J12 goes through a true metamorphosis this year with the J12 X-ray and the J12 Paradoxe Diamonds. The J12 X-ray has a transparent sapphire case and bracelet, with white baguette diamonds on the bezel and a skeletonised dial to complete the icy look. The J12 Paradoxe Diamonds maintains the J12’s signature black ceramic case and bracelet. White baguette diamonds set along a section of the case and dial on the crown side bring a stark contrast to the otherwise dark silhouette. A manual-winding movement brings life to the X-ray reference while the Paradoxe Diamonds runs on an automatic movement. Piaget, Chaumet and Cartier look to the stars for inspiration Chanel’s Mademoiselle Privé collection of jewellery watches includes a pendant secret watch inspired by Gabrielle Chanel herself. A total of 771 diamonds along with pearls and onyx beads are used to create the Coco Sautoir timepiece. The pendant watch is a bejewelled figurine of the fashion icon, designed to be worn on a long chain. Launched last year, Chaumet’s Boléro watch features classic round curves paired with a gold link bracelet. The French jeweller brings just a hint of sparkle to the dial of the watch, presenting a new reference this year in rose gold with a dial that is void of hourmarkers and covered entirely in diamonds. High-impact gem-setting makes serious mechanical machines like Bulgari’s Serpenti Seduttori even more irresistible. A tourbillon is housed inside this small 22mm x 18mm case; a manual movement with a 40-hour power reserve keeps the piece ticking. The high-complication, high-jewellery creation is encrusted entirely with diamonds; the case and bracelet radiate with 558 diamonds totalling 7.89 carats. Maisons with the capability of injecting fine artisan know-how of gem-making into their timepieces often do so with a stunning effect. Piaget prefers to showcase its goldsmithing and jewel-setting skills when bringing new inspiration to its Limelight collection. The latest high-jewellery reference to join the line is the Limelight Gala Precious. An engraved white gold bracelet is paired with the ombré setting of diamonds and blue sapphires that frame the dial. When secret watches meet high-end jewellery Cartier is launching an entirely new Maillon de Cartier Collection. Described by the maison as a piece of jewellery designed by the watchmaking studio, the timepiece embodies the house’s signature feminine elegance. The dial is aligned on a chain bracelet that evokes the aesthetics of the art deco era. The hexagonal dial is a pleasing compliment to the geometric bracelet links. “We wanted to deconstruct the bracelet and transcend its design through a volume approach. Emotion is in the movement and tension,” says Marie-Laure Cérède, timepieces creation director at Cartier. Available in a range of alloys and gem-settings, the watch takes on a high-impact, high-jewellery look in its full diamond pavé rendition. Another new collection unveiled this year is from Vacheron Constantin. The first new women’s collection from the maison in years, the Égérie takes on a classic round case and is accented with intricate dial details. The collection offers a range of gem-settings and straps. The Égérie Moon Phase Jewellery watch is particularly outstanding. The case, dial and bracelet are fully decorated with diamonds, and a blue moon phase positioned at 2 o’clock anchors the dial visually. A blue central seconds hand brings another point of contrast to the radiating dial. Inside the 37mm case is a self-winding movement with a 40-hour power reserve. In total, 1,345 diamonds with a combined weight of 11.95 carats bring a fiery shine to this high-jewellery design. Van Cleef & Arpels’ watch designs are all about storytelling, and the maison is not afraid of adding sparkle to its fairy tales. Lovers kissing on bridges or taking a stroll in Paris are all scenes that can be found on dials from the house. The iconic Lady Arpels Pont des Amoureux Hiver watch, where the retrograde hours and minutes hands are represented by two lovers, gets a beautiful high jewellery makeover. Van Cleef & Arpels brings full gem-set bracelets to the design, adding to the rich, colourful and sparkling dial and case of the design. Sapphires, diamonds and garnets frame the enamel scene depicted across the dial. Vacheron Constantin unveils its most complicated timepieces yet The smallest mechanical movement when it was first created in 1929, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Calibre 101 continues to claim this title almost a century later. The miniature movement has given the house freedom to create some of the most dainty, elegant and feminine jewellery timepieces. The latest is the 101 Feuille, a slender design that sparkles with an impressive 10.13 carats of brilliant-cut diamonds. The timepiece is a secret watch; its dial is concealed under a decorative leaf motif and only revealed when the leaf is pulled back. Offering a simple reading of the hours and minutes, this watch embodies the best of both watchmaking and jewellery-making. The rainbow bezel continues to be a trend that is seeing an increasing demand. However, watchmakers are now looking at new ways to interpret that gradient look. Hublot has offered its interpretation of the rainbow bezel before, but now it has taken a new approach to the ombre bezel. The Big Bang Unico Sapphire Galaxy’s sapphire crystal case is set with 48 baguette-cut amethysts, and sapphires in a range of pinks and purples, to recreate a look that is said to take inspiration from the galaxy and its stars. The self-winding chronograph movement is housed within a 45mm case. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter . Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. 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