CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: From Roger Dubuis, this
new Excalibur 36, a 36mm steel watch with
diamonds ($18,900), offers a distinctive,
contemporary appeal. It houses the mechanical
caliber RD821 with 172 parts. The sapphire
caseback reveals the hand-finishing and Cotes de
GenÃ¨ve decoration, and the watch carries the
From Patek Philippe, this Ref. 7071/G Ladies First
Chronograph ($98,000) houses the annually
wound chronograph caliber CH29-535PS. It is
crafted in 18k white gold with a blue dial
surrounded by 116 diamonds set on the flange,
beneath the sapphire crystal.
This automatic Blancpain Complete Calendar
($18,700) offers moon phases, small seconds, and
100 hours of power reserve. Crafted in stainless
steel, the watch features a sapphire crystal
caseback for viewing the movement and a bezel
set with about 1.92 carats of diamonds.
The face of Patek Philippe's Ref. 7071/G
Ladies First Chronograph contains 116 full cut round diamonds.
Roger Dubuis's Excalibur 36 offers a 48-hour
power reserve in a stainless case featuring a 48-diamond bezel.
Savvy women expect more than just a pretty face when it comes to what they wear on their wrists. Fresh off the heels of this year’s BaselWorld, the category of automatic and mechanical watches, once reserved for men, is undergoing its own women’s liberation movement.
Not reliant on battery power, mechanical watches come in two categories: hand-wound and automatic. With a wind watch, turning the crown transmits energy to the main spring, where it is stored. As the wound spring uncoils, it releases the energy necessary to activate movement in the gear train and causes the watch to tick. An automatic watch is fitted with a rotor that allows the timepiece to wind itself, when the wearer moves her wrist and the rotor or oscillating weight spins.
Typically, mechanical calibers are hand-assembled from hundreds of tiny parts to form a horological marvel that keeps time in perfect harmony. The movements are often elegantly finished with engraving and detailing that is visible via a transparent caseback.
These highly engineered timepieces feature such functions as calendars, moon phases, and chronographs. The Roger Dubuis Excalibur 36, for example, offers classic craftsmanship within a beautiful case that is popular here. “The combination of form and function offers an incredible keepsake with a style that transcends time and trends,” says Gianfranco D’Attis, president of Roger Dubuis North America.
“We have been improving the ladies’ line,” says Thierry Stern, president of Patek Philippe Worldwide, which has been creating women’s mechanical watches for more than a century and a half. “Even though we have a lot to offer women, our female clients have been requesting something more complicated. Now we can deliver that.” Stern’s wife, Sandrine, is head of the design division and is bringing a woman’s eye and touch to the newest ladies’ complex mechanical watches.
Similarly, Blancpain has been dedicated to building a key collection of women’s mechanical timepieces, focusing on alluring, modern designs and functions that run the gamut from complete calendars to the just-unveiled grande date chronographs. All of its calibers are built in-house.