New Time


July 1998

July Feature

New Time

A growing focus on women's watches ranges from high-fashion to high-tech. Here's a look at these and other watch introductions this year

Women who want a bold look to their watch have almost always turned to men's chronographs. Oversized and in myriad colors and designs, men's chronographs have had the run of the three-subdial, two-pusher market.

Until now.

Since Cross Timepieces previewed its Sonoma model (see Professional Jeweler, April 1998, p.76 ), retailer interest in women's chronographs appears to catching up with market demands. Emboldened by a new, smaller ETA chronograph movement, Cross and other leading watch companies have introduced the new size in affordable price ranges. Also new are small perpetual calendar watches – the ultimate in no-fuss timepieces. See Breguet, Seiko and Concord for examples.

At the same time, high-end watch companies – some already offering women's chronographs – are getting in touch with their feminine sides. Girard-Perregaux now has a women's "F" in its fast-moving Ferrari series. Patek Philippe has added a smaller Travel Time complication and Audemars Piguet's new line of women's jewelry parallels its strong watch sales to women.

Assault on Batteries
With Seiko's Kinetic line, Citizen's Eco-Drive and ETA's Autoquartz, this year's debuts feature thinner movements and longer power reserves. SMH's new-generation battery-free quartz movements, for example, are used now by several non-SMH brands.

Speaking of Seiko, the company drew a rare press conference ovation at the Basel Fair in late April with a striking limited-edition Kinetic chronograph that retains power for up to 30 days. Furthermore, its new "spring drive" Kinetic is a technological tour-de-force with a wound spring typically used only in mechanical or automatic watches but that here powers a quartz mechanism.

Citizen's newest Eco-Drive technology includes light-powered watches that operate for up to 16 months on a full charge. Smaller sizes and a diver model (with 60-day reserve) have been added to the Eco-Drive line.

ETA's newest generation battery-free quartz movement (100-day reserve) can now be found in Movado's new Viziomatic and in Ventura's ground-breaking Sparc, which places the movement into a chronometer with the coveted COSC certification for accuracy.

Steel and Ice
Style is not neglected in the wake of these technical attractions.

In Geneva's Salon International de Haute Horlogerie and at Basel, premiers included watch and jewelry ensembles. Think Tiffany, Piaget, Chopard and Cartier. Watch companies such as Audemars Piguet are entering this arena. Echoing other trends found in the jewelry halls at these international trade fairs, interchangeable straps and bracelets were seen in all price ranges.

Patek Philippe, for instance, celebrated the 30th anniversary of its Golden Ellipse with new hand-woven gold bracelet and one model with easily changed pastel leather straps. Hermès debuted "Double Tour" – its own bridle leather strap meant to wrap the fashionable wrist twice. Delance (cover photo, right) offers interchangeable cabochon accents and fine jewelry straps.

Diamonds are a primary addition to a wide range of women's watch lines this year. Diamonds flow from dial to bezel to bracelet on a number of debuts.

Steel, white gold and platinum still enjoy favor in the newest designs. However, yellow or rose gold retains its allure. Baume & Mercier's Catwalk, for example, now purrs in an 18k gold version. After steel, titanium continues to gain favor, especially in many sport model debuts.


Baume & Mercier's Catwalk, the company's ambassador to women's high-fashion, is now available with diamond markers, in a smaller version. Also look for the new 18k Catwalk with or without diamonds, which debuted at SIHH in Geneva. Retail for the steel-and-diamond model shown, $1,600.
Baume & Mercier, New York, NY; (212) 593-0444,

Imperium from Cyma debuted at Basel in two sizes and with screw-down crown and 165 feet of water resistance. Available in two-tone and with diamonds. Retail for all-steel, $675.
Cyma Watch, New York, NY; (212) 695-4270.

 The new S/eL Lady from TAG Heuer features an automatic movement and solid steel case and bracelet with midnight blue dial. Suggested retail, $1,595.
TAG Heuer, Springfield, NJ; (973) 467-1890.

Seiko's groundbreaking perpetual calendar watch, with the smallest ultrasonic motor made, doesn't have to be reset until 2100. Two sizes are available, each with lithium battery and steel construction. Suggested retail, $395 each.
Seiko Corp. of America, Mahwah, NJ; (800) 782-2510,

Serena from Bertolucci is designed for young women with colorful outlooks. The crocodile strap fits into a cambered steel case with a graceful curve. A rainbow of colors is available. Retail, $1,350.
Bertolucci, Swiss Primetime Inc., Rutherford, NJ; (201) 507-4400.

Sporting the new Oris Full Steel case and bracelet, this COSC chronometer has a double-sided antireflective crystal, red small seconds dial and 330 feet of water resistance.
Oris USA, Hawthorne, NY; (914) 347-ORIS,

The new Tissot PR 200 features the battery-free Autoquartz movement, stainless steel case, screw-down crown and 660 feet of water resistance. Operates up to 100 days without being worn.
Tissot, Weehawken, NJ; (800) 284-7768.

Wrap it twice with the Hermès Double Tour, a bridle leather strap in brown or black that fits the company's Cape Cod and Clipper watches.
Hermès Watch Co., San Francisco, CA; (800) 757-7555.

The 650 Chrono Lady from Sector is made of solid steel and has sapphire crystal with date and 990 feet of water resistance. Shown in two-tone, also made in yellow and blue. Suggested retail, $895.
Sector Sports Watches, New York, NY; (212) 486-6812,

The "F" watch offers women their first driver's seat in Girard-Perregaux's Ferrari line. Automatic movement and screw-down crown complement the 18k gold case and bracelet in this diamond-bezeled version. Also made in steel and with various dials. Suggested retail, $16,950.
Girard-Perregaux, Swiss Primetime Inc., Rutherford, NJ; (201) 507-4400.

From Philippe Charriol, this new women's Columbus Manchette is all-steel with a showpiece crown. Dials are available in pink or white mother-of-pearl, silverplate or black.
Philippe Charriol USA, La Jolla, CA; (619) 454-0011,

Concord's new Impresario men's collection includes this Reserve de Marche COSC-certified chronometer. It's available in 18k rose gold (pictured) or stainless steel with sapphire crystal case back.
Concord Watch Co., Lyndhurst, NJ; (201) 460-3331,

New to its Les Historiques collection, this men's Vacheron Constantin is 18k white gold with automatic movement, blue dial with guilloche finish in center.
Vacheron Constantin, New York, NY; (212) 713-0707.


Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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