Professional Jeweler Archive: Eye Catchers

May 2001


Eye Catchers

Latest debuts showcase the art and science of pure watchmaking

There’s no race for the longest power reserve this year. That technical focus unfolded in 2000 and gives way to a wider but milder variety of advancements this year. As timepieces debut at major shows in Basel and Geneva, many manufacturers eye the age-old goal of greater accuracy. Others look to develop interesting case shapes or seek innovative gem-setting techniques.

There also seems to be more emphasis on the tenets of classic watchmaking – innovation that’s also wearable art. Among this year’s debuts, beauty is rarely sacrificed for the technical, nor is the reverse overwhelming in most sectors. Among jewelry timepieces, new designs place a spectrum of gems into bezels and onto cases, injecting new hues (often black diamonds) to build a new category that complements the classic white diamond brilliance.

Large date models and see-through case backs continue to draw consumers. With automatics and manuals regaining popularity, the temptation to draw attention to the movement inside the case also inspires the latest designs.

With growing demand for large date cut-outs on the dial, several debuts go to the next step – adding peek-a-boo dials or clear case backs. In these watches, the beauty of a decorated automatic or manual movement can be displayed to owner and peers.

Next month we’ll continue to look at trends seen at the Swiss watch shows. Here are just a few models that display their inner selves.

– by Michael Thompson

Designer Marc Newson created Ikepod and its signature case. This year it houses a tourbillon for the first time. Made in steel or limited-edition 18k gold with platinum, it has a dial with three-dimensional optical effect and an opening through which to see the tourbillon.

Ikepod, New York, (212) 688-4500,

Master watchmaker François-Paul Journe places his patented chronometer movement in a platinum or 18k case. The 120-hour power reserve is indicated on the dial. From the open back, you see a 22k gold rotor.

Wings of Time, Miami Beach, FL; (888) 307-7887.

Dubey & Schaldenbrand places a vintage manual movement inside the Aerodyn Jump Hour. On the back, the heart of the movement is seen through the final 0 in 2000, the year the watch was designed. Three hundred are made in steel and 100 in 18k pink gold.

PK Time, Miami Beach, FL; (305) 672-7272.

Jaeger-LeCoultre has made 500 of these large Reverso models in platinum and with a skeleton manual movement.

Jaeger-LeCoultre, New York, (212) 308-2525.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications