The Best Metiers d’art Masterpieces Unveiled at Watches and Wonders 2024

Nine ultra-limited watches showcase rare and technically demanding decorative crafts ranging from marquetry to enamelling to gold sculpting.
by Yanni Tan

Photos: Hermes, Louis Moinet

1. Patek Philippe 5089G-129 Morning on the Beach

Photo: Patek Philippe

The master of traditional watchmaking surprises with a Calatrava depicting the scene of a surfer on a California beach. The ancient craft of wood marquetry on the dial brings to life the modern sport through 100 tiny veneer parts and 75 microscopic inlays, altogether spanning 23 species of wood of different colours, textures, and veining. Endowed with the caliber 240 ultra-thin self-winding movements, this 38.6mm white gold watch is made in a limited edition of 10.

2. Louis Moinet Around The World In 8 Days: Singapore

Photo: Louis Moinet

This 40.7 mm red gold watch interprets our distinctive city skyline, consisting of attractions like Marina Bay Sands and the Supertree Grove, in stunning minutiae. It is part of a collection of eight artistic watches paying tribute to dynamic metropolises. It flaunts hand-painted relief decoration mounted on a straw marquetry backdrop, evoking blazing sunrays. Nestled in an off-centre cage on the dial is a double-barrelled flying tourbillon movement.

3. Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Jour Enchante

Photo: Van Cleef & Arpels

From a maison whose identity is inextricably linked to the decorative arts comes this 41mm white gold watch. It portrays an idyllic scene where the house’s emblematic fairy picks flowers in the early morning light. Multiple techniques are showcased here, from plique-a-jour enamelling for her wings and faconne enamelling for the backdrop to gold sculpting, lifted setting, and the expert assembly of pink and yellow sapphires, spessartite garnets, diamonds, and turquoise.

4. Chanel J12 Couture Workshop Automaton Caliber 6

Photo: Chanel

No historical female fashion personality is as revolutionary as Coco Chanel, a self-made haute couture designer who popularised pearls and pants, among other things. Immortalised on this 38mm white gold timepiece, her likeness is crafted in decal, along with her Rue Cambon atelier, scissors, and dummy bust — all articulated on five levels. Thanks to a new proprietary automaton movement, the baguette diamond-encircled scene springs to life in a heartbeat.

5. Cartier Crocodile Jewelry Métiers d’Art Enamel

Photo: Cartier

Exoticism, strength, and grace are personified on a sculpted crocodile, an icon from Cartier’s bestiary of wild creatures. This white gold watch is ancestral craftsmanship, presenting the lifelike reptile floating on water as portrayed by a voluminous case and dial. Crafted with marquetry of shimmering chromatic enamel pieces, white mother-of-pearl, blue sapphires, and brilliant-cut diamonds, this piece is complemented by two alluring blue straps.

6. Hermes Arceau Chorus Stellarum

Photo: Hermes

This 41mm model with a diamond-set bezel is interpreted from a silk scarf by Japanese illustrator Daiske Nomura. Celebrating Hermes’ equestrian heritage and the joyous passing of time, the skeleton rider and her steed are made of hand-engraved and painted gold appliques. Upon activation of the “on-demand impulse animation” via the 9 o’clock pusher, the figure starts to prance around a gilded constellation created by champleve enamelling.

7. Beauregard Ulysse

Photo: Beauregard

The fruit of several years of R&D, the Ulysse is a collaboration between brand founder Alexandre Beauregard and lauded watchmaker Vianney Halter. Inspired by Art Deco and the organic beauty of the marine universe, this 41mm creation features 68 pieces of flawless aquamarines set within intricate rose gold lacework to achieve a stained-glass dial effect. Vianney’s famous mysterious automatic movement takes the watch’s brilliance to the next level.

8. Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Hijri Perpetual Calendar

Photo: Parmigiani

This 42mm watch is the latest miniaturisation of the 2011 Hijri Calendar Table Clock by Michel Parmigiani, who was inspired by the restoration of a pocket watch featuring an Arabic calendar. Envisioning calendars as the mirrors of great civilisations, the brand honours Arabic heritage with this steel model that showcases a viridian green dial decorated with elegant script and hand-finished with a mesmerising Grain d’Orge guilloche pattern.

9. Chopard Imperiale

Photo: Chopard

Mother-of-pearl lapidary, enamel marquetry and gem-setting of diamonds and Padparadscha sapphires harmonise beautifully on the floral dial of this 36mm creation. Channelling feminine dignity associated with imperial empires, this ethical white gold watch also features an exquisite lotus-flower crown and lugs shaped like ancient columns. The in-house 96.17-C movement equipped with Chopard Twin double-barrel technology is visible through the transparent case back.

This story originally published on The Peak Singapore.

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