When we want to check the time these days, we tend to look at our phones rather than our wrists. And yet the appeal of luxury watches is undiminished.
In the age of the mobile phone, a traditional man's wristwatch, with its face, hands and intricate system of cogs and levers, might seem redundant--an obsolete throwback to an earlier age. But luxury watches still hold enormous appeal.
They say something about the wearer. Manufacturers report a surge in interest in personalized watches, with individual engravings and even miniature paintings adorning their faces. And they are constantly experimenting with materials--titanium and steel, ceramic and carbon, sapphires and gold. Here, Cartier, Piaget and Omega, three of the world's leading watchmakers, display some of their finest pieces.
In the early 20th century, Britain's Edward VII described Cartier as "the jeweler of kings" and the company has been living up to its reputation ever since. Its Santos, Tank and Ballon Bleu watches are iconic. The firm was founded in Paris in 1847 and is still headquartered there.
The Drive de Cartier Flying Tourbillon
The Drive de Cartier Flying Tourbillon boasts an 18-karat pink gold case, a faceted crown set with a sapphire cabochon, a white galvanized engraved dial and sword-shaped hands. The brown alligator skin strap comes with an 18-karat gold buckle. The watch's movement is made up of an astonishing 142 separate parts including 19 jewels. The watch is water resistant to 100 feet.This masterly example of Cartier craftsmanship will set you back a cool $89,500, excluding sales tax.
The Drive de Cartier second time zone day/ night watch
If your budget doesn't stretch to the Flying Tourbillon, you might consider the Drive de Cartier second time zone day/night watch, retailing for $22,700. With a specially designed self-winding mechanical movement, the watch boasts an octagonal 18-karat pink gold crown set with a faceted sapphire. The date indicator is set at 12 o'clock, a second time zone at 10 o'clock, and a seconds indicator at 6 o'clock. Water resistant to 100 feet.
Founded in the Swiss mountain village of La Cote-aux-Fees in 1874, Piaget has grown into one of the world's leading manufacturers of quality timepieces. In 1979, the company launched the Piaget Polo, one of the most emblematic luxury men's watches of the age.
The Piaget Polo S collection