The primary function of a watch is to tell the time. But, sometimes, however briefly, it is fun to let time take a backseat, giving way to exquisite beauty. Secret watches, as their name suggests, hide time in an elegant manner. The dial is obscured behind a bejewelled cover, the beauty of which surpasses all expectations.
Secret watches embody the expertise of fine watchmaking as well as savoir-faire in the art of jewellery making on the part of watch maisons. To make a secret watch requires and calls upon the skills of the entire range of a Haute Joaillerie team: designers, wax-sculpting jewellery makers, lapidaries, jewellers, gem-setters, polisher, engravers and so on. This seamless and complementary interaction between various talents results in astonishing splendour.
‘Secret’ timepieces carry a hint of nostalgia. After all, they remind one of an era long gone by, when people did not blatantly look at the watch. It was considered bad manners to do so! They occasionally peeked at the time without being noticed.
Modern secret watches tease the wearer. It could be a watch, a bracelet or a bejewelled accessory depending on the mood of the wearer. And, it is almost always adorned with preciousness in materials and the skills that go into it’s making. No wonder, they are eternal favourites.
Read on to discover some curated favourites…
Khépri à Secret
A precious insect…that’s sure to make hearts flutter! A secret mechanism releases a movement that sets the piece in motion, opening up the wings to reveal the dial. The finest craftsmen have brought this beautiful creation to life. The double gadroon formed by a set ruby cabochon and sculpted mother-of-pearl gives this pretty winged creation an iconic Boucheron motif. The entire arrangement embroils a stunning take on light and transparency thanks to the arrangement of the precious stones.
Montre Tortue secrète de Cartier watch, morganite version
This extraordinary piece has a case in rhodium-plated white gold set with a morganite and brilliant-cut diamonds, with eyes set with sapphires. The dial is translucent, lacquered with silvered flinqué and has a brilliant-cut diamond hour marker and hands in rhodium-plated steel. The strap in white brushed calfskin sits comfortably on the wrist. The precious turtle adds a magnificent touch to the wrist!
This all-diamond ‘secret’ watch has the dial hidden beneath a dazzling hedgehog encrusted with moonstone spikes. Cut into delicate spikes of varying heights by the lapidaries of the Haute Joaillerie ateliers, the extremely delicate moonstones required the dexterity, expertise and talent of the gifted artisans to create the spherical body of the hedgehog with it sample volume. The head, set fully in diamonds, is embellished with two sapphires, giving it a strikingly radiant gaze. Meanwhile, its mischievous snout set with brown sapphires hides a well-guarded secret – touching it transforms this piece of jewellery into a watch.
Rendez-Vous Ivy Secret, in full evening dress
The ivy motif is a firm favourite in the field of creative design. On the slightly domed cover, three types of diamond – brilliant, baguette and marquise cut – outline the shape of a flower that the glass appears to have captured and frozen in endless beauty. Wearing the watch becomes an experience in itself, involving a distinct sense that each move of the wrist makes the watch catch fire and appear to be infused with a life of its own as soon as it catches even the smallest ray of light. The cover half opens to allow a glimpse of the time on the dial.
Can you keep a secret?
~ By Dhanishta Shah