When Haute Joaillerie and Haute Horlogerie join hands, you can go about completely naked and all eyes will still be fixed exclusively on the blinged up piece of jewelry embellishing your lucky wrist. The art of gem-setting complements the talent of watch-making, giving birth to bombastic watches disguised as diamond bracelets. The larger and brighter they are, the more they will be adored. However, "blinged up" doesn't necessarily mean stuffed with as many diamonds as they could fit in the dial and bezel. In most cases, it stands for the dazzling expression of a diamond cutter's mastery, a technical challenge worth thousands of hours of hard work to enliven fully iced delicious wrist candies.
It is more than a watch. It is a collection of precious diamonds. Is it practical? It does tell you the time, doesn't it? Although, we all know that's not why we buy them. They're only meant to be shown off. There's nothing catchier than everybody's favorite gemstone; diamonds. Mademoiselle Chanel once said that "If I chose diamonds, it is because they represent the greatest value in the smallest volume" and they are without doubt any girl's best friend. They are often boys' too, especially when they come in the form of wristwatches. All High Jewelry watchmakers target high-end buyers, but some have taken their business a step further. All records are meant to be broken, and that's exactly what the following watches are fighting for.
10 Girard-Perregaux Cat's Eye Tourbillon Haute Joaillerie: $500,000
An expression of the successful union between high jewelry and fine watchmaking, Girard-Perregaux's Cat's Eye Tourbillon with Gold Bridge is a dazzling example of fine iced up watches dedicated to women. Over 1,000 snow-set diamonds adorn the masterpiece, a type of setting only a handful of artisans master, in which the setter trusts only his instincts without any drawing, giving birth to a unique creation. Boasting a hand-engraved mother-of-pearl dial, a white gold case adorned with diamonds, with fine oval silhouette, there are over 1,000 brilliant-cut diamonds and one rose-cut diamond for the crown, all bound together by a fine white alligator leather strap.
9 Rolex GMT Master II Mens Diamond Ice Watch: $500,000
The most expensive Rolex ever is completely iced up and shines like a beacon. It might seem a bit pricey, but I can give you a few reasons that will convince you it's all worth it. The 18-karat white gold case is set with diamonds. Its 18-karat white gold bezel is also set with diamonds and guess what? The 18-karat white gold bracelet too is set with diamonds. What more? It boasts a one-of-a-kind diamond wave dial with dot-hour markers, all underneath a scratch resistant sapphire crystal. Plus, it's extremely rare, as the GMT Master II Mens Diamond Ice is a limited edition watch available on special request only. However, Brad Pitt and David Beckham both managed to get their hands on one.
8 Piaget Limelight Party Disco Ball: $540,000
Quite a technical challenge, Piaget Limelight Party Disco Ball is a watchmaking masterpiece reflecting light from all directions, just like a spinning disco ball. A bunch of white gold spheres make up a spectacular faceted ball, inspired by those retro disco balls we all love so much. Each and every 18-karat white gold sphere is individually cut and fitted in by hand, making every watch unique. A 1980's emblem, the secret watch is finely disguised as a bracelet, and it only shows the time when you want it to, as the dial and hands glitter and glow as if they were playing hide and seek with time itself.
7 Cartier Masse Secret Panther Decor: $600,000
A perfectly-poised panther seems trapped inside the round bezel of one of Cartier's most blinged up watches. For all of you who love fine details without missing out on any of the ice, this fine watch depicts feline agility. The three-dimensional panther is secretly linked to the caliber, which makes the sophisticated diamond adorned cat seem to prowl around the deep-black mother-of-pearl dial. A bezel set with multiple rows of diamonds, an 18-karat white gold case set with 633 diamonds weighing 6.8 karats, and the sapphire crystal make the hand wound Swiss watch a perfect choice for any woman who simply wants to shine.
6 Chanel J12 Haute Joaillerie: $700,000
Precisely 597 baguette diamonds are skillfully set in 18-karat white gold. The bracelet links, dial center, and indexes show off black scratch-proof ceramic, which highlights the precious diamonds that make Chanel's J12 Haute Joaillerie fully iced up and ready to be praised. The bracelet, dial, bezel, and case are adorned in over 32 carats of diamonds. It took 1,400 hours just to cut the diamonds, and more than one year to complete the exquisite creation. Made to last an eternity from unalterable and exclusive materials, in the classic black and white, it is an interesting blend between refinement and blinged up details.
5 Vacheron Constantin Kalla Lune: $800,000
A staggering architectural creation that reads seductive elegance all over, Vacheron Constantin Kalla Lune stages a contemporary design with rounded, subtle yet intense shapes. Each diamond had to conform to strict criteria regarding purity, cut and color, the secret behind the watch's sublime harmony. There are 826 baguette-cut diamonds, 23 brilliant-cut diamonds, and one rose-cut diamond for the crown, all weighing a total of 42.61 karats. The 170 baguette-cut diamond paved dial features power reserve and moon phase indicators, all set in 18-karat white gold, boasting 22 rubies, and sophisticated alligator leather strap.
4 Blancpain Tourbillon Diamants: $1.8 Million
Counting 480 diamonds weighing a total of 58 karats decorate this superb example of watchmaking mastery. The luxury timepiece shows off an innovative brick-like arrangement of baguette-cut diamonds dial inside a clear sapphire crystal that makes the precious stones seem to leap out of the case. There are a total of 42 carats of diamonds set in the 18-karat white gold bracelet, and the 40mm white gold water resistant case. The classic round shape, diamond encrusted, full-set dial, and self-winding mens Blancpain Tourbillon Diamants is available only on request.
3 Cartier Secret Watch With Phoenix Decor: $2.7 Million
If you are in search of a one-of-a-kind wristwatch that will undoubtedly turn heads, look no more. Cartier's Secret Watch with Phoenix Decor boasts a dial concealed by a mystic phoenix, the perfect piece of bracelet-like Haute Joaillerie for the red carpet. Embellished by 3,010 brilliant-cut diamonds set in 18-karat rhodium-plated white gold, weighing a total of 80.13 karats, with emeralds as the phoenix's eyes, and one large pear-shaped and portrait-cut 3.53-karat diamond, this exceptional example of watchmaking and fine jewelry transcends time. They say the Phoenix rose from its own ashes, but nobody told us it would be so glamorous.
2 Piaget Emperador Temple: $3.5 Million
Not one, but two hidden watches, each revealed by pushing down on parts and crammed with over 1,200 diamonds can be owned for $3.3 million. The Emperador temple style Haute Horlogerie piece opens up twice to reveal a remarkable work of High Jewelry. There are 481 brilliant-cut diamonds, 207 baguette-cut diamonds, and one emerald-cut diamond, and that's just on the upper case. Open it to reveal a second watch with a tourbillon and a Polynesian mother-of-pearl dial adorned with 162 brilliant-cut diamonds and 11 baguette-cut diamonds. The bracelet alone boasts 350 baguette-cut diamonds. This one-of-a-kind timepiece was sold immediately after it was released and can now be specially commissioned.
1 Hublot's $5 Million Big Bang Watch
In December 2012, magazines went crazy when they found out that Beyonce bought hubby Jay Z a Hublot fully iced watch worth a jaw-dropping $5 million for his 43rd birthday. Unlike other High Jewelry pieces, where the gems have been selected prior to the design, which is then adapted to emphasize the precious stones, Hublot's $5 Million Big Bang began with a concept. The diamond cutters thought of a design, and only then did they begin their search for the best diamonds that could match the case, dial, and bracelet. It took 12 master cutters, five setters, and 14 months of hard work to finish the watch counting a total of 1,282 diamonds weighing over 100 karats. There are six square emerald-cut stones, each over 3 karats, 302 baguette diamonds set in the 18-karat white gold case, 179 baguette diamonds set in the 18-karat white gold dial, each piece carefully chosen to complement the other. Only one has been produced so far, and Jay Z's wrist is the lucky one to wear it.