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The Best Ladies’ Watches of 2012

This year at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, fabulous watches from the world over were displayed, judged and, for the best of them, rewarded. There are several categories of awards in the competition, including an award for ladies’ watches. While it seems like circular watches were really in this year, there are a couple of other models that were definitely worthy of mention.

The winner of the prize for Ladies’ Watch this year was Chanel, with the Premiere Flying Tourbillon. This lovely piece has an opening to show off the flying tourbillon cage inside, which is made from metallic camellia petals with a cluster of diamonds in the middle. The dial is black and a little bit glossy, with no numerals to mark the hours. The case is nearly rectangular, though blunted corners make it more of an octagon. Diamonds adorn the case and crown as well as the tourbillon cage. It’s a beautiful watch with a very complex movement.

Harry Winston’s Premier Feathers is another watch with some rather exciting stuff going on with it. With this timepiece, the firm has revived the antique and nearly forgotten art of feather marquetry. With a dial made of peacock feathers and a bezel crusted with diamonds, this watch is really a sight to see. Unfortunately, however, the movement inside is quartz rather than mechanical, a real disappointment. Still, the watch has a great deal of appeal.

Dior also made use of feathers on its VIII Grand Bal. Here, instead of using them to create the dial, they attached them to the oscillating weight of an inverse caliber, which has its oscillating weight on the dial. The dial and bezel are white mother-of-pearl, and the pink feathers look splendid moving across this background, almost like an old-fashioned dress. There are diamonds around the bezel and in the middle of the watch.

One very interesting ladies watch was the Roger Dubuis Velvet Amethysts and Spinels. Its black PVD titanium case provides the perfect backdrop for the amethysts that decorate the bezel and the tall, thin Roman numerals outlined in bright purple. Overall, the look of this watch is stunning.

The Ralph Lauren Link Rose Gold is another great ladies’ watch that was in the competition. It’s got a chain made of big round links of rose gold, and the stirrup-shaped case is also rose gold. Ralph Lauren is known for using horse or riding motifs in many of their creations, from watches to the famous Polo shirts. Its RL430 movement is hand-wound and has a power supply of up to 40 hours.

Another major watch in the competition with a slightly equestrian style is the Hermes Arceau Ecuyère Anniversary Piece. It also has a stirrup shape, but in this case it’s only the lugs, rather than the whole case, that have that look. The brown alligator skin strap adds to this appearance and gives just a slight hint of ruggedness to the watch, even with diamonds crusting the bezel and lugs. The dial is mother-of-pearl and has a sub-dial at six o’clock for small seconds.

Van Cleef & Arpels had an excellent watch ladies’ watch this year. A part of the Poetic Wish Pair, this watch’s entire dial is a scene in Paris. A figure of a girl walking and the kite she is flying are the indicators that tell the time. The kite moves along a cloud with markers on it for every 15 minutes. The space that the girl walks on, which appears to be a part of the Eiffel Tower, has hour marks, with numerals every three hours. This watch is quite complex, with its unusual timekeeping, five-minute repeater, and 60-hour power supply.

Richard Mille made quite an amazing watch for their brand ambassador, Michelle Yeoh, the Richard Mille RM 051 Phoenix . The barrel-shaped case is studded all over with diamonds. The face is open, exposing the movement beneath. Hovering above this, the watch hands between its wings, is a red-gold phoenix, crusted with diamonds. In Chinese mythology, this is a powerful feminine symbol. As a further homage to Chinese mythology, there is a baseplate of black onyx in the movement, a symbol of stability and creativity.

Speaking of diamonds, the Boucheron Ajourée Volute makes use of them in lovely swirls and spirals. A small dial on the right-hand side of the watch, at about the four o’clock position, shows the time. Aside from “Boucheron”, printed on the dial, there is nothing else at all on it but the hands. There are no numerals or markers. It’s a very beautiful watch. It does have a quartz movement, though, so that’s something to take into consideration.

Finally, there is the Voutilainen 2-Eight piece, a beautiful watch that’s also got some great technical advantages. The movement is original and has a new innovation in it, a new setup of the balance spring, so that it has two curves. This helps reduce the amount of energy used by the movement, so the power reserve lasts up to 65 hours. This is especially good for the wearer considering that it is a manual wind. The dial is slightly purplish mother-of-pearl, which goes very well with the dark purple strap of the watch. The round rose-gold case works surprisingly well with these violet tones.

These are just some of the greatest ladies’ watches that came out this year. There were many more at the show, but these were the last ten in the race for the prize, the crème de la crème.

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