Turn Back The Clock

The heydays of watchmaking are staging a glorious comeback on the wrists of discerning female collectors. Reaching back to recall outstanding designs of the past has always been a constant in the horological world, and never has that been more evident in our pick of five timepiece revivals for the female wrist. Never say that ‘they don’t make them like they used to.’

1. Vacheron Constantin Heures Creatives Heure Audacieuse

A belt and its buckle, imagined into a wristwatch – when Vacheron Constantin debuted this design in the 1970s, it was considered bold and avant garde. But the women of that time snapped it up, delighted at finally seeing an unusual timepiece that reflected the decade’s liberal and free spirited ways. 
In 2015, the maison unveiled an updated version of this watch at Watches and Wonders. Now made slightly bigger in line with the trend of women wearing chunkier timepieces, it features lines that are more curved and set with diamonds for extra sparkle. In order not to detract from the design, the winding crown was shifted to under the black satin strap. The timepiece houses the dainty mechanical hand-wound Calibre 1055 measuring just 15.7mm, which gives it a 40-hour power reserve.

Vacheron Constantin Heures Creatives Heure Audacieuse

2. Van Cleef & Arpels Cadenas

The unusual angled dial of Van Cleef & Arpels’ Cadenas was created out of necessity. The timepiece was launched in 1935, an era when it was considered rude for women to look at the time in public; the angled dial allowed its wearer to read the time discreetly without turning her wrist. The innovative design counts even the Duchess of Windsor as a fan. Shaped like a padlock and wrapped around the wrist with a double bracelet, the original Cadenas is a design that already has a rather big volume and heavy look about it. To cater to the preferences of today’s women, Van Cleef & Arpels gave it an even bigger case, and introduced four versions: two with bracelets in yellow gold or white gold, and two with alligator straps also in yellow gold or white gold. Behind the mother-of-pearl dial is a quartz movement.

Van Cleef & Arpels Cadenas

3. A.Lange & Sohne Little Lange 1

If there is one watch that defines the A.Lange & Sohne brand, it is the Lange 1. Revered by the German watchmaker as the timepiece that helped it rise from the ashes of World War II to become the brand it is today, the Lange 1 was launched in 1994 as A. Lange & Sohne’s first product after a long period of hiatus. In celebration of the iconic timepiece’s 20th anniversary in 2014, A. Lange and Sohne launched limited edition versions of the Lange 1, one of which constitutes his-and-hers models. For the ladies, the aptly named Little Lange 1 is a 36.1mm watch with all the grace and functions of the Lange 1 compressed into a smaller space to suit daintier wrists. The watch enjoyed an update in 2015 – this time independently and not as part of a his-and-hers set – with an unusual pale blue mother-of-pearl dial.

A.Lange & Sohne Little Lange 1

4. Audemars Piguet Millenary

As with most of Audemars Piguet’s collection, the Millenary began as a men’s watch when it was launched in 1995. The model’s signature elliptical case, however, is something the brand has constantly explored in its women’s pieces since the 1960s. The ladies finally got their own Millenary in 2015, when Audemars Piguet unveiled the new timepiece at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH). The off-center dial at three o’clock leaves the rest of the face open so that the hand-wound 5201 manufacture movement can be admired. Three versions of the new Millenary for women are available in 18 carat pink gold and white gold with a mother-of-pearl dial, and 18-carat white gold with a diamond-set dial.

Audemars Piguet Millenary

5. Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 Squelette

It may be a bit of s stretch to consider this timepiece a vintage revival – contrary to its name, the Tonda 1950 was not introduced in the 1950s, as Parmigiani Fleurier is a young brand founded only in 1996. It is, however, an iconic line that has been with the brand for a large part of its 20 years. The Squelette represents the first skeleton version of the Tonda. Launched at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) 2015, it displays the same simplicity and elegance that collectors have come to associate with the line, but with the dial “removed" to reveal the PF705 calibre within. What there actually is, is a sapphire crystal dial, frosted for a teasing reveal in the ladies’ model. Two options are available for the ladies in white or rose gold, both set with diamonds on the bezel.

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 Squelette

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Published February 24, 2016
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