very definition of a watch has evolved over the years, from a functional
timepiece to an accessory en vogue. Charmaine Fernz reminisces
through some of these timeless classics
history of the wristwatch is indeed short. In the early 1800s, the
wristwatch made more frequent appearances, when jewellery and watchmakers
began creating gem-encrusted timepieces for the elite. In the years
to come, automatic (self-winding) wristwatches were created, drawing
on technology used in pocket watches. Initially they were unreliable,
but were perfected by the late 1930s and early 1940s. It was then
that the wristwatch became the dominant means of timekeeping among
both men and women.
times, they are changin..., Bob Dylans famous lyrics
sung more than three decades ago, still hold true, remarked my father
as he pronounced a preface to his pet subject. A passionate connoisseur,
he closely watches the trends in the field of horology and confirms
that time, both metaphorically and literally, has undergone a veritable
metamorphosis. To him, a watch has always been more than just a
functional piece, in fact an objet dart.
have been the object of his affection, but I recently discovered
its magnitude over a casual tete-a-tete. Being what he calls the
amateur, I typically bragged about my latest Swatch
and how big it is in the United States, patronised by most kids
my age. I thought Id be a bit suave and also throw in a few
details about the contemporary styles in the Esprit and Elle collection.
It was after having silently suffered my display of ignorance, that
my father unveiled his treasure trove of prudence, as he formally
acquainted me to the world of the affluent, coupled with an irresistible
offer to accompany him to the burgeoning Basel Watch & Jewellery
Show 2002. A collectors paradise and annual fiesta for those
in tune with the times.
invitation, of course, came with a price and like most parents,
my father also deemed it fit to give me an enriching orientation.
Ruffling through his salt and pepper mane, he narrated in retrospect:
Undoubtedly, as our predecessors testify, times have changed
significantly, in fact radically, and to keep pace with time, so
have the devices used to denote it.
the very definition of a watch has evolved over the years, he depicted
excitedly, from that of a functional timepiece to a fashion statement,
a jewellery piece, an accessory en vogue, a status symbol and a
collectors item. Classic models and established brands, all
command the price and value of antique jewellery. Take wristwatches
- theyre no longer used solely to monitor the ticking of time.
They have evolved to high-tech watches that screen golf scores,
monitor air temperatures, capture digital photos, operate televisions,
or any electrical equipment and even allow you to download your
favourite songs, you would know that. Now having said that, maybe
we should go back in time to trace the trail of a bygone era.
they rightly say, Old is Gold, he continued, long staying
labels have constantly been creating and innovating through the
decades. The time industry is inundated with brands one better than
the other, fabricating styles from the rugged and simple to the
opulent and ornate. Brands like Omega, Rolex and Cartier are a status
symbol like many others, but have their own charm. Newer brands
too are fast catching up catering more to individual tastes.
my mind, he opined, Omega has been synonymous with accomplishments
and perfection for decades now. In watch-making, the brand is at
the forefront of know-how, design and human achievement. If my memory
serves me right, the brand was founded in 1848. However, what would
be of interest to you is its endorsement by celebrities like Cindy
Crawford and Pierce Brosnan.
one, you probably havent heard of, but when speaking of the
classics, Gerald Genta was a veteran and a true watchmaker with
world-renowned designs like the Audemars Piguets Royal Oak,
Omegas Constellation and Cartiers Pasha to his acclaim.
After creating masterpieces, he created his own Retro Classic watch
that revolutionised the world of horology. Beat that!
nothing to beat the look on your mothers face as I gifted
her a Cartier on our 25th anniversary, Id never forget the
way she swaggered over her prized possession. Well, it did cost
me a fortune, but I wouldnt trade it for anything in the world,
short spell of silence and I thought to myself, What can I
say, this only reinstates the title of amateur, I always
associated Cartier more with jewellery only in the reach of Maharajas
and the elite. Naturally, given the astounding price range that
starts at a mere Rs 80,000-90,000 and soars to a handsome
Rs 7-8 lakhs.
he finally spoke, for your mother, watches are amongst her preferred
possessions, not a treasured valuable like in my case, he unveiled
his priceless collection. Chopard, Omega and Vacheron Constantin
are just a glimpse of dads private collection and regal inheritance
from my grandfather, also an avid collector. Left me pretty much
dumb-founded, Im not sure about you. Well, Ill get straight
at it, without losing any precious time.
dads own authoritative words, dating back in history for the
elegant, Chopard belongs to the illustrious history of the clock
and watchmakers of Geneva and makes exceptional quality and high
precision watches. What hes currently got his eyes set on
is Chopards Happy Sport, a square dial in steel with five
cabochon-cut sapphires and seven free moving diamonds. Chopard possess
a range of high quality watches mainly, Haute Joaillerie
watches. En parlance, he mentioned the Happy Diamonds priced from
Rs 2,99,000 to Rs 7,76,000, followed by the Happy Sport, the Imperiale,
the Chronograph, the Gstaad, and the time honoured classics like
on or should I say turning back, he picked out the Vacheron Constantin,
which is apparently the oldest manufacturer in the world dating
back to 1755. Centuries of painstaking research and experimentation
stand behind all of Vacheron Constantins products, he attested.
Whatever their particular design and features, Vacheron Constantin
watches are made in limited series only, sometimes numbering no
more than a few dozen. Today, as of two centuries now, acquiring
a Vacheron Constantin means owning a rare treasure, a watchmakers
labour of love, he stated boastfully.
me on what to look for he enthused, watch out for Movados
Elliptica, an avant garde timepiece, which should be showcased this
year. It is a state-of-the-art watch with ergonomic contours and
a graceful comma-shaped case, that has been inspired by the original
Polyplan, saluting Movados rich history of design innovation.
He surely intends to add this one to his collection prive,
classicism in all its forms forged towards nouveaux forms dart,
he continued as he sneaked out his Christian Dior. The brand is
universally acknowledged as both the guardian and innovative trendsetter
of classic, elegant and fashionable design. Their unconventional
techniques are seen in their 18 carat plated steel or yellow designing.
The price range too is reasonable, starting at Rs 25,000 going up
to Rs 100,000, he asserted.
then attracting my attention he enthused, now that you seem so interested,
we could kick off your very own collection with an ODior.
It is a young, contemporary watch for the glamour-conscious and
is also a Dior signature, with the famous cane work decor that is
used in most Christian Dior watches. The elegant watch, with a round
case and distinctive cane work bracelet, dazzles when embellished
with scintillating diamonds and an alluring mother of pearl dial,
which would ensure that its not ephemeral in style and design.
youre speaking of lasting beauty, the Swiss jewellery brand
DeLaneau is also adorned with exquisite diamonds and precious stones,
he informed me. The USP of their watches is that they look more
like jewellery than watches, a plausible option for the future.
Since the watches start at Rs 150,000 onwards, you better choose
the right vocation to afford that one, he adviced. From my perspective,
he evaluated, a value-add is obviously the Three Time Zone watches,
which is indeed a blessing for the globe-trotter. Something you
might understand with time, he explained.
a sporty look would fancy you, more with the times he smirked with
a twinkle in his eyes. In which case, Carrera is the pick of the
flick. It is named after the famous race in Mexico, Carrera Panamericana,
which until today is considered exceptional amongst all racing fans.
The Carrera Speed Time Collections are incarnations of the latest
technological innovations. The brand also stands out for its unique
use of metals in its dials.
of masculinity, at the risk of losing your undivided attention,
Bell & Ross is a brand with a class apart especially designed
for men and commonly known as the manufacturer of watches for men
of extremes. The brand, initiated for men with a passion for
perfection, is priced between Rs 60,000 to Rs 100,000. The USP is
the variety of designs, which are created with four basic concepts
- readability, performance, precision and water-resistance. One
of their collections boast a watch, which has liquid silicon that
can be sustained in an abyss!
masculine watch with a compelling personality is The Upstream by
Piaget, which infuses life into matter by drawing upon its jewellers
sensitivity. Both gold and steel are exalted through sculptural
shapes and refined details. Its bezel unfolds at 12 oclock,
and initiates a new way of experiencing time. The Upstream, as the
name suggests, is undoubtedly a statement of the Jewellers
adorned with elegance suits some, but most men sport the macho look.
A hallmark in this segment is TAG Heuer, Im sure youre
familiar with the label? Not waiting for a response, he continued.
Dating back to 1860, it is known for its technological innovation
in precision timepieces, including stopwatches and water-resistant
watches. A trend more towards sporty watches, TAG Heuer has provided
official timing services for a host of sporting events including
the Olympic Games, FIA Formula 1 World Championship and the FIS
Ski World Cup. But, its purely up to you to choose a tag
or a price.
lets get down to business and coming to what your pocket money
can buy, the popular Esprit Timewear Collection. It is known for
its exceptional perception of fashion trends. Its USPs are its contrasting
colours, multifunctional chronographs, solid stainless steel dress
watches to digital watches. But if youre status-conscious,
a Pierre Cardin is more of a signature brand. These reasonable priced
watches stand for exclusivity and quality.
when it comes to watches you make the choice between the well-priced
and the priceless, he simplified. You know that we are living in
a material world and Im sure youre a material
girl. And diamonds are a girls best friend
- and if youre anything like your mother youd agree,
no pun intended I might add, he smirked.
is exactly what TechnoMarine has conceptualised with their innovative
techniques of setting diamonds in plastic in their new range - Diamonds
& Plastics. Termed as one of the hottest rage in high society
with the whos who sporting the brand, it signifies not only
a brand statement but an assertion of unique individuality and character.
The magnificent model has a stainless steel case embedded with diamonds
around the bezel mounted on a beautiful plastic gel strap.
in those straps is the timeless piege as the French
call the trap. If you havent already figured, it is the Piaget
Im talking about. Entirely hand crafted in 18-carat gold and
platinum, Piagets Miss Protocol depicts a perfect portrait
of todays contemporary woman - in constant motion, an alchemist
of trends, an acrobat of fashion and an equilibrist of combinations.
The watch is adaptable with its interchangeable straps. Id
suggest you add that to your wish list, he concluded.
secrets coming out of a Pandoras box, he had finished sharing
his secret recipe of choosing a collectors article. And while
I was trying to sort out my muddled head swarmed with ideas and
aspirations, he unexpectedly kicked off a Q&A like a professor
conforming the comprehension of a significant lesson. Im not
sure how well I scored as a pupil, but I certainly hope someday
I outscore his collection, if not his expertise.
inputs from Biren Vaidya, managing director, Egana India Pvt Ltd,
and Initu Bali, assistant marketing manager, Finex
Distribution Pvt Ltd)