Women watches were on the rise this year. The contribution of famous names to this rise was undeniable.
2023 has been a year in which women watches received more attention and attention than ever before, brand new models filled boutiques, and vintage models entered the watch drawers of young people. Even though it seems like nothing is changing, the giants of the watchmaking world, where all trends are constantly changing, have been fed abundantly by the inspiring watch preferences of famous women who shape and direct popular culture in determining the next new trend.
Rihanna, who has been the subject of our conversations throughout the year with her second pregnancy and the eclectic designs she chose to wear while her baby bump was on, managed to leave her mark on the last months of 2023. Rihanna, who wore a watch choker necklace worth approximately 20 million TL, at the first collection presentation in Paris of musician Pharrell, who got one of Louis Vuitton’s creative director positions, turned the whole world upside down with her extraordinary anklet at the Las Vegas Grand Prix, which she attended in November. He managed to do it. Dressed in all black from head to toe, the $400,000 Jacob & Co women’s watch on the ankle of the famous star was specially produced for Rihanna. A single watch placed in the wrong place instantly made wristwatches the most talked about thing in the world.
Reportedly, the star, who has been a close friend of the brand’s founder Jacob Arabo for a long time, asked his friend to create a unique anklet watch for him. The 18-carat white gold watch, set with a total of 70 carats of round and emerald-cut diamonds, revealed the visionary aesthetics of the duo. There will be those who remember; the first anklet watch entered our lives with the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In the classic party scene of the movie starring Audrey Hepburn, we see one of the party participants bending over to look at the watch on a lady’s ankle.
Jewelry and Watch Combinations
It is not known whether Rihanna and Jacob & Co. were inspired by Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but these collaborations gave us the opportunity to take a closer look at famous women who strive to make their watches a unique part of their style throughout the year. Among these women, fashion-forward names such as Bella Hadid, Meghan Markle, and Jennifer Lawrence were the most notable.
“Sprezzatura”; this term, which we can simply summarize as “concealing artistry in fine arts”, is a tactic frequently used by famous women when combining clothes and accessories. Sprezzatura, which we can interpret as “studied indifference”, lies at the basis of the watch-jewelry matching trend of 2023.
Bella Hadid, who often likes to combine her gold Cartier Panthère watch with her thick bracelets and is not fooled by the fact that her precious watch is in the shadow and under the neutral tone of her bracelets, is one of the most famous names who does not hesitate to fill her wrists recklessly. Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni, who is known for making colorful combinations freely without hiding her maximalist style, also likes to match her flashy bracelets with various valuable watches. Sometimes it’s a big-dial Hublot, sometimes it’s a delicate vintage Bulgari Serpenti…
Everyone knows that Princess Diana was a fan of Cartier Tank Française. In the sixth and final season of The Crown, which tells the story of the British Royal Family, the scene where Princess Diana opens the iconic red Cartier box gifted to her and sees the Tank inside, increased the interest in this wonderful model that Diana always loved to wear. Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle, is also a Cartier fan, like her late mother-in-law. But unlike Diana, who likes to wear and polish her watch alone, she likes to combine it with various Cartier bracelets to create an elegant party atmosphere.
One of the things that women who love to combine their watches with their jewelry talked about most this year was whether this passion was worth the wear of their tens of thousands of dollars worth of watches over time due to collision and contact with other parts. Of course, men did not have such a problem, they could achieve elegance even with a single watch. But women wanted much more.
Opinions on this subject are not as clear as before; women never say never anymore. Collectors are never keen on wearing valuable watches with jewelry. As a result, parts rubbing against each other can cause irreversible damage, especially to the glass of the watch. But the new generation of fashion pioneers and designers argue that every scratch tells a story. They cite the example of fashion icon Jane Birkin, who stuffed the Hermès bag bearing her name and used it openly with disdain. According to them, luxury products should live, participate in life, not wait in the closet to be passed on to the next generation. What’s the point of having something if you can’t use it the way you want?
This year, brands that have resolved the connection between luxury watches and luxury jewelry have worked tirelessly to fulfill every wish of women. Designed with inspiration from Monsieur Dior’s colorful drawings, the lockless and clasp less watches and bracelets stood out as unique jewels with Dior’s precious stones. A brother came to Bulgari’s Serpenti watch. The Serpenti bracelet, which can be chosen either plain or with lots of diamonds, can be paired perfectly with the watch. Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels also introduced new models at Watches & Wonders that can be easily combined and used instead of jewelry.
The Silent Luxury of Steel Watches
The popularity of the Succession series has brought the concept of “quiet luxury” into our lives. The viewers, who discovered that the boring wardrobes of the rich characters of the series, which concluded in the middle of the year, were full of clothing items worth tens of thousands of dollars, entered into a fierce race to look like the wealthy elite. The mini Panthère de Cartier watch, beloved by Succession’s silent luxury queen Shiv Roy, pioneered the rise of steel watches. Women, who have turned to an increasingly minimal clothing style, have begun to show interest in steel watches, most of which are considered “accessible” in their category. Thefts that took place in collectors’ homes and watch boutiques in various European cities this year have led to an increase in interest in steel watch models, whose value remains high even if their prices are affordable.
Steel watches are sold for approximately six times more than models designed with more valuable metals such as gold. For example, Jennifer Lawrance, who wore a simple dress on the red carpet of this year’s Cannes Film Festival and chose only a Longines La Grande Classique steel watch as an accessory, would have paid around 50,000 TL for her watch if she were not the face of the Longines brand. Even Bulgari, which does not like change at all, could not stop itself from adding steel versions to the Serpenti series. Serpenti Seduttori is one of the most important models that received its share from this new steel update.
In 2021, Dior Joaillerie’s creative director Victoire de Castellane’s reinterpretation of the iconic Gem Dior watch with mother-of-pearl and steel in a more minimalist way was a sign that this trend was approaching. This year, Castellane created a steel version called La D My Dior for the 20th anniversary of La D de Dior, the first watch he designed for the fashion house. There was a point that the designer wanted to draw attention to regarding steel; steel was not as soft as gold, so it was much more difficult to shape, process and manipulate it. Castellane complained that his workshops in Switzerland were trying too hard to master steel machining.
Vacheron Constantin and Panerai also said in Watches & Wonders that they found the “elegance, sophistication and refinement” that female customers were looking for in steel watches. Panerai marketing manager Alessandro Ficarelli, while introducing the new steel Radiomir with its 40 mm dial, said that steel is a versatile material that will have no problem finding a place in contemporary wardrobes, and also signaled that women will continue to lead the watch industry in the coming years.