Looking for a bit of glitz and glamour this holiday season? Take a close look at these eye-catching watches bedecked with diamonds. These objets d’art don’t merely track the time, they also offer extraordinary beauty and craftsmanship—and these heirloom-quality pieces will keep their value for generations to come. The first timepieces dressed in diamonds appeared in the 16th century, most likely as a reaction to John Calvin’s ban on jewelry in Geneva. To save their businesses, many gem setters and goldsmiths combined their craft with that of clockmakers (since clocks, as practical devices, were still permitted) and adorned timepieces with elaborate diamond and gemstone detailing. Within a few years, pocket watches were transformed into wearable works of art. Over time, these watches have become ever more extravagant, featuring a host of different diamond settings, shapes, and cuts.
These watches include the Classic Butterfly from Graff Diamonds – the master at diamond jewelry and watches. It ismeticulously set with 11.3 carats of diamonds on the dial and case and features a black satin strap. At 12:00 and 6:00, four fancy-cut pear-shaped diamonds form the likeness of a butterfly. A single emerald triangle—Graff’s signature—sits at 12:00. Just 300 pieces will be made. The Breguet Reine de Naples watch ($267,200) features a multi-row bracelet of Akoya pearls from Tahiti. The unusually shaped case is crafted in 18k white gold and set with 76 baguette diamonds weighing approximately 6.06 carats. Another 42 baguette diamonds weighing 2.77 carats form the inner chapter ring of this self-winding watch. The de Grisogono Sugar S12 jeweled watch ($158,900) is crafted in 18k white gold with a stingray strap. The case is set with 476 diamonds, some of which dangle from the side and bottom and move with the wearer. The dial is set with another 226 diamonds, and the folding clasp with 141 diamonds.
This holiday season your wrist can shine as brightly as glistening ice. (Versions of this article by Roberta Naas first appeared in Gotham Magazine and Vegas Magazine.)