THE ART OF FEMININE
The 101 Snowdrop watch is shining in brilliance, the diamonds have been given the appearance of floating on the surface of the bracelet.
Jewellery and watches complement each other. They are made for the delicate hands of ladies, adding a sense of extravagance, romance and temptation. When two are combined as one, the feminine charm of women is amplified.
This year, Swiss luxury watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre presented two new Calibre 101 high jewellery watches – Snowdrop and Bangle. The brand’s in-house artistic team has taken a jewellery-led approach – first, designing the forms of the bracelets and the style of gem-setting, then integrating the Calibre 101 cases and movements into the designs.
Originally conceived and developed for jewellery watches and introduced in 1929 by the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre, Calibre 101 revolutionised feminine watchmaking – its minuscule size and baguette shape offering new realms of aesthetic freedom to designers.
At 14mm long, less than 5mm wide and weighing barely one gram, the tiny, hand-wound calibre remains the smallest mechanical movement in the world, as well as one of the world’s oldest movements that continues to be in production. Over the years, Calibre 101 has appeared in jewellery watches by Jaeger-LeCoultre under its name, as well as in creations by other renowned watch brands. In fact, Queen Elizabeth II once wore Calibre 101 –a gift from France’s Président– for her coronation in 1953.
The designer set the diamonds in a griffe setting, which minimises the appearance of metal, allowing more light to pass through so the diamonds appear even more brilliant.
Grain-set is a linear setting technique in which tiny beads of gold are pulled up from the surface of the metal and pushed over the stone to secure it.
Both bracelets adhere faithfully to the classical high jewellery codes and are composed of pink gold set with diamonds – using only stones classified IF to VVS. Inspired by the white bellshaped flowers that can grow through a thin layer of snow in the Vallee de Joux, the Snowdrop watch exudes delicate femininity. A circle of pear-shaped diamonds surrounds the dial to form a flower, and waves of diamonds repeat the petal pattern in perfect harmony, all the way around the bracelet.
The Snowdrop watch weighs a total of 20.9 carats, with 904 diamonds, of which 204 are pear-shaped and the remainder are brilliant-cut. The gem-setting work alone represents 130 hours of work by the jewellery artisans of the Manufacture Jaeger- LeCoultre.
While the Bangle watch is a bolder expression of femininity, inspired by the elegant geometry of Art Deco and the strong forms of 20th-Century Modernism. The bracelet is set with 996 diamonds, graduated in size to emphasise the sweeping curves of the design, weighing a total 19.7 carats. It demonstrates a dynamic interplay of symmetry and asymmetry.
The jewellery artisans of the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre have combined the griffe (144 diamonds) and grain setting (852 diamonds) techniques to heighten the diamond’s three-dimensional effect and maximise the play of light. Rows of grain-set diamonds highlight the gold bands that run along both sides of the bracelet, supporting its structure.
Taking an opposite approach, the designer normally begins with the case and then creating bracelets or straps to complement it.
The Bangle watch is a bolder expression of femininity, inspired by the elegant geometry of Art Deco and the strong forms of 20th-Century Modernism.