When you design jewelry for a living, how do you choose your watch? Is the design in the foreground? Does your watch match your jewelry aesthetic?
We asked six jewelry designers what drives them. (Your comments have been edited and compressed.)
Ms. Bucci is a fourth generation jeweler from Florence, Italy Managing Director and Creative Director at the London-based brand that bears her name. She is known for her signature creations in hammered gold and colorful beaded pieces.
The word “watch” means Audemars Piguet to me. After many frustrating years of searching for a watch in the signature style, in 2011, while strolling through Manhattan, I spotted “the one” on a woman’s wrist: a 36mm Audemars Piguet Royal Oak in yellow gold.
On a subsequent visit to one of the brand’s boutiques, I was disappointed to learn that the model I was looking for had been discontinued. Eventually my husband James managed to source a similar piece from 1982 through a second hand dealer in London. It was the perfect gift for my 35th birthday.
My first Audemars Piguet paved the way for a series of collaborations with the brand to reinvent the Royal Oak – the first in 2016 and a second in 2018. For the third collaboration, which debuted on June 1st, I have Swapped my signature shimmering Florentine finish on the case and bracelets of previous editions for black ceramic. The new 34mm Royal Oak Selfwinding in black ceramic also features a multicolored mirror effect dial.
I’m not a watch movement connoisseur, but I’ve been looking for a watch with the Valjoux VZ SS mechanism for some time and found it in a 1952 Audemars Piguet with leather strap. What I like about this watch is that it’s super-simple on the outside and super-powerful on the inside. The magic is in the movement.
Ms. Feng is a jewelry designer the founder and creative director at Feng J based in Shanghai. She specializes in pastel colored pieces inspired by nature.
One of my most treasured pieces is a gold Patek Philippe vintage watch that my husband bought as a birthday present at an auction in Hong Kong about 10 years ago, before I started my design career. I love its classy gold woven bracelet and consider it an essential piece whether you consider it a watch or a piece of jewelry.
I have always been fascinated by Gerald Genta as he is considered the Picasso of watchmaking and lately I have developed a strong interest in his work. Eventually, I fell under the spell and began coveting the Genta-designed Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Climbing up the never-ending waiting list while locked down in China due to Covid restrictions seemed like an impossible feat. But recently – unexpectedly and accidentally – my wish came true and I now have the watch.
Ms. Ghosn, who was born in the United States of Brazilian and Lebanese descent, is the founder of Nadine Ghosn Jewelry in London. She is known for her quirky hamburger ring.
I think watches, like jewelry, can remind you of a person. My grandfather used to wear an ultra-thin Vacheron Constantin Patrimony watch – a family heirloom that was passed on to me. I’ve updated it with a croc strap to make it more feminine and it’s a constant reminder of my grandfather’s laughter and zest for life. I love this watch for its elegance, expressiveness and technology. It’s simple yet powerful.
As a jewelry designer, I love browsing vintage shops and fairs, which often also feature watches. On one of these forays, I fell in love with a sophisticated gold ladies’ watch with an anthracite dial printed with two logos, Patek and Tiffany. It looks more like a gem than anything else and makes for a solid stacker.
I have an Omega X Swatch MoonSwatch mostly because I love the idea of collaborating across industries and brands. I can’t remember the last time I lined up for something, but I wasn’t the only one who wanted that number on my wrist. It’s a fun piece that’s easy to wear and customizable with straps. I love mixing high and low together.
Lily Gabriella Elijah
The managing director and creative director of Lily Gabriella Fine Jewelry was born in Brazil, grew up in Monaco and now calls London home. Their line takes up design classicsadds a touch of extravagance.
A new addition to my watch collection is a Panthère de Cartier triple bow engraved “I love you to the moon” that my mother gave me for my last birthday. It’s very mine because it’s a contemporary take on a timeless classic, and I also love how it wraps around the wrist multiple times, making it more casual.
I actually have a preference for watches that wrap around the wrist. And as you might expect, I own a must-have all-round watch, the Bulgari Serpenti Spiga. It was love at first sight. I have always been fascinated by snakes and how they are associated with good luck, wildness and creative drive in many cultures. A snake is often the muse for my jewelry.
Otherwise, I’m happy that the temperatures are starting to rise as I can’t wait to put on my “summer watch”: the De Grisogono Tondo with a pink sapphire bezel, fiberglass case and red shagreen strap.
This native New Yorker is Managing Director and Creative Director at the fine jewelry brand that bears her name and is known for its playful yet elegant flip rings.
I love collecting watches, especially rare ones. On one of my hunts for rare timepieces at an antiques fair, I bought a black leather and yellow gold Tiffany & Company wristwatch from the 1960s. I couldn’t resist – it’s a watch I’ve never seen before and have never seen again.
I have another Tiffany watch, a 1920’s Tiffany & Company ladies’ platinum and diamond evening watch that was offered to me as an engagement gift. I wore it to my wedding in 1991, but now I’m wearing it with my vintage Levi’s and a white t-shirt. I love that it has stood the test of time against trends.
One of my most prized pieces is a 1970s Rolex GMT-Master with a red and blue dial. It is a memory of my late husband Jim, who was given it by his father on a flight to Colorado when he was a teenager. Jim kept asking his dad what time it was, and the fifth time his dad handed him the watch saying, “This is for you and you never have to ask me the time again.”
Ms. Sarr, who was born in France, is the Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Chicago-based Almasika Jewelry. She counts Michelle Obama among her fans.
All of my watches are filled with sentimental value. I am very close to my family, so my vintage Ceinture de Cartier watch, which my brothers gave me for my birthday, means a lot to me. I see it as a future heirloom, but until then it’s my staple well-worn and popular watch that I wear regularly as it stacks well with my Almasika pieces.
My Panerai Radiomir, number 60 of 80 watches, with its back engraved with the Abu Dhabi skyline, cherishes fond memories of a family holiday in the Emirates. I received them shortly after arriving in Abu Dhabi on holiday and I alternate them with my everyday Ceinture de Cartier watch.
But whenever I want to make a bold statement, I opt for my Hublot Berluti Classic Fusion with a strap in Berluti’s emblematic Venezia leather. I’ve been a long-time fan of Berluti craftsmanship and waitlisted a few months before release.