It’s swing time for accessories

When actress Emma Corrin dressed up as Evander Berry Wall, the dandy socialite of New York’s Golden Age, for this year’s Met Gala, the essential finishing touch to their black suit, top hat and plaid jacket was a vintage 1914 platinum and onyx Cartier pocket watch. It was casually tucked into Corrin’s waistcoat, a subtle nod to the emerging jewelry trend for men and women to wear watches on chains.

The pendant watch, evoking oscillating informality and breaking the rules, made a revamped appearance at Watches and Wonders earlier this year. Creative Director Dior Joaillerie Victory of Castellane added medallion watch necklaces to its Gem Dior collection, taking the form of simple misshapen shards; a rose gold version had touches of carnelian and pale pink aragonite, while another in yellow gold had a malachite dial. Hermès has included a leather sautoir in the new Kelly watch collection, inspired by the famous Kelly handbag padlock from the 1930s which turned into a look in 1975. Now it hangs from the equally familiar leather bell, black boxcalf or smooth alligator, suspended from a leather cord, with hard edges and a 1970s feel.

Nino with Longines Equestrian Jockey 1878 pocket watch in rose gold, £32,430. He wears a Fendi wool jacket, £1,890, and a silk shirt, £1,100. Maison Margiela silk fringe scarf, £490, matchesfashion.com © Philip White (2)

The Longines Equestrian Jockey 1878 pocket watch

The Longines Equestrian Jockey 1878 pocket watch

The long and loose necklace of the 20s resonates with the style and history of Gabrielle Chanel, emblem of the liberated woman. It is therefore not surprising that Chanel is taking over the necklace watch this year, making it its own with three unique Mademoiselle Privé models: a medallion, on a necklace of braided onyx beads, is centered on a lustrous golden pearl rimmed with black onyx; another medallion, inspired by the Coromandel screen from Mademoiselle rue Cambon’s apartment, features an onyx dial and, on the other side, a profile portrait sculpted in beige gold of Coco herself. The third is a gold and diamond birdcage pendant with the dial paved with diamonds on the underside.

Akima wears a Harry Winston white gold and diamond Emerald Signature secret watch (worn on the wrist, as a pendant or as a brooch), POA.  Hermès silk knit sweater, £1,000.  Frame leather skirt, €1,099

Akima wears a Harry Winston white gold and diamond Emerald Signature secret watch (worn on the wrist, as a pendant or as a brooch), POA. Hermès silk knit sweater, £1,000. Frame leather skirt, €1,099 © Philip White

Chanel Mademoiselle Privé Coromandel long necklace, POA

Chanel Mademoiselle Privé Coromandel long necklace, POA

Cartier Tourbillon Mysterious Azure, POA

Cartier Tourbillon Mysterious Azure, POA

At Cartier, the necklace watch has become a hallmark of fine jewelry collections. The Tourbillon Mystérieux Azuré offers the double thrill of a rare stone – a celestial drop of Ceylon-sapphire weighing 25.93 carats – combined with a sought-after complication, the mysterious double tourbillon. At Harry Winston too, the Ultimate Emerald Signature Haute Joaillerie secret watch detaches from its satin strap to be worn on a chain or as a brooch.

As for the pocket watch, a fashion-fueled re-emergence seems likely. Antique and vintage models, open or hunting case with a gold or silver protective cover, can be found at auction or at specialist retailers such as the Watch Club or Somlo London, or among the vintage selection of Vacheron Constantin , The Collectors. Christian Selmoni, Vacheron’s Heritage and Style Director, says: “We have noticed a growing demand for pocket watches, both simple and complicated, such as chronographs and minute repeaters. Wear them on an antique Albert watch chain, authentically tucked into a vest pocket, or even on a vintage-inspired gold bar chain, like in Jessica McCormack’s latest gothic-flavored Lost Boys collection. Or merge the two genres and wear the pocket watch as a pendant on a long chain. This is what Jacob & Co has done with its Brilliant Watch Pendants, mixing haute horlogerie, haute couture and haute joaillerie, mixing vintage and contemporary.

Vacheron Constantin or Les Cabinotiers Bespoke Grande Sonnerie, POA

Vacheron Constantin or Les Cabinotiers Bespoke Grande Sonnerie, POA

Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring was enameled in miniature on the case back by Anita Porchet

by Vermeer a girl with an earring was enamelled in miniature on the case back by Anita Porchet

Patek Philippe rose gold 980R-011, £45,240

Patek Philippe rose gold 980R-011, £45,240

Hermès Arceau Pocket Horse Punk, £322,890

Hermès Arceau Pocket Horse Punk, £322,890

Among heritage watch houses, pocket watches are instead produced in small quantities as true collector’s items, showcasing rarefied pieces artistic careers, or in the case of Patek Philippe, their Rare Handcrafts. Often too, the pocket watch is the vehicle for sophisticated complications. Harry Winston’s Quadri Tourbillon has four independent tourbillons, the openworked movement housed in a round case. Mark Toulson, Head of Watch Buying at Watches of Switzerland Group, says: “Pocket watches represent a watch for a special occasion, most often worn at weddings. Our business tends to focus on relatively low priced watches under £1000, likely to be worn occasionally, and high priced collectibles. We sell maybe one or two Patek Philippe pocket watches per year, due to lack of availability as well as price.

Nino wears a white gold Chopard Poinçon de Genève LUC Louis-Ulysse – The Tribute pocket watch, £49,700.  Dolce & Gabbana wool jersey coat, £1,700, and cotton and silk shawl-lapel tuxedo, £3,400.  Connolly silk shirt, £542.  Favourbrook Silk Scarf, £79

Nino wears a white gold Chopard Poinçon de Genève LUC Louis-Ulysse – The Tribute pocket watch, £49,700. Dolce & Gabbana wool jersey coat, £1,700, and cotton and silk shawl-lapel tuxedo, £3,400. Connolly silk shirt, £542. Favorbrook silk scarf, £79 © Philip White

In its Les Cabinotiers series, Vacheron Constantin offers the elegant bespoke Grande Sonnerie Westminster, with its engraved gold case, while Hermès goes to the other extreme, subverting the essential classicism of the pocket watch with the Arceau model. Pocket Horse Punk. Adapted from Daiske Design Nomura for a 2021 men’s silk scarf, the dial is engraved and enamelled with a flaming horse.

Philippe Delhotal, artistic director of Hermès Horloger, explains that pocket watches are an integral part of the history of Hermès: “In 1912, Jacqueline Hermès created the first Hermès wristwatch by taking her father’s pocket watch and by wearing it on his wrist on a specially designed leather strap.” He adds that demand for pocket watches has increased in recent years, perhaps because they “represent a timepiece from a bygone era in a digital world. It makes a statement that the wearer appreciates craftsmanship and also revels in the retro aesthetic that only a pocket watch can give.


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