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"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." - Confucius

In this series we showcase mechanical and artistic wonders that were especially designed for women and others originally for men that come alive on spirited ladies’  wrists. We participated at the Geneva Watch Days 2021 and the surrounding events and we browsed the exciting novelties. 

The topics of ‘women watches’,  ‘are there any watches really dedicated to women’ or shall we use the ‘gender differentiation’ at all have been kind of hot in the recent months (or years). Various forums host discussions about the topic like Clubhouse and even the Geneva Watch Days with dedicated panel talks. Suzanne Wong, the editor in chief of Worldtempus says ‘a woman watch is a watch which is owned by a woman’, while others still feel the need to somehow mark the differences or specialties of a timepiece created for women. 

Still others come with distinct offerings to women, like the brand, Kurono Tokyo, created by the Japanese independent watchmaker, AHCI member Hajime Asaoka. They recently launched a rather controversial initiative about their novelty. The SEIJI is a 500-piece limited release in a celadon-like blue-green lacquer dial finish and a 37mm case. It was positioned aimed at female collectors but the release and the whole communication caused a pretty intense buzz on social media and many discussion afterwards. (More about the Kurono SEIJI story by Time and Tide here).

My personal preferences for watches depend on many factors, like the excitement it evokes, comfort and how it suits my style and mood, while the intended target gender of the watch (if any) leaves me perfectly indifferent. Along these lines, please find below a few hot picks I spotted in sunny autumn Geneva.

Claude Meylan – Tortue Lady

The latest novelties of Claude Meylan were revealed in Geneva at the Baselworld pop-up place where Baselworld welcomed 10 watch brands (Claude Meylan, IceWatch, AHCI represented by Ludovic Ballouard and David Candaux, BA111OD Watch Concept, Bomberg, Furlan Marri, Ikepod, Riskers and Sinn Spezialuhren). The new pieces are designed by a woman – dear to many watch journalists’ hearts – Pia de Chefdebien, who is handling the communication for Claude Meylan with Philippe Belais, CEO. 

Her main objective was to have a ‘feminine but not girly’ watch. A line that is easy to wear and can be inserted effortlessly into many different styles. As Pia mentioned, the design process required some back-and-forth discussions on what’s feasible in the tonneau-shaped, 31x31mm stainless steel case (with 11 mm thickness). The pieces are ‘half-skeleton’ – you can also see through the sapphire crystals covering the dial and the back side of the watch.

The different models have different decorations on the dial and plate, such as the “Soleillé” “Godronné” and “Clous de Paris” patterns, sunrise guilloché or even materials like mother-of-pearl. The movement is the 7.75CM17 calibre based on the ETA 2671. The small dial is positioned at 12 o’clock and the oscillating mass serves as a counterweight at 6 o’clock. There is a curvy design element from 11 o’clock to 4 o’clock which reveals the escapement and the balance wheel. 

The design is completed with a technical satin strap, complementing the patterns and colours of the dials.

ClaudeMeylan__DSC0201
Claude Meylan Tortue Lady on wirst

De Bethune – DB25 GMT Starry Varius

I love De Bethune’s interpretations of the sky. This time, they combined the constellations of the night sky with a second time zone function. The brand has already had a GMT model, the DB25 World Traveller introduced in 2016, on which the central dial disc shows cities. 

‘Dreaming about travelling again’, the new DB25 GMT Starry Varius presents the night sky in the centre. It is equipped with the latest hand-wound calibre DB2507. The home or the reference time is marked by the microsphere ‘floating’ in the recessed ring on a 24-hours scale. The microsphere has two halves: one blue and the other pink. It gradually turns at 6 am and 6 pm, thereby imitating sunrise and sunset. This function can be set in both directions (clockwise/counter-clockwise) via the crown. 

The blue hands show the local time (second time zone) on the outer ring and you can set it with these hands via the crown pulled out to the second position.The dial indicates the date on the first disc with the help of its jumping date hand, which can be adjusted at 6 o’clock. 

In the middle, the polished and blued concave titanium surface with polished white gold pins and micro-lasered dots reflects the Milky Way, while the polished pink gold sun occupies the upper half of the disc surrounded by microlight shines. 

The polished grade 5 titanium 42mm case has fully integrated open-worked lugs – hence the watch not only sits nicely on my wrist but somehow looks a bit smaller than its actual size. 

De Bethune DB25 GMT Starry Varius
De Bethune DB25 GMT Starry Varius
De Bethune DB25 GMT Starry Varius
De Bethune DB25 GMT Starry Varius

Doxa – SUB 200 Whitepearl 

Doxa has a long history dating back to 1889 when Georges Ducommun opened his business, ‘Georges Ducommun, Fabriques Doxa’ at the age of 21 in Le Locle. The manufacture created many great timepieces, focusing mainly on travel and sport timepieces. 

A new era began when the Jenny family acquired the company in 1997 and the headquarters were transferred to Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. In 2019, Romeo F. Jenny was appointed as the President of the Board of Directors of Walca Group and Jan Edöcs, Board Member of the Walca Group and CEO of Doxa Watches. 

The original SUB was developed in the ’60s with the diving-legend, Jacques-Yves Cousteau. The first SUB iteration surpassed the usual size of other diving watch cases available at the time. The 45 mm diameter allowed the easy underwater handling and greater visibility. The case was crafted from a single block of stainless steel guaranteeing absolute water-tightness tested to a depth of 300 meters (1000 feet).

Today, Doxa is all about diving watches – the SUB 200, 300, 600, 1500 and 4000 models. There are also great limited editions which make the colourful collection of diver timepieces even more exciting. 

The new Whitepearl joins the colourful range (orange – professional, silver – searambler, black – sharkhunter, navy – Caribbean, yellow – divingstar) this summer. It has a 42mm 316L stainless steel case, features a domed, scratch-resistant ‘glass box’  sapphire crystal, a unidirectional rotating bezel and a screw-down crown. 

The entry level category of Doxa, the SUB 200 features the ETA 2824-2 automatic movement and is water-resistant to 200 meters (≈650 feet). All dive-related displays have a white Super-LumiNova® luminescent coating to ensure excellent readability in low-light diving conditions. 

You can opt for a fully white look with the white textured rubber strap, which is now also available in two sizes, Standard and Small (125 x 75 mm and 110 x 65 mm) or have the stainless steel ‘rice bead ’ mesh bracelet with a folding clasp. 

Doxa SUB 200 Whitepearl
Doxa SUB 200 Whitepearl
Doxa SUB 200 Whitepearl
Doxa SUB 200 Whitepearl

Krayon – Anywhere

Rémi Maillat’s very special creation, ‘Everywhere‘ debuted in 2017 as a prototype and won the Innovation Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2018. The timepiece was warmly welcomed by the geek fine-watchmaking enthusiasts. The haute horlogerie calibre with the USS (Universal Sunrise Sunset) function has 595 components which have been designed and manufactured to order (just 1-2 pieces per year). Regardless of where on the planet you are, the watch calculates when the mother of all stars rises and disappears behind the horizon (by combining the five parameters that influence sunrise and sunset calculation – longitude and latitude, the UTC time zone, and lastly the date and month). 

This year we met with Rémi in the Beau Rivage in Geneva to see his latest novelty – ‘Anywhere’. It is smaller both in diameter and thickness (39mm and 9.5mm) than the ‘Everywhere’ and its dial is less complex. It is a seemingly simpler watch not only in its appearance, but in its usage as well. Its complication is based on the same patent indicating the length of the day and the time at which the Sun rises and sets, but the watchmaker has to initially set the latitude for one specific location on earth –  on the pictured example it is Sicily. 

Krayon’s ‘Anywhere’ shows the hours and minutes with dedicated hands. The central part of the dial is surrounded by a recessed zone upon which a small sun circulates in perpetual motion, indicating the time over 24 hours. The annular zone has two sectors: day and night, in different colours. The respective lengths of the sectors constantly change, indicating by their position the sunrise and sunset times – you read them on the outer indicator ring with the line where the two different colours meet. 

The relative position of the two sapphire discs is determined not only by the reference position, but also by the calendar. ‘Anywhere’ has a sub-dial for the month and date at 6 o’clock (it is a simple calendar so requires adjustments five times a year via the crown). 

The bi-directional crown has 3 positions: the first one for manual winding of the movement, the second one for setting the date (see above) and the third one for setting the time. 

Krayon’s new piece has a dedicated ladies’ version with a rose gold case, engraved with roses and with rose and dark blue circular ring. But the two other versions – the pictured white gold model with blue and silver dial and the rose gold model with creamy dial – are no less elegant on women’s wrists. 

Krayon - Anywhere
Krayon Anywhere on wrist
Krayon - Anywhere
Krayon Anywhere, movement side

Ulysse Nardin – Freak X Razzle Dazzled 

The ‘Freak’ has been Ulysse Nardin’s futuristic interpretation of fine watchmaking, which includes the latest & greatest tech innovations of the brand. ‘Freak’ advanced from being a showcase line to a generally available collection with the launch of the ‘FreakOut‘ in 2018.

Since then, in line with the same design principle but shooting for the sub-25k range, Ulysse Nardin launched the Freak X with a movement that is based on the UN-118 (the first Ulysse Nardin movement receiving the DIAMonSIL escapement together with a silicium hairspring in 2012) and UN-250 calibres (Freak Vision). 

The self-winding UN-230 has the super-light balance wheel, escapement wheel, balance spring & anchor in silicium and a crown for manual winding and setting at 3 o’clock. Having fewer wheels and movement parts (all together 205) than the previous Freaks, it is noticeably slimmer which makes it sit nicely on the wrist. 

The new Freak X Razzle Dazzled pays tribute to the brand’s marine heritage and took a rather interesting element from some special ship painting techniques of the British Navy. These patterns were employed to camouflage British ships – dazzle camouflage, also known as razzle dazzle or dazzle painting –  and used extensively in World War I and, to a lesser extent, in World War II. 

The crossing black and white lines are meant to confuse the viewer and make it difficult to estimate the range, speed and direction of the ship, so eventually makes it more difficult to target it. 

On the watch the razzle-dazzle decorative movement plate integrating the minute gear train makes the design more freaky. The 30-piece limited edition is available in titanium with a black DLC case and a black openwork rubber leather strap with ‘point de bride’ stitches and rubber, or a white openwork calfskin leather strap with ‘point de bride’ stitches. 

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