Fine watchmaking has historically been the territory of men, but this type of mentality has become increasingly outmoded over the years, and even more so in the current political climate.
So when the likes of Maurice Lacroix, Audemars Piguet, and Rado announced their decision to partner with three women couture and jewellery artists to design their major collections, the reaction was closer to that of collective excitement than of surprise.
The result has simply been, to put in one word: stunning. The timepieces borne out of these collaborations are ideal for the modern working woman – relevant, timeless, sophisticated, and still fun – just like the designers themselves. These are watches created for women, by women.
MAURICE LACROIX x ADELINE ZILIOX (and the origins of an AIKON)
Founded and launched in 1975, Swiss timepiece atelier Maurice Lacroix is perhaps one of the younger brands to achieve status as a fully integrated watchmaker (including casemaking when they acquired the Saignelégier based Queloz S.A.), especially notable that given very few watchmakers in the segment of value price positioning actually bother to pursue this path. That said, this achievement placed the brand in good stead to not only eventually produce its own manufacture movements, but also, to create its own iconic case in the 90s – the out-of-production Maurice Lacroix Calypso series.
In 2018, the most recognisable element of the Calypso, the complex brushed and polished “bezel with claws”, returned in the newly re-interpreted AIKON series. Daring and bold, the new Maurice Lacroix AIKON eked a share of mind in the highly competitive “luxury steel sports watch” segment. Given its fearless bravado, it is little wonder that manufacture has unveiled an exciting partnership with French couture designer Adeline Ziliox for its new AIKON Automatic 35mm wristwatch, a gorgeous modern chic accessory made specially for women.
The company has chosen the fiercely distinctive and original fashion maven to design the latest AIKON collection because of her avant-garde sensibilities that lend themselves seamlessly to the brand’s own aesthetics and vision.
The AIKON Automatic 35 mm can be described as the modern woman’s dream watch. Full of character and sophistication, it comes in four different models, all aimed at accentuating the busy lives of the career lady out about town. The watch, which is fitted with classic materials like the mother of pearl, is packed with a magnificent blend of precision craftsmanship, exceptional patience, and a daring design vision.
Adeline Ziliox enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame, thanks to one Martin Margiela’s fascination with her. She quickly became his favourite, and the darling of the couture industry, working alongside him, before striking it out on her own. Her signature look can be described as luxury ready-to-wear. Her latest collection, presented alongside Maurice Lacroix, also showcases high fashion in an eco-friendly manner.
AUDEMARS PIGUET x CAROLINA BUCCI
The new Carolina Bucci-designed Royal Oak Frosted Gold was launched earlier this year in celebration of the model’s fourtieth birthday. The marriage of Audemars Piguet, known for its luxurious elegance, and the classic and chic bijouterie sensibilities of Bucci, is a match made in couture watch-jewellery heaven.
Audemars Piguet is quick to emphasise that “nothing has been added, and nothing has been removed” in this reimagined piece of timeart. Rather, what Bucci has done is simply intensified the brightness and shine of the watch’s signature Rose Gold tone through an ancient family gold hammering process known as the Florentine Technique.
Born in Florence, Italy, Carolina Bucci is the product of both a long lineage of goldsmith masters (her great-grandfather was the first in the family to make bespoke gold chains and jewellery at the end of the 19th century), and that of prestigious education, having graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She took over the family business in the 2000s, and is now its creative director.
RADO x BETHAN GRAY
Rado is known to push the boundaries on watchmaking, so the partnership with English furniture designer Bethan Gray should come as no surprise. This latest joint effort sees the Swiss watchmaker take its more contemporary True Thinline model even further into the realm of distinctive flair and individuality.
Perhaps the most eccentric of the three, if only because of its gold studs and black strap, the Rado True Thinline Limited Edition is all about spunk and personality. London-based Bethan Gray has taken elements reminiscent of homeware products to create a bold statement piece that features a glowing grey marquetry pattern dial encased in a ceramic matte-black monobloc outer ring.
Bethan Gray launched her eponymous furniture line Bethan Gray Design in 2008, after a ten-year stint as design director at UK homeware retailer Habitat. Her designs are often described as original yet functional, owing to her nomadic Rajasthani roots. She won the award for Best British Designer at the 2013 Elle Design Awards.