If you design jewelry for a living, how do you choose your wristwatch? Does the design have priority? Does your watch match the aesthetics of your jewelry?
We asked six female jewelry designers to tell us what drives them. (Their comments have been edited and truncated.)
Ms. Bucci is a fourth-generation jeweler from Florence, Italy, and the general manager and creative director at the London-based brand that bears her name. It is known for its signature hammered gold creations and colorful beads.
To me the word “watch” means Audemars Piguet. After many frustrating years of trying to find a signature style timepiece, in 2011, I spotted “that one” on a woman’s wrist as I casually strolled through Manhattan: a 36-millimeter Royal Oak from Audemars Piguet in yellow gold. .
On a return visit to one of the brand’s boutiques, I was disappointed to discover that the model I was looking for was no longer available. Finally, my husband, James, managed to get hold of a similar 1982 piece 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 1, I swapped out my signature shimmering Florentine finish of the case and bracelets of the previous editions for black ceramics. The new 34 millimeter Royal Oak Selfwinding in black ceramic also has a dial with a multicolored mirror effect.
I’m no connoisseur of watch movements, but I’ve been looking for a watch with the Valjoux VZ SS mechanism for a while, and I found it in a 1952 Audemars Piguet 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, a jewelry designer, is the founder and creative director at Feng J, located in Shanghai. She specializes in pastel colored pieces inspired by nature.
One of my most treasured pieces is a vintage gold Patek Philippe watch that my husband bought at auction in Hong Kong about 10 years ago as a birthday present, before starting my design career. I love its stylish gold weave bracelet and I consider it an essential piece to have whether you look at it as a watch or a jewel.
I have always been fascinated by Gerald Genta, as he is considered the Picasso of watchmaking, and more recently I developed a great interest in his work. Eventually, I became enchanted and began to covet Audemars Piguet’s Genta-designed Royal Oak. Climbing the endless waiting list while locked up in China due to Covid restrictions seemed like an impossible feat. But very recently – unexpectedly and coincidentally – my wish has come true and I now have the watch.
Born in the United States and of Brazilian and Lebanese descent, Ms. Ghosn is the founder of Nadine Ghosn Jewelry in London. She is known for her quirky burger ring.
I think watches, like jewelry, can remind you of a person. My grandfather always wore an ultra-thin watch from Vacheron Constantin Patrimony – a family heirloom that was passed down to me. I updated it with a crocodile strap to make it more feminine, and it’s a constant reminder of my grandfather’s laughter and joie de vivre. I love this watch for its elegance, meaningfulness and technicality. It’s simple yet powerful.
As a jewelry designer, I love to visit vintage shops and fairs, where watches are often displayed as well. During one of those searches, I fell in love with a sophisticated gold women’s watch with an anthracite-colored dial with two logos, Patek and Tiffany. It looks more like a piece of jewelry than anything else and makes for a solid stacking unit.
I own an Omega X Swatch MoonSwatch mainly because I love the idea of collaboration between sectors and brands. I can’t remember the last time I queued for something, but I wasn’t the only one who wanted that number on my wrist. It is a fun piece that is easy to wear and can be adjusted with straps. I like to mix highs and lows together.
Lily Gabriella Elijah
The chief executive and creative director of Lily Gabriella Fine Jewelry was born in Brazil, grew up in Monaco and now calls London her home. Her line revisits design classicsadding a touch of flamboyance.
A recent addition to my watch collection is a Panthère de Cartier triple loop, engraved with “I love you to the moon”, which my mother gifted to me on my last birthday. It’s very ‘me’ as 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 really have a thing for watches that wind around the wrist. And as you might expect, I own an indispensable wraparound watch, Bulgari Serpenti Spiga. It was love at first sight. I have always had a fascination with snakes and how they are associated in many cultures with luck, fierceness and creative drive. A snake is often the muse for my jewelry.
Other than that, I’m glad the temperatures are starting to rise, because I can’t wait to put on my “summer look”: the De Grisogono Tondo bright pink sapphire bezel, fiberglass case and red shagreen strap.
This native New Yorker is the general manager 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. In one of my searches for rare timepieces at an antiques fair, I bought a 1960s Tiffany & Company black leather and yellow gold cuff watch. I couldn’t resist – it’s a watch I hadn’t seen before and haven’t seen anywhere else .
I have another Tiffany timepiece, a 1920s Tiffany & Company platinum and diamond ladies watch, which was presented to me as an engagement gift. I wore it to my wedding in 1991, but now I wear 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 treasured pieces is a 1970s Rolex GMT-Master with a red and blue dial. It is a memory of my late husband, Jim, who got it from his father as a teenager on a flight to Colorado. Jim kept asking his father what time it was, and on the fifth time, his father gave him the watch and said, “This is for you, and you never have to ask me the time again.”
Born in France, Ms. Sarr is the founder, chief executive and creative director of Almasika Jewelry, based in Chicago. She counts Michelle Obama among her fans.
All my watches are filled with sentimental value. I am very close to my family, so my vintage Ceinture de Cartier watch that my brothers presented to me for my birthday means a lot to me. I see it as a future heirloom, but until then it’s my well-worn and beloved staple watch that I wear regularly because it pairs well with my Almasika pieces.
My Panerai Radiomir, number 60 of the 80 watches, with the Abu Dhabi skyline engraved on the back, keeps fond memories of a family vacation in the Emirates. Got it shortly after arriving in Abu Dhabi on holiday and I alternate it with my everyday Ceinture de Cartier watch.
But when I want to make a bold statement, I go for my Hublot Berluti Classic Fusion with a strap in Berluti’s emblematic Venezia leather. I’ve been a fan of Berluti craftsmanship for a long time, and I put my name on the waiting list a few months before its release.