15 MINUTES WITH ... MARIA DOULTON
The co-founder and editor-in-chief of TheJewelleryEditor.com shares her favourite timepieces, the biggest trends, and how to curate the ultimate watch collection. By Amy Yasmine.
What are the biggest trends to have emerged this year?
2017 is all about the look of a watch. From Louis Vuitton to Gucci and Ralph Lauren, the watch offering is closer than ever to the catwalk. Going a step further, the new Bulgari Serpenti allows you to customise not just the strap but also the dial colour, gem settings, engraving, and the case metal. Louis Vuitton offers the easiest strapchanging system and there will be a strap for every new leather goods launch, giving a whole new meaning to outfit matching. Likewise, coloured dials for both men and women are on the rise. There is hardly a brand out there without a rainbow of dial options; Piaget, Hermès, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Parmigiani Fleurier are brightening up wrists around the world.
Name your top three picks from this year’s releases?
Chanel’s Mademoiselle J12 for its sense of humour, Patek Philippe’s Ref. 7130 for the most desirable women’s World Time watch, and Dior’s Grand Bal watches for their intricacy and craftsmanship.
How about the greatest highlights from Baselworld and SIHH?
At SIHH, Vacheron Constantin’s Copernicus and Van Cleef & Arpels’s Fée Ondine clock certainly caught my eye. The same goes for H. Moser & Cie.’s Swiss cheese watch, which was something of an inside joke and a statement about the new “Made in Switzerland” legislation. From Baselworld, however, Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo, the thinnest automatic movement in the world, made quite an impression.
Pieces most worth investing in this year?
Rolex’s gold Daytona is most investable as it is available to purchase, and is even more desirable, unlike the steel version, which has an eightyear waiting list. The Rolex Sea-Dweller 50th anniversary watch also holds quite well on its own, as special editions tend to hold their price better. On another note, Patek Philippe has the best record for holding its value at auctions, so the new perpetual calendar would surely be a good investment.
Which watch Manufacture or maison surprised you with their recent creations this year?
Fabergé most certainly caught my eye with its Dalliance watch, created in collaboration with hip designer Fiona Krüger. Another standout is IWC’s Da Vinci collection, aimed exclusively at women, when previously, the brand had positioned itself as purely a men’s watch company.
How do you think women’s preferences in timepieces have evolved throughout the years?
For several years now, watch houses have understood that women are interested in mechanical watches. While initially overcompensated with highly mechanical watches for women that looked like a smaller version of a man’s watch, now they are being conceived specially for women. This is why we are seeing great design with sound mechanical hearts in the women’s watch arena.
Three things to consider when it comes to curating your personal timepiece collection?
One, always buy from a reputable house, as reliability is the essence of timekeeping, and servicing is key to maintaining a mechanical watch. Two, choose a watch that matches your lifestyle. If you are sporty, look for interesting diving watches, or if you are more into glamour, then hunt out jewellery watches. It’s good to have a mix of classical and contemporary designs, and to avoid the predictable line-up of icons. Finally, look for interchangeable straps or other personalisation options to make your watch unique to you.
What would be the timepiece equivalent of the LBD?
Chaumet’s Liens watch because of its strong, clean lines and original shape, which never looks out of place.
What sets an exceptional timepiece apart from a great timepiece?
A brand that can combine excellent craftsmanship with contemporary design, and make watchmaking relevant, is exceptional. I don’t favour craftsmanship for the sake of it, but finding ways to create beauty in new forms. Houses that achieve the fine balance include Chanel, Hermès, Ulysse Nardin, H. Moser & Cie., Parmigiani Fleurier, and Cartier.
What is it about artisanal craftsmanship that piques your interest?
I am interested to see how textile dials evolve. It is not just Chanel that has picked up the embroidery needle but others including Harry Winston and Hublot. I am also intrigued by the different materials such as butterfly and beetle wings. What will they think of next?
Maria Doulton, haute horlogerie and joaillerie’s leading lady
Watchmaking’s perennial chameleon, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso Classic
Maria Doulton counts Patek Philippe’s Ref. 7130 as the most desirable World Time piece for ladies IWC’s latest Da Vinci collection made its mark as its first timepiece collection crafted exclusively for women