How does one define good design in the watch and jewellery world? Are pleasing aesthetics and technical functionality sufficient conditions? And must a watch or piece of jewellery be popular and sought-after before it is acknowledged as a great design?
The truth is, there are no hard and fast rules when defining good design. When brands create a new watch or a piece of jewellery, they can only cleave to certain principles in the hope that their handiwork will be well-received—but they can never be absolutely sure. Even the icons of today such as the Cartier Love bracelet and the Patek Philippe Nautilus were not assured of instant success. The Cartier Love, conceptualised by acclaimed jewellery designer Aldo Cipullo in 1969, did not really catch on until eight years later, when Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton bought a pair to mark their second marriage in 1975. The Patek Philippe Nautilus, when first launched in 1976, was billed as a steel sports watch that cost more than those made of gold—a seemingly ridiculous proposition, at first. It was a gamble to elevate the watch to luxury icon status, prioritising its design, craftsmanship and value as a status symbol at a time when watches were mostly seen as functional tools. But it worked. The Nautilus is now one of the most renowned icons of the watch industry.
Of course, while Singapore Tatler Jewels & Time largely focuses on international brands, it does not mean that good design cannot be found locally. We pay tribute to the designer talents at home in our annual Tatler 10 Singapore’s Best Jewellers awards. Find out more about them on p.64.
This year’s edition of Jewels & Time also takes a look at some of the big issues surrounding the watch and jewellery industry today, including the advent of the millennial moment (see p.40), and the issue of sustainability and ethical sourcing along the jewellery supply chain (see p.50).
Finally, the inaugural Jewels & Time week presents a series of events that brings these pages to life. It kicks off with a celebratory cocktail at Ion Orchard on August 15, and will be followed by a slew of events that allow Singapore Tatler’s watch and jewellery enthusiasts to get a more intimate look at some of the top luxury brands in the industry. Keep an eye on singaporetatler.com to learn more. Meanwhile, enjoy the sixth edition of Jewels & Time.