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Gems for your wrist

I HAD the privilege of attending the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) luxury watch fair in Geneva for the fourth year in a row. While it's easy to get jaded if you're not a watch aficionado, believe me, if you're a luxury lover, this is the place to be.

I've never been to the other famous watch fair in Basel (also in Switzerland), but according to those who've endured the booths and crowds there, the SIHH knock off bvlgari heart pendant is like a breath of fresh air. There are interesting booths with beautiful timepieces, and you can also enjoy looking at fabulous jewellery and other luxury objects as some of the brands don't only produce timepieces.

Watchmaker Richard Mille was in town, holed up at the Four Seasons hotel, but unfortunately, due to certain constraints, I was unable to hotfoot it there to meet the man himself. Those who did were jealously guarding their stories and their freebie I Pods courtesy of Mille.

Last year's SIHH was one for celebrating anniversaries, so in comparison, this year's event was relatively quiet. Still, there were several key trends, and the focus this year was on mechanical watches and watches for women (jewellery watches).

The SIHH did in fact choose to celebrate the increasing interest in women's watches with an exhibition called, "Fine Watches, a Homage to Women" which was all about how women have helped to shape the world of watches, right from the time of the arrival of the bracelet watch in the 19th century. Did you know that wristwatches were created for women before being adopted by men? This exhibit also showcased how women have embraced the more technical watches.

One obvious new trend at the SIHH was the popularity of rose gold, which has pushed out yellow gold as the preferred metal for watches. Rose gold is certainly more flattering and sets off the skin tone a lot better than the harsher yellow gold. Watch faces are still huge (actually I think they're becoming excessively large) and some were bigger than my wrist and a number of jewellery watches could actually pass off as pieces of jewellery.

But it must be said that while the bejewelled watches are always fabulous, the technical watches really are something else, and there was plenty of new technical wizardry and materials on show (like the first non lubricant watch at Jaeger LeCoultre). This is something that hasn't been done yet and the Lange 31 has an unimaginable power reserve of 31 days plus continuous rate stability. (The technicalities are beyond me, but as far as I understand it, the horological year is now subdivided into 12 winding sessions. By the way, another innovation called constant b zero1 imitation pendant force escapement makes sure the power delivery is uniform throughout the entire 31days.)

Since I'm not very technical minded, the things that caught my attention were the unusual. Anything from Cartier is always absolutely gorgeous, and they were very excited about the beautiful Ballon Bleu de Cartier, which is rounded above and below, making it look like a bubble. (Incidentally, we're not supposed to call it the blue balloon, as one journalist was told. Doesn't sound very chic in English, does it?)

Vacheron Constantin freaked me out with their Mtiers d'Art Les Masques collection which saw masks on watches! There is an Alaskan mask, an Indonesian mask (very familiar to Malaysians), a Chinese mask (it's actually a death mask!) and a Congolese mask. While I understand their interest from the cultural, traditional and aesthetic point of view, as a Malaysian reared on ancient tales of spooky things, I find this masked collection scary.

While timepieces would not be the first thing that come to mind when you think of entertainment, Girard Perregaux showed us otherwise. If you have plenty of money and love the slot machine, the Vintage 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon is a great rich man's toy. Anytime you're bored on your private plane or stuck on a deserted island somewhere, pull the one arm jack and see how many times you can hit the jackpot!

This expensive plaything totally eclipsed the brand's other creation, the first chronograph to indicate the different times around the world as well as the business hours of four major stock markets. Very exciting I'm sure, but next to a watch you can pretend to gamble with?

Last year, my heart belonged to Girard Perregaux's Cat's Eye, but this year, I fell knock off bvlgari sun pendant in love with Van Cleef Arpel's Lady Arpels Feerie (In 2005, the House created a tribute to fairies with the high jewellery A Midsummer's Night Dream collection). Imagine a dainty diamond encrusted fairy (modelled on the Midsummer's Night Dream fairy clip) with wings and a body set with round diamonds, and the perfect oval of her face represented by a pear imitation bulgari pendant shaped diamond. And her magic wand is the watch hand that points to the hours, while one of her gossamer wings tells the minutes. Now isn't that the perfect fairytale watch?

In the next three weeks, I'll be writing about the collections by Jaeger LeCoultre, Cartier, Montblanc, dunhill, Girard Perregaux and Jean Richard, so keep an eye out for that.

Fashion lover and bag mad Dzireena Mahadzir lives by two rules: never pay retail and never explain. If you'd like to bring up a fashionable issue or ask some stylish questions, send an SoS to her e mail address above.

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By PKKOO5
Added Nov 14

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