Time is, arguably, the most precious quality of a marriage. The timeless pleasures of shared moments… The time spent together enjoying favourite pursuits… The times when close friends join you for a special family get-together…
And, perhaps most importantly, that time every year when you look back over your life as a married couple and celebrate another wedding anniversary – or the first of many.
So what more appropriate a wedding anniversary gift than an elegant timepiece… a sparkling daily companion whose ticking heart reminds you of all those memorable experiences you have clocked up since making your wedding vows.
Here we check out three scintillating new models from premium luxury ateliers Jaquet Droz, Breitling (partnering with Bentley) and Jacob & Co (with Bugatti), all of which would make exceptional wedding anniversary gifts for your partner – or parents.
Founded by Swiss watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz in the 18th century, the venerable company releases several new models every year. One of their first collections of 2020 featured four variations of the Petite Heure Minute watch celebrating the Sign of the Rat and marking the start of a new cycle in the Chinese calendar.
Representing renewal, the rat is considered to be synonymous with intelligence, ingenuity and ambition, and to be associated with wealth. According to Jaquet Droz, “Seeing a rat is an omen of plentiful harvests and represents a sign of prosperity.”
In each of its creations, the watchmaker’s ateliers d’art paired the rat with the pomegranate, “regarded as a symbol of life and fertility since ancient times because of the many seeds contained within it”.
Bringing naturalistic scenes to life, the first two models (Petite Heure Minute 35-millimetre and 39-millimetre) depict two rats on a bed of leaves dotted with pomegranates, set on a Grand Feu enamel dial. Both variations are produced in red gold, and the 35-millimetre model is set entirely with diamonds. A second scene engraved in red gold depicts two rats revelling in a basket of pomegranates.
For the 41-millimetre version, the Petite Heure Minute is available in two other animal-inspired variations exploring the same theme but featuring an onyx dial in a pure and intense shade of black – which serves as the backdrop for a rat holding a pomegranate in its hands. These two pieces are crafted in either red or white gold, the latter version of which is set with 272 diamonds. For each of these versions set with jewels, the pomegranates are symbolised by rubies.
Breitling and Bentley
The two luxury brands celebrated their 17-year partnership this year with a new Chronomat watch, “a bold and brilliant mechanical statement destined to appeal to today’s men and women who enjoy sports, active pursuits – and style”.
Introduced in 1984, when extra-thin quartz timepieces were popular, the Breitling Chronomat has now been re-designed as an all-purpose sports watch “which can travel from the beach to the red carpet in the same day, and look perfectly at home in either setting”.
Its features hark back to the iconic 1980s namesake. It has a 42-millimetre stainless steel case with a green dial and black contrasting chronograph counters, and is presented on a stainless steel Rouleaux bracelet with a butterfly clasp – featuring a “BENTLEY” engraving round the transparent sapphire caseback.
Bugatti and Jacob & Co
Bugatti and Jacob & Co. had an idea… How could they reproduce the visceral sensation of the Bugatti W16 engine in a timepiece? Realising that automobiles and watches had always shared a special link – and many car aficionados also loved watches – the companies decided to combine their similar qualities of mechanical precision, beauty and performance.
After nearly one full year of development, Jacob & Co. presented the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon earlier this year. Designed to honour the Chiron and its legendary 16-cylinder engine in a timepiece, the case is inspired by the flowing lines of the Chiron, and the movement (or “engine block”) intended to duplicate the Bugatti engine is placed under a massive sapphire crystal.
“Pushing the right-hand crown of the timepiece, the engine comes to life – the crankshaft turns and the pistons pump up and down, just like a true internal combustion engine.” Two “turbochargers” (down from four in the actual Chiron engine) on the side of the engine block spin while the engine runs.
The movement comprises an impressive (and challenging for the development team) 578 components. The flying tourbillon movement is a “completely clean-sheet design”, with Jacob & Co. working with its movement suppliers for more than a year.
The top and sides of the watch are sapphire crystal, meaning every facet of the watch is visible, and in the centre is the engine block animation. The crankshaft driving this mechanism is described as “one of the smallest and most complicated watch parts ever manufactured, made out of one solid steel piece”.
The movement is completely suspended in four places, with what resembles the Chiron’s actual shocks. The movement floats inside the case, moving up and down, and framing the engine block are two “exhausts” to complete the engine theme.