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(Bloomberg) -- In spite of a global downturn in spending on the high end of watchmaking, such brands as Cartier, Audemars Piguet, and Richard Mille are still betting that fantastic, jeweled watches will thrill collectors into shelling out for special occasions. A tour of the 2017 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève (SIHH) in early January revealed a vast collection of inventive, gorgeous, and extremely expensive watches in which diamonds and other precious stones took center stage. Here are some of our favorites.
Audemars Piguet Diamond Outrage Sapphire
The photo doesn't do this one justice; this was my favorite jeweled watch of the show. A one-of-a-kind spiked cuff in 18-carat white gold, set entirely with 11,043 brilliant-cut blue sapphires, this watch is almost too ridiculous to be real. The watch itself is hidden on the inside of the cuff so the jeweled spikes can take center stage.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Sonatina in White Gold
This year, Jaeger-LeCoultre has a new movement that includes a reminder chime, so you can set a time to be cued to something important. (Here, it's the little star by 8 o'clock.) But the real star here is the diamonds around the bezel—and the new purple face.
H. Moser & Cie. Venturer Smoky Sapphire
Don't like diamonds just around the bezel? The normally understated brand H.Moser is experimenting with diamonds on the face of its Venturer watch. Here, you've got 313 brilliant-cut diamonds on the 18-carat white gold case and 375 brilliant-cut sapphire stones on the face.
Piaget Sublime Radiance Cuff
A quartz movement takes center stage in this diamond-drenched bracelet from Piaget, who has a long tradition of cuffs such as these. But the real standout detail is the delicate rose gold lacework stringing it all together.
Vacheron Constantin Copernicus Celestial Spheres
This hand-detailed Grand Feu enamel dial is only part of what makes this watch so beautiful. The allure also comes from the movement, which was designed in honor of Nicolas Copernicus and his theory that the moon revolves around earth, which in turn revolves around the sun. You tell the time by the small gold indicators around the edge of the dial (the hollowed-out one tells the hours; the solid one, minutes), and the earth rotates around the sun once per solar year. The earth itself rotates once a day.
Cartier Panthère Royale
As much as I loved the Cartier Panthère with the black spots that I mentioned in our last roundup, this one is much more blinged-out. In white gold with diamonds across every centimeter, this delicate filagreed watch was one of the most beautiful at SIHH.
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