Sapphires, rubies and Paraiba tourmalines have made their way on to watch dials – but there are times only a diamond will do

Laura McCreddie-Doak
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I’m not going to quote Carol Channing or Marilyn Monroe (or Nicole Kidman, depending on your age) because we are all well aware of a woman’s relationship with her diamonds. There really isn’t a stone out there that has allegedly captured the female imagination so much as this metastable allotrope of carbon.

However, as desirous as they are, over the last few years women have sought to stand out from the crowd by sporting stones of colour. Sapphires, rubies, emeralds have been seen on watch dials and bezels as well stones such as Paraiba Tourmalines or, in the case of this year’s breathtaking Dior Grand Soir Kaleidiorscope, everything from opal and lapis lazuli to chrysoprase and tsavorites.

This sort of experimentation is wonderful, but there are times when only diamonds will do. That doesn’t mean you always have to plump for something classically cocktail, though; these stones are far more versatile than that.

Piaget has long been known for its penchant for putting full pave on every surface, but it can also show restraint, as this gorgeous Limelight Gala (pictured) from its most recent collection shows. Seeing as Piaget made the decision, back in 1957, to only make their watches in precious metals, there’s a lot of gold here for most people’s daily wearer. However, the use of the Milanese strap on a women’s watch (this is a style usually associated with men’s watches) gives it a more casual look. The swirl of diamonds around the dial are there to emphasise the vintage 1970s feel of the design, something no other stone would be able to do.

Diamonds are also the perfect foil for a more experimental dial, as Harry Winston proves with its Premier Precious Weaving watches. The intricately woven designs on the dials are created using threads of gold and silvers of mother of pearl, in a method derived from the ancient Japanese technique of Raden, which the set bezel beautifully accentuates.

These two watches are also very much investment pieces, with diamonds tending to hold their value well. The reason for this is, despite appearances to the contrary, there aren’t actually many new diamonds coming into circulation every year; with no large-scale deposits having been uncovered anywhere for the past 20 years.

However, if you want your diamonds to be for every day use, then TAG Heuer’s new Link Lady is perfect. It’s a revamp of its 1987 icon and brings back the distinctive S-shaped links from the original but reworked as a woman’s watch for the first time.

It’s classy, classic and could certainly be any woman’s best friend. And that’s not just because of the diamonds.