I’m writing this column sitting on a balcony overlooking the coast of Taormina. The sun is still warm – 30 degrees to be precise – and there is no sense that autumn is nearly upon us.
Except, that is, for the stack of fashion magazines beside me; a 300-page reminder of the time of year. Every September, without fail, comes the “back to school” editorial. In every newspaper and magazine we’re urged to put aside light and pretty and lean towards heavy and practical. Cashmere replaces cotton, leather supersedes canvas and palettes shift from vibrant to subdued.
This putting away of summer always feels subdued, quashing a season before it has really hit its stride. That’s why I’m here to champion the recent crop of bracelet watches that feel like the horological equivalent of chasing the sun. The most obvious and fabulous example is the new women’s collection from Tiffany.
A few years ago, Tiffany signalled its now-autonomous watchmaking status with two very cool looking new lines – there was the 1920s inspired East/West, which was a rectangular case with numbers oriented across the wrist, the 12 o’clock in line with your middle finger, and the more sporty CT60 collection for men.
This year, it added its first range that’s solely for women – the Metro. It is, to my mind, the perfect women’s bracelet watch. The dial is inspired by a Patek Tiffany from the 19th century and the unusually linked bracelet, which gives the case its gorgeous curved lugs, was taken from a jewellery piece from the archives.
The piece de resistance is, somewhat surprisingly, a crown adorned with a single serialised diamond, complete with its own individual number. There are leather strap versions and ones with blue and white dials but it is the automatic 34mm version that feels most like a slice of summer on your wrist.
If you want to hold on to the notion that you could still jump on a sailboat and head out into the sunset (one for the OC fans there) then look no further than Omega’s latest Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m, which now comes in a wonderfully murky-grey mother-of-pearl dial and no-diamond bezel. As the name suggests, it can be swum in and, if the new adverts are to be believed, makes you look great on a yacht with Eddie Redmayne.
Finally for a bit of solid St Tropez elegance there’s Tudor’s totally redesigned Clair de Rose line. The stainless steel 34mm version is the perfect piece for swanning about the French Riviera. All you need to do is find the weather for it.