Increasingly, watchmakers are integrating rare, unusual and occasionally bizarre materials into limited edition luxury timepieces.
Swiss luxury watchmaker, HYT, has created a series of funky, futuristic watches that have liquid filled capillaries, instead of hands, to tell the time. Invest in one of only 25 H1 Sand Barth watches, and you’ll have sand grains from a gorgeous Caribbean beach on your wrist.
Connoisseurs of fine Cuban cigars can opt for the limited edition H1 Cigar. The titanium and bronze masterpiece has the crushed leaves of a Vitola Rodolfo cleverly injected into the outer casing.
ArtyA, creator of unique avant garde luxury watches, has an extraordinary collection of high-end pieces. Delicate butterfly wings, and bullets and cartridges, are the defining characteristics of the Son of Earth, and Son of a Gun series of watches, respectively.
The Son of Earth Tobacco is yet another luxurious cigar-themed watch that has a beautifully textured dial constructed from a genuine tobacco leaf.
The aptly named Jurassic Tourbillion has a dial crafted from authentic fossilised dinosaur bones. The series, by Louis Moinet, is limited to just 12 pieces. Luxury features include diamond set bezels and an 18 karat white gold casing.
The ‘certified original’ dinosaur bones are reputed to be more than 150 million years old, and are from an herbivorous species of the late Jurassic Period. According to recent estimates, you can expect to pay around R2.2 million for a pre-owned piece of prehistory.
Swiss watchmaker, Romain Jerome, is renowned for integrating the actual pieces from legendary vessels and spacecraft into his watches. One of his latest themed collections, Earth Eyjafjallajökull DNA, features volcanic dust and lava rock as elements of each piece.
The material, collected from the notorious Icelandic volcano that erupted in 2010, has been processed to form the dials and bezel material of the unique ‘fire and ice’ luxury watch collection.
The highly desirable series of chunky men’s watches is limited to only 99 pieces.
Watch dials made from genuine silk, embossed with intricate motifs, and studded with brilliant cut diamonds are just one of the novelty watch collections by Harry Winston in 2017. Casings are made from 18 Karat gold, and surrounded by more than 80 flawless diamonds.
Other luxury combinations emanating from the American jeweller are lace and mother of pearl, butterfly marquetry and diamonds, and exotic feathers and white or rose gold.
The feathers of silver quail, guinea fowl, peacock or pheasant are beautifully composed to create truly exclusive ladies’ timepieces, which are neatly finished off with thin satin straps.
German watchmaker, Scalfaro, specialises in constructing luxury men’s watches that include parts of iconic racing cars. All are limited edition watches that feature the actual material of the original Aston Martin DB4GTZ, Ferrari 250 GTO, Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, and E-Type Jaguar racing cars.
Many of the collections are made in collaboration with racing engineers and engine developers to provide the most authentic memorabilia of the track. Current prices range between R100 000 and R120 000 per watch.
Limited edition timepieces are collectible, high-value assets.
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