Watches

Animal inspired watch trend from Watches and Wonders

Animal inspired watches were one of the key trends from the Watches and Wonders fair. We showcase the best animal inspired styles from Patek Philippe's Monkey watch to Gucci's bees to Cartier's La Panthère watch

8 April 2022

By Kim Parker

Nature has been a perennial theme in the world of watchmaking, and this year’s animal inspired watches are no exception. Recreating everything from the tiniest insect to the largest land mammal on Earth, in abstract or figurative forms, 2022’s most inventive timepieces are a tribute to the myriad creatures that share our world.

Today’s wild new watches actually tap into a centuries-old history of decorative artistry, showcasing intricate artisanal skills like goldsmithing, marquetry, enamelling and jewel setting to evoke fur, feathers, scales and wings. And with canvases no wider than 40mm, these lavishly-adored timepieces could be considered miniature museum pieces. Patek Philippe even mounted an exhibition of its latest rare handicrafts during the annual Watches & Wonders fair in Geneva. Held at its own museum, the display included 25 one-of-a-kind wristwatches with dials hand-painted in colourful enamel, depicting monkeys, Namibian elephants, birds and lizards.

Here, our six favourite new animal inspired watches worth dreaming about right now.

Indomptables de Cartier La Panthère watch, by Cartier
Indomptables de Cartier La Panthère watch, by Cartier

Cartier‘s new double-headed panther watch is inspired by a leopard spotted timepiece from 1914. Its form is a tribute to Jeanne Toussaint, the brand’s trailblazing creative director who was nicknamed ‘the panther’ and worked for the company from 1933 until she retired in 1970. Crafted in yellow gold, with diamonds and green tsavorite eyes, it bears two biting leopard heads attached to its lugs. One of these is actually the watch clasp, allowing for a smooth, buckle-free bracelet.

Serpenti Misteriosi High Jewellery watch, by Bulgari
Serpenti Misteriosi High Jewellery watch, by Bulgari

Part secret watch, part bejewelled bracelet, Bulgari‘s Serpenti Misteriosi watch pays homage to the house’s signature emblem, the snake. Its rose gold head contains pear-cut diamond eyes and a golden tongue which acts as a clasp, opening its mouth to reveal a removable diamond-studded watch. The snake’s coiled body is adorned with sleek black lacquer, creating the impression of gleaming scales.

Golden Ellipse Monkey watch Ref. 5738/50G-014 by Patek Philippe
Golden Ellipse Monkey watch Ref. 5738/50G-014 by Patek Philippe

Crafted from white gold, Patek Philippe‘s squirrel monkey watch is a truly portable piece of art. The house’s enamel artist use ultra thin yellow gold wire to carefully pick out the outline of the creature and its surroundings, then delicately rendered the details fur and foliage with a palette of 25 different coloured enamels. More hand-painted enamel decoration provided a final flourish, and the dial was then fired 15 times at temperatures of more than 800 centigrade.

G-Timeless 40mm Tourbillon Watch with Dancing Bees, by Gucci
G-Timeless 40mm Tourbillon Watch with Dancing Bees, by Gucci

Keen to up its haute watchmaking prowess, Gucci has introduced a collection of precious gold and diamond watches with ornamental stone dials. The shimmering face of this watch was created with a mosaic of opal slivers, carefully set around tiny white gold bees, which are hinged so that they rotate and ‘dance’ whenever the watch moves.

DG7 Leo watch, by Dolce & Gabbana
DG7 Leo watch, by Dolce & Gabbana

How is this for wild? Dolce & Gabbana’s DG7 Leo is crafted from pink gold timepiece and set with white, brown and black diamonds to evoke the spot pattern of a great cat. A watch that definitely roars, rather than purrs.

Mademoiselle Privé Cage Long Necklace secret watch, by Chanel Haute Horlogerie
Mademoiselle Privé Cage Long Necklace secret watch, by Chanel Haute Horlogerie

Chanel‘s latest secret watch is a romantic ode to a tiny jewelled bird cage that Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel kept on the coffee table of her 31 Rue Cambon apartment in Paris. The diminutive golden cage charm houses two love birds crafted in yellow gold and Akoya pearls and is threaded onto an opera-length necklace with 132 brilliant-cut diamonds. At its base, the charm houses a diamond-studded watch with a high precision quartz movement.

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