The return of luxury

David Morris has created a ruby necklace with a 5 million pound price tag and Graff has created its first 1 million pound watch.

Outrageous watch and jewellery price tags are back.

 As the cash dried up in the recession so did the flash. but as the economy starts to revive, the super high-end’s fervour for exquisite designs and outrageous price tags has resurfaced. Be reminded of just what’s possible with these new creations by David Morris and Graff, shown exclusively to Professional Jeweller.

Super-luxe watches and jewellery have become almost taboo and were seen as insensitive in an environment where stock markets were crashing and unemployment numbers were rising. Even Hollywood toned down its lavish love affair with opulence, with demure stars showing up at this year’s Oscars with token pieces of jewellery rather than dripping in the kind of hedonistic diamond designs that last year incited much negative press attention.

But as the economy begins to show signs of recovery, brands are becoming less afraid to once again create flashy, expensive pieces. The lessons we’ve learned from the recession might mean that the last days of decadence have been and gone, but luxury will always have its place in the watch and jewellery industry, and there are some exciting and inspiring pieces emerging from the workshops.

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No company epitomises luxury better than Graff and last month it took luxury to a new level when it unveiled its MasterGraff Tourbillon Platinum Limited Edition watch, which at £1 million is the most expensive ever made. While there have been US$1 million watches – such as Hublot’s One Million Dollar Big Bang designed by Jean-Claude Biver – there has not yet been a watch that has achieved a six-figure price tag in pounds outside of private commissions.

The hyper-expensive toubillon is bedecked in Graff rocks. The bezel, dial, lugs and crown are decorated with large stones, and even the movement is set with baguette diamonds. It took the designers a year to complete the £1 million timepiece and there will only be five made, all sold in Graff boutiques.

“We enrich always, being in the world of Graff,” says Graff Luxury Watches chief executive Michel Pitteloud. “Instead of the mosaic setting with small stones, it’s all made with large stones, and stones like these, which are about 1ct, have to be cut down from 2ct.”

In the jewellery world, luxury designer David Morris has just completed a special ruby necklace that will sell for more than £5 million. The necklace from the brand’s new Amira collection, which features in this month’s exclusive Professional Jeweller cover shoot, was designed by creative director and managing director Jeremy Morris.

Morris has selected some of the world’s rarest stones for the 18ct white gold necklace which features strings of Burmese rubies weighing 782.56cts and 56.53cts of white Golconda diamonds and has a detachable centrepiece.

While the rest of this issue is dedicated to not losing sight of commerciality in the post-recession marketplace, it’s important to remind ourselves of the amazing pieces of art produced by our industry and just what is possible in the world of high-end jewellery and watches.

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