Valentine's gifts of time-significance: what 14th February means for Audrey Humbert

Valentine's gifts of time-significance: what 14th February means for Audrey Humbert

Beyond giving and receiving, the time we set aside for others will always embody the most precious of gestures. We asked Watchonista contributor, Audrey Humbert, to reveal her deepest watchmaking aspirations... with somewhat vintage results.

If St. Valentine's Day were not such a commercial event and you had all the money in the world, which timepiece would you give your companion in life?

My choice would be an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the 39 mm diameter Jumbo model with 2120 extra-flat calibre and blue dial. To my mind, that watch has all the ingredients of an icon. It's not only in harmony with the watchmaking tradition with its extra-flat movement and finishing combining skill and design. It's also rare and accessible at the same time. It's the perfect watch for stilling a unique fleeting moment, because it's so timeless. It accompanies our lives, it serves as a keeper of our time and our memories. 

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra-Thin 39mm

How would you present the gift?

The moment of giving should be truly unforgettable, worthy of every penny it costs. It's a luxury watch. Why? Because it's a tribute to all the most important moments in a lifetime. It carries a little piece of us in its heart. I would choose a place I don't often go, by the water's edge, because I love the water. And because it reflects the deep blue of the dial. And I would organise a sophisticated, elaborate dinner especially for the evening, but without stealing the limelight from the Royal Oak. After all, it warrants as much attention as the original maker devoted to its making. To capture such a magical moment in time, it would need to be a simple, magical place.

Christophe Claret Marguerite

And if your companion were to offer you a watch for St. Valentine's Day without asking you first, which model should he choose?

Therein lies the problem! I would almost certainly opt for the same one for all the above reasons, because there's not so much choice for women in search of pure watchmaking. But then again, I'd rather borrow his.... and keep mine safely for myself. So it's difficult for me to say, because there are so many watches I love. A Rolex Day Date, for example, with Stella dial, or an all-gold model with guilloché dial. Or a Lange 1 because of its ideal proportions and lovely display. As far as complications are concerned, I love perpetual calendars, or split-seconds chronographs, as they are more elegant in their time-telling than the traditional 3-counter displays. But then again, the models that occur to me tend to be men's vintage timepieces. If I were to go for a jewellery item, I would be very partial to the poetical complications of Van Cleef and Arpels. The name alone sums up everything they have to offer, while being simple enough to wear without too many airs and graces. I'm also a fan of Christophe Claret's daisy themed watches, even though I can't see myself wearing a watch that doesn't reflect my personality. And if money were no object..... it would probably be the GrandCliff Milady Royal Retro by Pierre DeRoche. It's a little known model combining feminine aesthetics and a noteworthy watchmaking complication. Something you can wear everyday, but an elegant, subtle piece with a strong character. 

Pierre DeRoche GrandCliff Milady Royal Retro

And what is your ideal context or situation for receiving such a gift?

Somewhere completely crazy! Like at the top of the Eiffel Tower or the Bhurj Khalifa. So as to magnify the emotions of the moment.