Bucherer Masterworks: Gem Set Watches

Jeweled Horological Marvels: Rare Gem-Set Wonders From Bucherer's Masterworks

As gem-set watches reach unprecedented heights in terms of popularity – and creativity – we shine a spotlight on some of those curated by Bucherer Masterworks, a contemporary customer stage and experience showcasing rare, outstanding masterpieces of haute horlogerie.

By Ash Longet
PR & Business Development

Situated right in the heart of Lucerne, on the prestigious Schwanenplatz, , you will find Bucherer's flagship boutique, a sanctum of time-honored luxury.

Spread over four floors connected by moving stairs – rather useful when you’re welcoming hundreds of visitors every day, even in post-pandemic times – the boutique houses the treasured Masterworks area.

The Masterworks concept – which we visited a couple months ago within the Geneva flagship boutique – is presented in the form of an exclusive in-store space. Here, Bucherer gathers brands and watches that, in the retailer’s discerning eyes, have transcended the limits of contemporary fine watchmaking through boundless imagination and inventive brilliance.

During our previous visit to Bucherer's Masterworks, we explored intricate technical features and complications created by both renowned and niche brands. This time we're shifting gears and diving into the alluring world of gem-set complicated timepieces.

Gem-Setting: Decoration or Complication?

“Gem-setting is not just a decoration,” says Olivier Gantenbein, Bucherer's Head of Haute Horlogerie. “It’s a tribute to an art form that demands as much finesse as crafting a complicated masterpiece. It is a complication in its own right where a master has been at work.”

I can only agree. In the labyrinthine realm of haute horlogerie, there exists a transcendent art, one that beckons us unlike any other. It’s a world where timepieces cease to be mere instruments of timekeeping and instead become opulent canvases adorned with the rarest and most exquisite gems the earth can bestow.

Setting precious gems into a timepiece is an art that can rival the complexity of crafting a grand complication. The objective is to maximize the luminous effulgence of these gems, allowing light to enter and be kissed by their facets, at that perfect angle. It is a delicate ballet where the encircling metal must be meticulously minimized, for the more metal that surrounds the gem, the more it absorbs light rather than reflecting and refracting it.

There has been a notable evolution within watchmaking that has shattered the conventions of gendered timepieces: Traditionally, jewelry watches were considered the purview of women, but the winds of change have blown open new avenues.

This not only signifies a transformation in luxury watchmaking, but also underscores the dissolution of traditional gender boundaries in haute horlogerie.

Masterworks’ Extraordinary Gem-Set Watches

When I tasked Olivier Gantenbein with the challenge of handpicking three modern gem-set watches that are both technically and aesthetically complex, I was astounded by his selection. It highlights the remarkable breadth of options that can be explored at Bucherer. Here's what he selected for us.

H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Tourbillon Rainbow

One of the prevailing high-end trends over recent years has been the emergence of factory rainbow gem-set watches. H. Moser & Cie. joined this rapidly expanding segment, seamlessly merging its distinctive brand of luxurious minimalism with one of its most captivating mechanisms, the tourbillon, all encased in a deceptively simple gem-set bezel design.

The Streamliner Tourbillon Rainbow in 5N red gold presents a sleek and remarkably elegant interpretation of the gem-set integrated bracelet sports watch, skillfully harmonizing simplicity and splendor.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon

Vacheron Constantin's Traditionnelle Tourbillon is a reverie in diamonds, a timepiece that marries traditional craftsmanship with the enchantment of gem-setting, acknowledging VC’s strong female collector community.

This masterpiece is adorned with more than 200 round-cut diamonds on the case, lugs, and bezel. Nearly 50 brilliant-cut diamonds illuminate the mother-of-pearl dial and let the mechanical centerpiece of this watch – its tourbillon – sparkle and shine.

Chopard Alpine Eagle Summit with Tsavorite-Set Bezel

Chopard has fused the precision of Swiss watchmaking with the marvels of nature with this 41mm timepiece, endowed with a dial in a luminous silverish shade and a bezel set with a soft tsavorite gradient. The vibrant tsavorite bezel reflects Chopard's commitment to sustainable luxury, offering a unique and ethically responsible gem-set timepiece.

Final thoughts

Bucherer's attention to detail in selecting top-tier watches is truly impressive. If you ever find yourself torn between a few timepieces and want to compare them, or if you're seeking expert advice, Bucherer's Masterworks is the place to visit. Their unique customer experience goes beyond the ordinary, making watch shopping an immersive adventure you won't want to miss.

So, don't forget to visit the stunning four-story Bucherer boutique in Lucerne during your next trip to Switzerland, and prepare to be dazzled. Quite literally!

To find out more, please visit the Bucherer website.

(Photography by Papillon, video by Johan Corminboeuf)

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