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My personal favorite in the art collection for 2012 is the watch at the top of this article. It uses a Santos-Dumont XL case and displays a horse. The process is actually micro mosaic. From counters to coffee tables, stone or tile, mosaic is a popular and celebrated craft. Here, the art of mosaic work blends with gold engraving. Parts of the horse are engraved gold, while the majority of the dial is a hand-created mosaic of gemstones. According to Cartier, each piece of this limited edition collection requires over 120 hours of work to complete. Each stone must be individually selected, cut, and placed to form the image. This watch is called the Cartier Santos-Dumont XL watch, horse motif, gemstone mosaic and will come in a set of 40 pieces in 18k white gold, and 10 more pieces with diamonds on the case.
Fashion editors and people of those ranks continue to sully the watch world with their questions on style trends and what is going be hot for spring and summer. Brands like to have the people writing for mass audience consumer publications that they advertise in come to the watch shows because it would be awesome for them to get some actual editorial coverage. That unfortunately isn’t going to happen because the average writer and reader of those publications doesn’t know about or care about watches (for the most part, and there are some really great notable exceptions). Unless they are colorful under watches which do get a fair amount of coverage it seems. I am actually glad that the fashion people are there because I want them to see the world I love so much, but my advice to watch brands is to stop pretending that you are fashion brands. Be stalwart that you release nice new watches each year based on a range of factors that hopefully don’t include fashion trends or what is going to look “so hot” in the fall with orange and brown. I know I sound like a snob saying that, but that isn’t what makes this industry tick. This is an industry of half marketing people, have engineers. Each focused on making marketable wrist machines that tell the time for a long time. These items aren’t meant to be (for the most part) disposable, and are intended as lifetime investments. The current fashion industry is about disposable clothes and quickly changing color and style trend announcements so that they have something to actually “write” (list) about. That just doesn’t meld with the watch industry, and I hope it never does.
On the beautifully decorated main dial are solid 18k gold hands showing the time, as well as a subsidiary seconds dial, date dial, and moon phase indicators. Press the lever-style pusher on the left side of the case and the dials opens in two locations to reveal another time indicator and a day/night indicator (used for AM/PM indication). I am really curious to see it all work in person.
It is true that some of what I am suggesting is or has been happening on the product side. There are kid's watches, plenty of them. But do enough of them properly serve as good “gateway watches,” helping a kid step up from watch to watch until they are adults? I am just not sure.
When I wrote my Baselworld 2012 recap, I pointed to this watch as being one of my top picks from the show. There is nothing inherently novel or innovative about it. Nor does it represent a new design direction for Bell & Ross. Still, the piece is extremely appealing and well-done from a design perspective. So why is it still a top pick and great watch from Bell & Ross?