6 Iconic watch brands – the women who made them famous
Classic style affairs between Liz and Bulgari, Grace and Rolex.
Take it from these extremely stylish women: The key to looking timeless is a classic timepiece. Iconic watches like the Rolex Datejust look as contemporary today as they did decades ago, underscoring the impressive staying power of a good time-teller. Below, Hollywood legends and stylish royals who have come to be associated with a classic watch. Each offers visual proof that sleek lines with a touch of glamour are always chic (a few styles included here are more than 100 years old).
1. Verdura + Greta Garbo
It’s hard to top a legend like Fifth Avenue jeweler Verdura. Funded in part by Cole Porter and Vincent Astor in the late 1930s and headed by designer and society man-about-town Fulco Verdura, these spectacular creations have gone on to acquire almost mythical status among the world’s fashionable elite. The brand’s classic yellow gold “Curb Link” watch was designed for Greta Garbo (seen wearing it in 1941) and crafted to be supremely comfortable, allowing the actress to wear it regularly for decades.
2. Van Cleef & Arpels + the Duchess of Windsor
Prince Edward, the Duke of Windsor, commissioned Van Cleef & Arpels to create a number of h istorically important items for Wallis Simpson, The Duchess of Windsor. The Ruby Cadenas timepiece, whose design was said to be overseen by the Duke himself in 1935, recently returned to the house’s collection, further cementing the official relationship between woman and brand.
3. Cartier + Catherine Deneuve
The recognizable shape of the Cartier Baignoire helps give the watch its name; it translates literally to mean “bath,” a la its oval face. The style, created in 1906, matches actress Catherine Deneuve’s timeless Parisian style perfectly. Prior to the actress’ adoption of the style, the house had been an exclusive jeweler known only to those well-heeled enough to be a customer; with the popularization courtesy of Deneuve, it morphed into more of a global luxury brand.
4. Rolex + Grace Kelly
Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, is still famous for her flawless style. Equal parts Philadelphia pedigree, Hollywood glamor, and European royalty, she’s a triple threat of unbeatable iconic status. Her watch of choice, the Rolex Lady-Datejust, was introduced in 1957 as a scaled-down version of the brand’s sporty chronometer. The men’s original was intended for diving, climbing, and exploring; it’s easy to imagine the women’s style was crafted for women like the princess who needed a watch for seaside vacations. That mix of elegance and sport is still coveted by those looking to echo her classic vibe.
5. Bulgari + Elizabeth Taylor
The use of snakes in jewelry dates back to ancient times and has roots in almost every culture and religion on earth. It also serves as creative inspiration for Italian jeweler Bulgari (the brand has been incorporating serpents into their designs since the 1940s). The coiled Serpenti watch, gifted to and worn by Elizabeth Taylor on the set of Cleopatra in 1962, hasn’t let go of its sartorial hold since Taylor—her personal life in the spotlight due to the beginnings of a rampant affair with Richard Burton—made it famous.
6. Piaget + Elizabeth Taylor
Introduced in 1957, the Piaget Altiplano is best known for its precise, ultra-thin movement. Glamorous stone dials are also a hallmark of the brand, with a new opal and diamond Altiplano style similar to the one worn by the mega-star while vacationing with Richard Burton in Sardinia in August 1967. (That Taylor, a renowned jewelry lover, should make the list twice ought to come as no surprise).