What are Secret Watches?
In the world of high jewelry, where craftsmanship meets creativity, a unique and intriguing trend is making a comeback—secret watches. Secret watches blend functionality with opulence, offering a discreet way of timekeeping. Here’s everything you should know about secret watches and where to shop the best styles.
What is a Secret Watch?
Secret watches are timepieces disguised as high jewelry pieces. During the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, women wore secret watches to conform to societal expectations, as openly checking the time was deemed inappropriate.
Today, these covert timekeeping accessories, often taking the form of gem-encrusted bracelets or pendants, are gaining popularity and finding a place in the collections of various luxury brands such as Harry Winston, Chanel, and Van Cleef & Arpels.
A History of Secret Watches
Secret watches date back to the 19th century. Back then, there was a clear distinction between gender roles, and it was considered impolite for a woman to sneak a peek at the time. Fortunately, watchmakers and jewelers found a perfect solution: secret watches.
Women started wearing timepieces specifically designed to be disguised as jewelry. Dials were expertly hidden within elaborately bejeweled bracelets, brooches, necklaces, and rings. To reveal the time, wearers could activate a concealed mechanism, often operated by a discreet button or hinge. This would open an embellished cover or slide to expose the hidden watch dial.
As societal norms evolved and women’s roles in society changed, secret watches continued to be a unique and cherished accessory. Even today, these historical artifacts serve as a testament to the creativity and craftsmanship of watchmakers and jewelers who ingeniously combined practicality with fashion in response to the cultural norms of their time.
Shop the Best Secret Watches 2024
Whether you’re dressing up for the evening or keeping it casual during the day, these stunning timepieces are perfect for all occasions.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Alhambra Secret Pendant Watch
Inspired by the iconic Alhambra motif of 1968, this exquisite piece features an 18kt rose gold case with a bezel adorned with round diamonds. The white mother-of-pearl dial adds a touch of sophistication, while the 18kt rose gold chain ensures a seamless blend of elegance, femininity, and functionality. With precision powered by a quartz movement, this secret pendant watch is a harmonious fusion of artistry and craftsmanship.
Ultimate Emerald Signature
This sparkling secret watch embraces the House’s fine diamond heritage. It can be worn as a brooch, pendant, or bracelet with the hidden watch concealed within a precious jewel. Stylish, versatile, and sophisticated, this incredible timepiece adds functional glamor to any outfit—for any occasion.
Serpenti Secret Watch
Bvlgari’s Serpenti Misteriosi Secret Watch pays homage to its spirit animal, artfully capturing the essence of seduction and mystery. The 18kt white gold watch conceals the secret pleasure of time beneath its snakehead, blending sensuality with a hypnotic design. Coiling around the wrist, this timepiece showcases the precious beauty of sparkling diamond scales and the alluring power of sapphire snake eyes.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Ludo Secret Watch
Crafted in 18kt rose gold, the Ludo Secret Watch is adorned with round pink sapphires and features a guilloché white mother-of-pearl dial concealed with precision. Embodying the Maison’s rich tradition of secret watches, the Ludo Watch discreetly conceals its beauty, inviting you to uncover the hidden charm within.
About The Author
Debbie Azar is the Co-Founder and President of Gemological Science International (GSI), one of the largest gemological organizations in the world, and a distinguished leader in the global diamond and jewelry industry. As an executive with extensive knowledge of the jewelry and gem lab industries, her entrepreneurial skills and vision have helped GSI achieve rapid and continuous growth worldwide, establishing 13 leading-edge gemological facilities on four continents. She currently serves on the boards of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, Responsible Jewellery Council, and Jewelers for Children, and is a member of the 24 Karat Club of New York. She has been featured in Forbes, Daily Mail, Good Morning America, Bloomberg, Bloomberg Businessweek, Fox Business, Fox5, CBS2, BOLDTV, Varney&Co, The Street, and NASDAQ, among others.