Diamonds on a watch is a great way to dress up a timepiece, regardless of the material of the case and bracelet. At one point in time, diamonds were only used on precious metal watches like gold and platinum. Yet, these days it is not uncommon to find stainless steel watches paired with precious gemstones. While most luxury watch brands offer diamond options in their catalogs, there are several standout models. Here’s our guide to popular diamond watches.
Not only is the Patek Philippe Nautilus a highly coveted luxury watch model right now, but the ultra-lavish diamond versions are also having a major moment. There is something appealing about the contrast between the sporty silhouette of the Nautilus watch—characterized by a porthole shaped case, rounded eight-sided bezel, and integrated bracelet—and a dash of dazzling diamonds. The majority of the ladies’ Nautilus models, which are available in stainless steel or rose gold, come with the option of a diamond-set bezel. There are also a few diamond watch options within the men’s Nautilus range including the Nautilus Moon Phase model with diamond-set bezels, strap attachments, and clasps. But the most coveted diamond watch within Patek’s sporty lineup is the white gold Nautilus 5719/10G with about 1,343 diamonds blanketing the case, dial, and bracelet.
Case/Dial: 40mm White gold, Silver and 18kt White Gold
120 meters / 400 feet
Movement: Patek Philippe, Self-winding
Functions: Date, Calendar, 45h power reserve
Strap: 18kt White Gold
Another famous luxury sports watch collection that offers diamond watches is the Royal Oak by Audemars Piguet. Released in the early 1970s (a handful of years before the Nautilus) the Royal Oak is one of the most recognizable watches ever made thanks to its bold design combining an octagonal bezel, eight-sided case, and integrated bracelet. Over the years, many Royal Oak models have benefited from the diamond treatment.Royal Oak diamond watches are available in a range of sizes and a variety of metals including stainless steel and yellow, white, and rose gold. Diamonds on the Royal Oak are typically found set into the bezel but there are select models entirely diamond paved, from the case and dial to the bezel and bracelet. Furthermore, although most Audemars Piguet Royal Oak diamond watches are time and date versions, there are also some more complicated diamond models including chronographs and tourbillons.
Case/Dial: 34mm Steel, Blue
Movement: Royal Oak, Self-winding
Functions: Date, Calendar, 50h power reserve
Released in 2007, the Ballon Bleu is a relatively new watch by Cartier yet it features many classic hallmarks of the brand like blue sword-shaped hands, Roman numerals, and elegant proportions. The Ballon Bleu is French for “Blue Balloon” and the watch takes its name after the blue cabochon stone-set winding crown that appears to be floating within the side of the curvy round case.
Like most Cartier watch collections, the Ballon Bleu is unisex with sizes and styles available for men and women. And some of the most popular ones are the diamond Ballon Bleu models, which can range from a few diamond hour markers to diamond bezels to entirely diamond encrusted watches.
Case/Dial: 42mm 18K Pink Gold, Silver
120 meters / 400 feet
Functions: Central 60 Second Hand, Date
Strap: Red crocodile skin
In 1993, Chopard launched the Happy Sport as the first watch to combine stainless steel and diamonds. Similar to the preceding Chopard Happy Diamonds watch, the Happy Sport also features the signature floating diamonds—freely moving around between two sapphire crystals. Since then, Happy Sport has become an iconic diamond watch design and one of Chopard’s most popular models. Chopard has offered the Happy Sport diamond watch in an assortment of styles over the years, including different case shapes such as square, round, and oval, in addition to a variety of metal bracelets and leather straps. Gold models have also joined the original stainless steel Happy Sport editions, including some diamond-set cases. Plus, along with classic round-cut diamonds moving around the face of the watch, Chopard has also made diamond charms like hearts, snowflakes, fish, and four-leaf clovers.
Functions: Date, 45h power reserve
Before watches, Jacob & Co. was known for its diamond jewelry and the company’s founder was affectionately known as “Jacob the Jeweler.” In the early 2000s, Jacob & Co. started making watches, first popular for its Five Time Zone model, and today, the brand is famous for its imaginative timepieces, particularly the high horology creations. Staying faithful to the original spirit of jewelry making, Jacob & Co.’s watches are decked out in diamonds and other opulent gemstones. Jacob & Co. has a habit of making one-off high jewelry timepieces, like the Billionaire watch set with 260 carats of emerald-cut diamonds and priced at $18 million—and now owned by boxer Floyd Mayweather. However, Jacob & Co. boasts plenty of extravagant diamond watches in its regular lineup too.
Movement: JCFM05, Self-winding
Functions: Tourbillon, 50h power reserve
While it is, of course, clear that high-end watch brands employ master watchmakers to produce luxury timepieces, what is often overlooked is that they also frequently have master jewelers and gem setters under their roofs. It is only with this type of technical ability and expert craftsmanship that these top-tier timepiece brands can create some of the finest diamond watches in the world.