Arts Month 2024: 14 Stunning Luxury Watches That Double as Wearable Art
These exquisite timepieces give new meaning to “wearing art on your wrist.”
BY Jen Paolini  |  March 29, 2024
6 Minute Read

Louis Vuitton’s Escale Cabinet of Wonders takes inspiration from Gaston-Louis Vuitton’s extensive collection of antique tsuba sword guards and looks to Japanese iconography for its design narratives.

In the world of high-end horology, the time, effort, expertise, and creativity that come together to create an exceptional watch is a feat of artistry in and of itself. Even in this upper echelon, watchmakers go the extra mile to blur the boundaries between decorative art and chronometry, reconsidering the dial as a canvas to showcase the abilities of traditional and modern techniques. Arts Month in Hong Kong may be coming to an end, but the fun continues with these remarkable timepieces that pull double duty as wearable art.

Polished rose-gold Octo Finissimo Automatic Sketch watch by Bulgari featuring a sketched illustration design.
The Octo Finissimo Automatic Sketch features a sketched dial design.


For the newest iteration of the Octo Finissimo and in celebration of its 140th anniversary, Bulgari goes back to the drawing board—quite literally. Available in either steel and rose gold, the Octo Finissimo Automatic Sketch showcases an illustrated dial design based on the original sketch by Bulgari chief watch designer Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani to mirror the components of the movement. Bridges, rotors, rubies, and even finishing elements like circular graining and Côtes de Genève patterning are rendered in great detail, so it almost feels like you are peering straight through the timepiece into the inner mechanics of the watch.

Front and back of the Chopard Imperiale Jumping Hour Ref. 384651-0001 watch, set against a brown background.
Chopard made only eight pieces of this Imperiale Jumping Hour Ref. 384651-0001.


Chopard likes to dazzle, and this limited-edition take on the Imperiale is liberally studded with an assemblage of glittering diamonds. Between that, the 18-carat yellow-gold case, and the detailed Japanese urushi lacquerwork, it’s hard to know where to look first, but the central motif of a rotating flower, buds, and sparrows contrasted against cherry blossoms realised in inlaid mother-of-pearl makes for a good place to start. Another thing is beauty is the open caseback, made of gold and precious jewels to match the design of the dial. Only eight pieces of this Imperiale Jumping Hour Ref. 384651-0001 are available—good luck finding one.

Close-up of the Arceau Mon Premier Galop by Hermès, featuring a textured dial made of silk threads, leather panels, and enamel painting, showing a galloping horse.
Arceau Mon Premier Galop features a textured dial made of silk threads, leather panels, and enamel.


If you’re a fan of Hermès’s colourful Mon Premier Galop shawl, you’ll be happy to know that Tong Ren’s whimsical illustration has now been additionally immortalised on a watch face. Using the timeless Arceau design as a base, the Arceau Mon Premier Galop breathes new life into the galloping horse motif through a puzzle of fine silk threads, meticulous enamelling, striking colour blocks, and leather applications, lending the dial a textural quality that is joyful and lively. Encased in white gold, the round bezel is embellished with 82 diamonds, and there’s a fetching blue calfskin strap to match. It’s available in a numbered edition of 24.


We liked what we saw coming out of Hermès’s workshop so much that we simply had to mention another new release. Ultra-thin and ultra-chic, the Philippe Delhotal-designed Slim d’Hermès watch gets a seasonal makeover, adopting Pierre Marie’s Le Sacre des Saisons scarf drawing into four unique timepieces reflecting spring, summer, winter, and autumn. From white gold to rose gold, baguette-cut diamonds to sapphire crystal and lemon chrysoprase stones, miniature painting techniques and micro-relief engraving to paillonné enamel, the Slim d’Hermès Le Sacre des Saisons quartet utilises a wealth of techniques, materials, and colours, giving shape to a vibrant and fabulous collection that can liven up any outfit.

Louis Vuitton

Now here’s an exquisite release that toes the line between decorative arts and horology: Louis Vuitton’s latest Escale collection. Named Cabinet of Wonders, the trio of watches takes inspiration from Gaston-Louis Vuitton’s extensive collection of antique tsuba sword guards and looks to Japanese iconography for its design narratives. Using a combination of techniques, the bold, three-dimensional motifs come to life on the dial.

Koi’s Garden shows two carp fish swimming in a yin-yang formation, surrounded by diamonds, smoky quartz, and rock crystals. Snake’s Jungle depicts a serpent weaving through an intricate bamboo forest realised through marquetry using wood, straw, and parchment. Dragon’s Cloud—possibly a nod to the Year of the Dragon—sets the mythical creature against a backdrop created through damascening, where different metals are inlayed together.

Sized at 40 mm, the 18-carat white-gold case is further engraved with traditional seigaiha wave patterns, which symbolise good fortune. Another interesting feature is the unique calf-leather strap—each one is finished in a hand-braided design meant to resemble the hilts of Japanese katana swords. Each watch is limited to 20 pieces and price is upon request.

White-gold pocket watch featuring a white egret motif hangs on a handcrafted stand with a curved feather design.
“Portrait of a White Egret” Ref. 995/143G-001 is paired with a bespoke stand for displaying the pocket watch.

Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe’s annual Rare Handcrafts 2024 showcase is almost upon us, and this year’s diverse exhibition promises to be the largest ever presented by the manufacture.

In the watchmaker’s sneak preview of its unique and limited-edition creations, the one-of-a-kind “Portrait of a White Egret” Ref. 995/143G-001 pocket watch stands out as a testament to the maison’s exceptional craftsmanship abilities. Wood marquetry methods were applied to the caseback; veneers and inlays encompassing 18 different species of wood, textures, and veining were used to accomplish a painterly depiction of an elegant egret and its delicate plumage. An orange opal cabochon crowns the watch, repeating the colour of the egret’s bill.

As part of the Rare Handcrafts 2024 collection, this marvel is near impossible to obtain, but for those who’d like to see the piece before it disappears into private hands, the watch will be on display in Geneva from 13 to 27 April and in London from 7 to 16 June, alongside over 80 timepieces comprising dome clocks, table clocks, pocket watches, and wristwatches.

A trio of Vacheron Constantin luxury watches with dials featuring painted reproductions of art by Vincent van Gogh, Winslow Homer, and Claude Monet.
Works by Vincent van Gogh, Winslow Homer, and Claude Monet are among the Met’s vast collection.

Vacheron Constantin

Following its stunning collaboration with the Louvre in Paris, Vacheron Constantin teams up with another world-class museum to turn famous pieces of art into wearable wrist candy.

As the latest instalment of the maison’s “A Masterpiece on Your Wrist” programme, which allows clients to select an artwork to be transformed into a unique, single-piece-edition Les Cabinotiers watch with a hand-painted enamel dial, Vacheron Constantin is working with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to add a vast collection of its paintings and sculptures to the catalogue. Even the back is impressive—the pink-gold oscillating weight of the 2460 SC movement features an engraving of the Met museum façade. Will you be adding Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies or Wheat Field with Cypresses to your collection next?

All images courtesy of their respective brands.