Cartier Ballon Bleu Automatic Women’s Watch WE902048

Written by: Krystal Esquillo

 

The Ballon Bleu de Cartier Watch WE902048 proves that there’s no ignoring a diamond, especially when it is elegantly incorporated within a superior, luxury timepiece.

Whether you’re out for the night or celebrating a special occasion, this accessory will be gleaming. The entire 18-carat white gold watch is coated in rhodium, a precious metal in the platinum group noted for its silvery-white appearance. This reflective, hypoallergenic metal is becoming an increasingly popular choice for jewelry plating due to its ability to give white gold, silver and platinum a more brilliant finish.

Cartier’s Ballon Bleu collection has an immediately recognizable look, its name a reflection of the watch’s visual weightlessness. Rounded on both sides, the pebble-like case appears to hover above the wrist. The crown’s deep blue sapphire cabochon also tricks the eye, almost floating within the protective bubble created by the rhodiumized white gold arch.

A sea of diamonds sparkle on the dial, slightly magnified under the rounded sapphire crystal. The absence of hour markers ensures the focus remains on the brilliant-cut diamonds. No Roman or Arabic numerals compete with the dazzling display—only the Cartier logo and trademark blue, sword-shaped hands stand out against the silver-white field.

Specifications
– 33 mm in diameter, 9.96 mm thickness
– Dial and bezel set with brilliant-cut diamonds
– 18-carat rhodiumized white gold case
– 18-carat rhodiumized white gold bracelet with hidden folding clasp
– Blue sapphire cabochon set in fluted, 18-carat rhodiumized white gold crown
– Sapphire crystal
– Self-winding caliber Cartier 076 mechanical movement
– Water resistant to 30 meters

Pros
The beauty and elegance of the Ballon Bleu de Cartier WE902048 is undeniable. Minimal additional features enable the diamonds to stand out on their own in a simple, yet exquisite way. The status and sophistication of this timepiece make it a great accessory for special evenings and celebrations—and a great gift for that special someone.

Cons
Though many women appreciate diamonds, this style may be overly-extravagant for some. Perhaps another Cartier design with just a diamond-set bezel would be sufficient. Also, the Cartier caliber 076 is an automatic movement, so if it’s not worn daily, it will require frequent winding. Many women do not wear diamond-accented jewelry every day, so that factor may be a deterrent.

If you want an accessory that makes a statement every time it’s worn, the diamond-paved, radiant Ballon Bleu de Cartier Women’s Watch WE902048 is the right decision.

 

Chanel 2012

"In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different." - Coco Chanel

It’s obvious that 2012 is going to be the year of Chanel.
Isn’t every year the year of Chanel?
Well, yes.
But 2012 has gotten off to an exceptionally auspicious start for the pioneer of the little black dress. Awards, runways, a new book and huge new location in one of the hottest shopping districts in London… and that’s just the first three months. While the rest of the retail industry is still feeling the trickle-down effects of austerity measures in many countries, the luxury industry is booming and, after 103 years, Chanel is still a clear leader of the luxury pack.

Earlier this year, at the 10th Annual GEM Awards Gala, Chanel Fine Jewelry received the award for corporate communications in recognition of the company’s “creativity, coherence and excellence in public relations and communications.” The awards ceremony, which is organized by the Jewelry Information Center (the consumer education arm of Jewelers of America), only bestows five awards a year and is considered to be one of the jewelry industry’s most prestigious US events. The gala was held January 6 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City and was hosted by Padma Lakshmi, from Bravo’s “Top Chef,” wearing an impressive gold necklace by Chanel.

Padma Lakshmi at GEM Awards - wearing Chanel neckpiece
Lakshmi at GEM Awards

While Chanel didn’t show collections at the recent Fashion Weeks in London and New York, the brand was still the first name on many lips, the first bag on many arms – and the first look channeled by many new designers. The couture colossus will be showing at the first of three Fashion Weeks in Paris on March 6, however, and is also turning attentions further east later in the month with a series of events planned in Tokyo. (Asia and South America both represent growing markets for luxury goods and are a large part of the reason for the catapulting profitability of luxury retailers in 2011.) An exhibition on March 21 to celebrate Chanel’s iconic black jacket will coincide with the worldwide launch of “The Little Black Jacket,” Karl Lagerfeld’s photographic tribute to the ubiquitous wardrobe staple. Chanel will also reproduce its 2012 Spring-Summer Haute Couture show in downtown Tokyo on March 22, to be followed by the dedication of a temporary Chanel boutique the following day.

Chanel: The Little Black Jacket

As if all this wasn’t excitement enough for the chic centenarian, Chanel won approval this month to build a new 20,000 square foot store on Bond Street in London. One of the most expensive and fashionable strips of real estate in the world, Bond Street the home of the famed Sotheby’s auction house and London’s Fine Art Society as well as shops bearing names like Armani, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Gucci, Bulgari, Dior and Prada. The new Chanel edifice will likely include office space to house Chanel’s UK headquarters as well as provide plenty of retail room for fashion, accessories and jewelry. No address has yet been released; Chanel already has a Chanel Boutique, a Chanel Fine Jewelry and a Chanel Designer Handbags and Shoes on Bond Street.

Chanel Bond Street Locations on Map
A – Boutique, B – Fine Jewelry, C – Designer Handbags and Shoes

Founded in 1932 by Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel, Chanel Joaillerie also happens to be celebrating its eightieth anniversary this year. The first collection, “Bijoux de diamants,” was a tribute to Coco’s favorite stone – the diamond.

"Bijoux de diamants" Selections from Chanel Joaillerie 1932 Collection
“Bijoux de diamants”

The Michele Appeal Pt. Two: Reasons Why Michele is Experiencing Growth

Michele watches embody luxury and are well-made with awesome materials that lend themselves to fabulous design. Listed below are more reasons why the Michele brand is taking advantage of this economy and experiencing growth and success.

Materials

Said to be a girl’s best friend, diamonds have mass appeal and are a main characteristic of most Michele watches, with many selections flaunting over 100 diamonds. Michele watches add a touch of classic elegance with mother-of-pearl dials topped off by scratch-resistant sapphire crystals. The Tahitian styles feature stainless steel and smooth ceramic with a couple of selections highlighting ceramic with stainless steel reinforcement to add durability to the scratch resistance of the bracelet. The playful Tahitian Jelly Bean collection by Michele offers an array of colorful case-integrated rubber straps securing sun dial stainless steel chronographs, mineral crystals and enamel dials. Straps come in rubber, silicone, leather, patent leather, stingray and alligator, with many strap styles featuring nautical-inspired gold grommets and buckles. Bracelets are made of stainless steel, with many styles coated with 18 karat gold and rose gold. Michele is one of very few watchmakers that push the edge of the envelope when selecting materials to fashion their watches while competitors stick within comfortable boundaries and never deviate beyond ceramic.

Price

And with all the unique materials, Swiss-made movements, diamonds-galore and fashionable designs, Michele watches are luxury within reason. While competitors lack any risk with materials and stick within trends with designs that look so much like everyone else, yet still demand over $5000 per watch, Michele respects paying customers a bit more and gives them something worth their modest price tags. It seems that more so-called luxury brands are products of a great marketing schematic aimed at the audience that associates value with high cost. That kind of audience thinks that if it’s expensive, it must be good, and they fall for it without questioning the material, the craftsmanship, the watchmaker. Michele is one luxury brand that doesn’t underestimate its audience and offers a quality, high-end product that’s aptly priced.

 

Michele Sport Sail
With 96 diamonds, the Michele Sport Sail watch is aptly-priced at $1995.

 

The Michele Sport Sail pictured above features a rose-gold plated stainless steel bracelet and case, 96 diamonds which total almost half a carat, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and Swiss movement, complete with a sun dial chronograph against a white enamel backdrop. Considering the real gold and the insane amount of diamonds, the watch is aptly priced at $1995, a steal compared to other brands that make you wonder what you pay for when you shell out over five grand for something that’s not even half as brilliant. Michele offers many entry-level, well-designed styles that cost under five hundred, but when the diamonds kick in, expect to pay between $1200 and $3500 for a complete timepiece. Two grand leaves you with more than enough change to pick up a few interchangeable straps and bracelets, which range from $100 to $600, depending on material and texture.

 

Interactivity and Customization

Speaking of interchangeable straps, Michele offers a wide array of customization, bringing an easy to use watch bar to their website. While other brands sink most of their marketing budget into their super-snazzy website, they alienate customers by making their websites difficult to load and their customization area difficult to use and they’re shady when it comes to pricing. Most luxury brands don’t even mention price until you’ve finished customizing and indicating where you’d like to pick up your watch. When they finally do reveal the price, it’s in print so small that you have to hunt for the bottom line. To me, that displays a lack of confidence behind a product and again, is remnant of a company that’s betting on the naiveté of their target audience and hoping that you’ll just buy the damn thing without asking questions. Michele is a transparent brand that seeks only to serve their customers with unique materials, fine craftsmanship and an easy-to-use interactive customization area that allows you to pair different straps with varied watch heads so you won’t be shopping in the dark. Michele.com is a fresh powder-white website, which allows their collections to pop like paint against canvas while many competitors drape their websites in minimalist black and lack the descriptive text that puts online buyers at ease. Eventually, everything comes to light and Michele is already there, waiting on you to make the best buying decision to date.

The Michele Appeal: Five Reasons Why Michele is Experiencing Growth

Michele watches are increasingly popular. They’re luxurious, well-made with lavish materials and, compared to competitors in the same class, they’re very well-priced.

Listed below are some reasons why the Michele brand is experiencing more growth than its competitors, even in this stagnant economy.

 

Workmanship

Michele isn’t one of those watch companies that sprouted up from nowhere, slapped together some materials and deemed themselves worthy of five grand a pop. Michele’s authenticity stems from a much more humble source. In 2004, watchmaker Fossil, Inc needed a Swiss-made female answer to their newly acquired Zodiac license and looked to the Barouh family’s growing brand of brilliant watches that paired sophistication with robust energy. What began in Latin America as a popular line of children’s watches quickly developed into an avant-garde hit in the United States as Michele debuted the CSX-Diamond Chronograph that catapulted the company’s success and garnered Fossil’s attention. Fossil, no doubt interested in the Barouh family’s long story, placed the brand in the midst of a wide audience, hungry for a product that paired high luxury with the keen workmanship that had become synonymous with the Fossil name. Fossil gave it Swiss movement and refined Michele’s processes and materials, which thrusted the brand into the high-end market where it has seen unbounded success.

Inbound Marketing

Perpetuating Michele’s success is an inbound approach to marketing. Rather than spend millions on advertising over television and radio, Michele seems to do just fine by providing engaging content that has people buzzing about the watches’ designs. Michele  has both a Facebook and a Twitter page, each with thousands of followers and fans. With multiple daily posts, the watchmaker has created a community of people interested in the newest fashions and designs Michele has to offer. On its Facebook page, the company posts updates of contests, new product launches and trade shows. By creating and posting content that is relatable and relevant to its key demographics, Michele saves millions of advertising dollars and still grows a wide audience. It would do well, however, to include information that does’t push its products so much that they alienate visitors who have been trained to avoid such heavy bombardment of product pushing, advertisement and other outbound marketing. By posting information that reveals little known aspects about Michele’s history, the watch industry and the inside of the company, the current 12,422 fans on Facebook can only grow as the company becomes more revered as a vessel of knowledge and seem less like just another channel to pump products through.

Next, we’ll finish up with the three remaining reasons attributing to Michele’s success in this economy. Prices play a huge role in the market for high-end luxury and you definitely get quality when you pay for it. We’ll even discover another marketing tool the company uses to ensure it’s success in part two of the series.

Philippe Charriol continues expansion in Southeast Asia

Written by: Mike Demertzis
French entrepreneur Philippe Charriol invited more than 100 guests to the opening of his second boutique in the Southeast Asian city of Singapore on October 28th 2011.

Among the invited celebrities and watch connoisseurs attending, Mirar Link ltd. owners Gary and Sara Khoo announced they would be the sole distributor of Charriol products in Singapore. They are the owners of the Spectacle Hut chain eyewear stores. During the announcement Mr. Khoo recalled, “It actually started with us selling Charriol eyewear that brought us closer to Mr.Charriol himself.” Their elation with this new exclusive distribution deal was evident. They are also planning to expand into Malaysia within the next few years with the complete line of Charriol products which will also include leather goods, cologne and eyewear.

 

 

Celtica Chronograph

The festive atmosphere was joined by Mr. Benoit Deroual, Sales and Marketing Director of Philippe Charriol International who along with the Khoo’s commenced with the ribbon cutting ceremony. Befitting for this opening ceremony was the golden model of a large Celtic torque that adorned the room reminding all of the ‘Celtic’ influence evident in the newest creation of the Charriol line. This luxury timepiece is the fourth generation chronograph that continues to enamor Charriol connoisseurs worldwide. It is available in 26 and 38mm diameters, the bezel is notched with eight gadroons in steel or a PVD gold two-tone treatment. The watch is set with 32 diamonds, quartz movement and features the new herringbone motif cable bracelet with the patented, Charriol clasp.

Philippe Charriol has become one of the largest luxury watch manufacturers in the world since he founded the company in the early 80s after relinquishing his position as ‘Executive Director’ at Cartier. He expounded on the stellar rise of his company by recalling the ‘early days’ when he started his ‘Luxury Watch’ brand by saying, “It was like jumping from a moving train, you need a bit of craziness to do it.” On November 7th, Charriol celebrated the re-opening of ‘Charriol Corner’ inside the famed Mitsukoshi A8 Department store in Taipei. The event was hosted by actress and model Maggie Wu who became the ‘Philippe Charriol Brand Ambassadress’ for the ceremony.

Although a success story like Philippe Charriol is not common, what does remain a constant is that success and quality go hand in hand. This luxury brand has proven this by providing its clientele with fashionable designs, quality and driven by the entrepreneurial spirit of Philippe Charriol.