The fusion of jewels and metals
It was not until the early 20th century that gem-set watches became available and affordable for the broader clientele beyond just nobility and the affluent. But jewellery watches still remained a popular way to show of the wealth of the wearer as especially around the 1940’s the powerful link between the world of fashion and watchmaking became apparent, even further emphasizing jewellery watches as probably the most exclusive subcategory amongst the art of watchmaking.
Around 1541, John Calvin, the leader of the Protestant Reformation movement in Switzerland banned the wearing of jewellery in Europe. An obvious calamity for the jewellers, who in fear for their business quickly found a loophole and started setting precious stones into timepieces to circumvent this prohibition, as the latter went down in history as the catalyst for the inception of the beautiful gem-set timepieces in Switzerland. From gem-setting, to enamelling and engraving, craftsmen used their finest skills, thus greatly raising the standard of luxury and extravagance in the centuries to come.