At the Grammys, billionaire artist Taylor Swift wore a choker necklace made by jeweller Lorraine Scwartz that was adorned with a small watch with diamonds around the bezel. Throughout the evening as she accepted two awards, including Album of the Year for her album “Midnights,” (making her the first-ever artist to win the honor four times) viewers could see the time on the watch was set to… you guessed it, midnight.
The horological sleuths over at GQ and Hodinkee have reported that the watch itself is a Concord, a defunct brand that once supplied pieces to Cartier and Tiffany, that was put on a band of mixed-cut black stones by Schwartz. Swift paired it with a white custom Schiaparelli gown.
Wearing watches as necklaces is a long tradition, dating back to the 19th century or even earlier. Prior to that, watches were almost entirely the purview of men, who kept pocket watches. Women in high society, the only ones who could have afforded such things, wore elaborate dresses that did not come equipped with pockets. Eventually they began requesting small timepieces that came attached to items of jewellery, like bracelets and necklaces. The first watch for the wrist, according to some sources, was worn by Queen Elizabeth I as early as 1571—but the style did not come into fashion until after 1810, when women of royal birth began to have jewellers create them.
Watch necklaces have come into fashion in recent years. At last year’s Watches & Wonders trade fair in Geneva, Piaget, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Van Cleef & Arpels and Chanel all showcased watches on chains to be worn around the neck, a style called sautoirs.
The style of a sautoir is to have the watch face upside down, so that the wearer can lift it and read the time. As such, it’s not particularly legible to someone facing the wearer. Taylor’s choker follows in the tradition of the $670,000, diamond encrusted Jacob & Co. watch that Rihanna wore to Pharrell’s inaugural fashion show for Louis Vuitton last summer. Worn so close to the neck, the style is notably useless for the person who actually has it on.
As in, it was not meant for the wearer to admire, but for her admirers.