While I can appreciate knowing my step count as much as the next person, for me, a watch will forever be a covetable jewelry moment—an extension of my personal style that elevates my look and remains completely notification-free. Brynn Wallner is very much my soul sister where this is concerned. The NYC local and founder of Dimepiece (an online platform giving women the 411 on luxury timepieces) is the youngest, coolest bona fide watch expert I've ever seen, and she never misses an opportunity to wax lyrical about her passion for classic watches. "They're timeless, they're mood-boosting, and they're the cherry on top of any outfit," she says.
Wallner is also refreshingly unapologetic when it comes to investing in a forever timepiece. "When you start internally debating with yourself over whether or not you should invest in a luxury watch, ask yourself: How much are you worth?" she says. When she and I recently connected to talk about the watch styles dominating the conversation at the moment, Harry Winston was at the top of her mind. The Emerald Collection is the latest addition to the design house's extensive portfolio, and it's quickly become the object of my affection. Keep reading—you'll see why.
At Who What Wear, we love to tap industry experts for their detailed insight and knowledge on all things luxury. How did you get your start in the high-end watch space? And what do you love about luxury watches, in particular?
I was working on the editorial team at Sotheby's in 2019 and was tapped by the watches department to create some watch content. I didn't know anything about watches—I didn't even own one at the time!—but I took on the challenge anyway and became instantly obsessed. What struck me was the lack of women in the narrative, which led me to do my own research, properly go down the rabbit hole, and eventually launch my online platform, Dimepiece.
Luxury watches have the ability to retain so much more sentimental value than, say, a luxury handbag or a pair of designer shoes. There's something intimate about the fact that they're practically living things, working mechanically to keep the time on your wrist. And if they're automatic, they work in synchronicity with your body to stay running. Not to get too poetic here, but the "tick-tick" sound is like a little heartbeat, and if you tune in to it, you're reminded of the rhythm of life in a way that's much more grounding than looking at the time on your phone.
Watches never seem to go out of style. What do you think makes them so classic?
There is quite a bit of time and consideration that goes into making a high-end luxury watch. The pace of the watch industry itself is quite slow, bound by a rigid commitment to quality and craftsmanship. In that sense, watches are not subject to the quickly changing tides and trends of the fashion world. Watches are also made with the intention of frequent and long-term wear; they're not disposable or associated with any one season. The result is that they never go out of style!
Why should we invest in high-end timepieces?
An investment in a high-end timepiece is ultimately an investment in yourself. These objects are made with such care, and you can truly feel the quality on your wrist. They're timeless, they're mood-boosting, and they're the cherry on top of any outfit. When you start internally debating with yourself over whether or not you should invest in a luxury watch, ask yourself: How much are you worth?
Harry Winston's Emerald timepieces are obviously gorgeous, but what do you think makes this collection so unique?
The house has its own Geneva-based watch "manufacture," a term used by the Swiss watch industry to distinguish a company that manufactures a watch in near entirety. This is all to say that when you're treating yourself to a Harry Winston Emerald timepiece, you're availing yourself to the finesse and style of a legendary jeweler as well as the precision and integrity you'd expect from a traditional watchmaker. You won't find a collection this unique in terms of design, case sizing, colorways, and wearability anywhere else in the market.
What sets Harry Winston's iconic emerald shape apart from other luxury watches on the market?
There are only so many shapes watchmakers have to work with. Think about it: You have to fit a tiny movement into a case without disrupting the mechanics of it all. And yet, Harry Winston has managed to create something with a unique signature, distinguishing its timepieces from the typical squares, circles, and ovals you're accustomed to seeing in the watch world. Plus, the range of case sizing is completely unmatched. The octagonal emerald shape is inspired by Mr. Winston's most beloved cut. (You can tell it was his favorite because the Harry Winston logo is adorned with the same emerald shape, which houses the "HW" monogram.) This cut represents the strength and sophistication of a jewelry house that has managed to reign since its founding in 1932. They didn't call Mr. Winston the "King of Diamonds" for nothing!
Last but certainly not least, how do you recommend styling Harry Winston watches?
Wearing high-end watches can be intimidating when contrasted with the reality of our everyday lives. But there's a lot of versatility to the Emerald Collection. Do not be intimidated by the diamonds! It's 2022, and we're getting creative with how we style "dress watches."
Okay, maybe we save the exceptional, high-jewelry Ultimate Emerald Signature and Precious Emerald timepieces for the red carpet and gala season—because only certain occasions warrant the level of luxury that is Harry Winston's iconic cluster motif. But I should note that the Ultimate Emerald Signature can also be worn as a brooch or a pendant around your neck—wearability at its most exquisite.
The "stripped down" iteration (if you can call it that) of the Emerald would look just as stunning with a ball gown as it would with jeans and a T-shirt on a chic grocery run. You'd be shocked at how a little something shiny (53 brilliant-cut diamonds on the case, mind you) will instantly brighten your day or take an outfit from drab to dramatic. I also love that, with the classic Emerald timepiece, you have the choice to wear it with a satin strap or a Milanese mesh bracelet, and you have your pick of a stunning selection of colors that, although bold, will transcend any trend. They're at once accessible, wearable, high-end, and aspirational.
All of the above watches are cased in 18K white, rose, or yellow gold. The white gold is actually my favorite flex because to the untrained eye, it'd pass as high-end steel (a material frequently used by luxury watchmakers), but you know it's gold. Harry Winston's Emerald timepieces are a whimsical yet practical entryway into the overarching Harry Winston universe. (If you're already steeped in this universe, carry on.)