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Pearls by the Hour
Pearl Scene

Diamonds may dominate as the gemstone most likely to be found on the bezel and dial of a fine watch, but pearls continue to reveal fashionable faces of another kind.

Zenith, the watch brand that became renowned for its El Primero chronograph movement, is now one of the leading proponents of high-end, mechanical watches for women. Chief among these is the “Star Sea Open,” which has a star-shaped window that shows off its El Primero movement with a 50 hour power reserve. There are even 21 diamonds scattered on the bezel. But what really gives this watch feminine and fashion appeal is the use of pearls, nine of them, as hour markers on the dial.

Using pearls as markers sounds like a natural, especially since mother-of-pearl has become such a popular dial treatment. Zenith, however, uses the whole pearl, sinking half of the pearl below the dial. Had the pearls been simply cut in half, their luster and beauty would have been diminished, says a spokesperson. — Jeff Prine

watch in 18k rose gold with cultured pearls
“Star Sea Open” watch in 18k rose gold with cultured pearls from Zenith, suggested retail $23,300, (800) 321-4832.