Last night at the Grammys, wealthy musician Taylor Swift wore a Lorraine Scwartz choker necklace with a tiny watch with diamonds on the bezel. The musician’s watch was set to midnight as she won two awards, including record of the Year for her record “Midnights,” making her the first artist to win the award four times.
According to horological sleuths at GQ and Hodinkee, the watch is a Concord, a defunct company that originally supplied pieces to Cartier and Tiffany, that Schwartz mounted on a mixed-cut black stone band. Swift styled it with a white bespoke Schiaparelli gown.
Wearing timepieces as necklaces is a long-standing practice that dates back to the nineteenth century or possibly before. Prior to then, timepieces were virtually exclusively the domain of males, who owned pocket watches. Women in high society, who could afford such things, wore beautiful garments without pockets.
They eventually began to desire miniature watches connected to jewelry, such as bracelets and necklaces. According to some estimates, Queen Elizabeth I wore the first wristwatch in 1571, but the design did not become popularity until about 1810, when women of royal birth began to commission jewelers to produce them.
Watch necklaces have been fashionable in recent years. Piaget, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Chanel all displayed watches on chains to be worn around the neck, a style known as sautoirs, at last year’s Watches & Wonders trade exhibition in Geneva. (The Piaget sautoir was one of my favorite watches during the expo.)
A sautoir is styled with the watch face upside down, allowing the wearer to lift it and read the time. As a result, someone facing the wearer will find it difficult to read. Taylor’s choker is inspired by Rihanna’s $670,000 diamond-encrusted Jacob & Co. watch, which she wore to Pharrell’s debut fashion presentation for Louis Vuitton last summer.
Worn so close to the neck, the style is noticeably worthless for the person wearing it. In other words, it was intended for her admirers rather than the wearer.