Mechanical watches for women are rare objects, and purpose-designed women’s mechanical watches are even rarer. All too often they are simply men’s watches scaled down and dressed up with gemstones. Tortue Lady by Claude Meylan, a brand based in Vallée de Joux (Switzerland) specializing in skeleton watches, is a beautiful and intelligent timepiece for women. It was presented in Geneva at the Baselworld pop-up show, 30 August-2 September 2021.
When Philippe Belais, CEO of Claude Meylan, decided to add a women’s watch to the collection, he wisely looked for a woman who could design it. His choice was Pia de Chefdebien, who has been working at the company for several years, handling its press relations.
Feminine, not girly
“From the start,” says Pia, “I wanted to design a watch that was feminine but not girly, so not pink, and with no precious stones on the dial or bezel. A watch that both revealed its inner workings but kept something hidden, to increase its allure. A watch that was both beautiful and practical, with clearly-legible time indications”.
The result is very successful. Petite and elegant, in a tonneau-shaped case 31×31 mm, 11 mm thick, it is visually divided into two parts, totally skeletonized on one side, and with a dial and plate on the other side, finished with sunrise guilloche or Côtes de Genève. “The sinuous line between the two sides is a reference to yin and yang”, says Pia. When it is running, the movement of the balance and the oscillation of the rotor at 6 o’clock provide additional visual interest.
A finely-engineered mechanical women’s watch
Turning the watch over reveals more of the engineering, and the lovely sequence of curves created by the skeletonized bridges.
The watch is on a technical satin strap in several shades complementing the accent colours on the hands and dial. In addition to the basic versions, another model has a grey mother-of-pearl dial with a white satin strap.
The 7.75CM17 self-winding movement is by Claude Meylan on an ETA base. It runs at 4 Hertz and provides 38 hours power reserve. Watchglass and caseback are in sapphire crystal, and the case has a 3 atm water resistance.
Claude Meylan Tortue Lady skeleton watch price
The watch costs 3,850 Swiss francs, or 4,200 for the mother-of-pearl version.
In the photo below, designer Pia de Chefdebien presenting the timepiece at Geneva Watch Days.