Years ago in my old then-home town there was a little independent jewellery shop nestled around a corner from all the commonplace chains like H. Samuel and similar. I loved looking in the window whenever I was in town and would take detours to do so whenever I and my fellow students at the local college bunked off Life Drawing to spend the last four hours of Friday in the pub.
Their window would have something different to all the chain jewellery windows, and for the size of the tiny shop the range was remarkable. Some really unique designs were available, from the sparkly to the earthy and hitting just about everything in between, and upstairs a real, working jewellery workshop produced their own ranges as well as the guest designers.
One day I saw an advert requiring a Sunday shop assistant, and amazingly, I got the job. Eventually my days were increased and I spent a happy few years there, part of a wonderful and fun team, enjoying learning more about one of my favourite subject matters and getting to unite these gorgeous bits of jewellery with their delighted new owners.
Then life got in the way and the reality was that it was time to start my career, which sadly wasn't in jewellery design (although one day I would like to retrain). I did, however, land a really great job opportunity which took me out of the area and on my first weekend home one of the first things I did was drop in to see my old colleagues and after I passed my probationary period in my new job I went back again to treat myself to one of my favourite things - a new bit of jewellery.
***THE CALVIN KLEIN SUSPENSION WATCH***
A few months before my regretful departure, the store was on the up locally and we took on Calvin Klein's then-new range of jewellery, mostly because of trying to branch out into expensive watchwear, which was a feature of the range. I love something a bit different and rarely wear watches because I suffer from a condition known (by me) as "Sparrow Wrists". Now, I don't know why I call it that because relative to their whole bodies, Sparrows would of course have their wrists on their wings which are actually quite large, so it makes stuff all sense, but basically the end result is that I have tiny wrists and normal watches either don't fit even when altered or just feel wrong.
Enter stage left the Suspension range from Calvin Klein. Featuring a beautifully finished, rounded and slightly oval watch face, the bracelet part of the watch was in fact two strands each side of thing leather cord, knotted back on itself at each end of the watch face and then fastened securely into the clasp at the back. The result was a watch that looked like a bangle, even more so when you take into account the simplicity and the tactile, smooth style of the face - there are no time markers, just the hands and a small logo. It almost looks like a leather bracelet with a sort of shell feature, a beautiful bit of jewellery as opposed to an obvious watch.
Originally we stocked this in a bronzey gold, black and a unique and very beautiful dark blue, which I fell in love with instantly.
Even so, given my tendency to lean towards jewellery as opposed to watches, I surprised myself when I found myself contemplating this watch, six months later, as my celebratory treat. But, embarking on a new career as I was, suddenly a watch seemed fitting and I found myself telling my former colleague to box it up - after significant length had been removed from the leather straps by one of the jewellers so it didn't fall off my ridiculous wrists!
***A GOOD DECISION?***
Okay, so first of all this is a cross between a watch and a piece of statement jewellery. I had my watch's strap adjusted but I still wanted to retain the "bracelet" element of the design, so I do wear it loose, which I feel is worth mentioning from a reviewer perspective. You could wear it tighter than I do, but I like bracelets to fall quite loose on my wrists (kidding myself that I am, or at least was, an elegant, dreamy waiflike Goddess, I suppose!).
First off, the timepiece itself; an oval dome with pointed ends, there are holes at either points where the leather (petrol blue) is looped through then knotted back on itself - but this has never worked loose, despite being a basic twisted knot. The leather secures into a small, narrow clasp which has a tiny CK logo and is very secure and has never once opened on the sly. Being a bracelet style, funnily I find it easy to put this on - merely turn my wrist upside down, pin the timepiece underneath it and the leather straps are in a good positions and are malleable enough to put the clasp ends together easily to snap the fastening.
The timepiece itself is domed in shape and there is a slight alteration in the petrol blue shade in a circular cutout around the actual mechanism. Here you just have the hands and the CK logo. It's both understated whilst also being a real statement piece.
The back of it is silver stainless steel and feels heavy, cool and high quality. Despite my wearing my watch very loosely, the weight and the fact that it is tapered in shape (the battery and timepiece compartment is flat, the edges curve to fit the shape of the wrist slightly) means that, despite its weight comparative to the tiny straps, this doesn't actually spin around underneath my wrist as much as I thought it would. Yes, it does on occasion, but mostly it stays in a good position, which saves it from damage.
The straps have never once stretched or shown any cracking, and are made from high quality materials. The really remarkable things is that this watch has been part of my life for over four years now and whilst it spends much of its time in its beautiful presentation box, it hasn't lost any time at all and the battery is still going strong.
But what I truly love about this watch is that it is a statement, a combination of jewellery and a watch, totally unique and most people who have seen it have initially said "I love you bracelet" before they realise that the shape and style is actually concealing a very subtle and stylish timepiece. I always look for something unusual, distinctive and eyecatching in my jewellery but I also love subtlety and this watch gives me everything, so when I slip this on I don't feel I am wearing a watch, which has never appealed to me, but a really beautiful bit of jewellery. I love the petrol blue colour, the bold design and I can't speak highly enough of the quality.
I love the tactile, beautiful workmanship that has gone into this watch - the timepiece is like a beautiful shell, cool to the touch and with perfect finish all around. It is definitely the most elegant and professional piece of jewellery I have ever owned and I am honestly proud of it.
In short, it was the perfect buy for that significant treat and I will always, always keep this and love it. And one day, it might, just might, need a new battery.
***AVAILABILITY & TECHY STUFF***
The wide availability of this watch seems to have decreased upon current Google results. Watchshop.com claim to have this in different colours (it would seem another, darker bronze option was added to the range) although this blue is out of stock. If available, they would have listed it at £170, with the gold and bronze commanding slightly higher prices and breaking the £200 barrier.
Amazon have a silver, mirrored version down from an RRP of £215 to £124 at the time of writing, the true bronze at £219.99, the gold bronze at a whacking £279.99 and my gorgeous petrol blue at £244.99.
Obviously, for they art eternally hip and trendy and thus can never keep their old stock in the public view, Calvin Klein's (irritating, meant-to-be-slick-but-decidedly-klunky) trend bible of a website no longer offers this product for sale.
Watchshop.com details on the product list the following technical information:
Water Resistancy: 30 metres (I have not, and will not be testing this, not even for you lovely lot!)
Movement: Swiss Quartz
Clasp Type: Jewellery clasp
Strap: Genuine leather
Case width: 31mm approx
Case depth: 11m approx
Case material: Stainless steel