The parallel worlds of haute horlogerie and haute couture are instilled via craftsmanship, precision, and beauty in Vacheron Constantin’s all-new Égérie Collection.
Over the years, at both the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) and Baselworld, timepiece aficiandos have enjoyed Vacheron Constantin’s reimaginings of past collections; from the often classic and technically refined Traditionnelle, to the versatile Overseas, the distinct Historique, the opulent Métiers d’Art, and the contemporary Fiftysix. However, a completely new collection dedicated entirely to women, was a missing pillar in the house for over a dozen years, until today.
Introducing Égérie (French for “muse”), a stunning lineup of ladies timepieces offering a modern balance of delicate artisanship and functionality in which femininity is expressed as precision, beauty, and elegance. So what’s different about this collection? For starters, it turns away from the all too easy oral-is- feminine interpretation, and instead narrows its eagle- eyed focus on the artistry of haute couture.
To produce Égérie’s eye-catching dial, the woman- led design team referenced pleating, a highly technical aspect of couture.The appearance of pleats in delicate, owing material requires mastery to achieve, and for ages heat, hand-cranked machines, and chemical processes have been used to reform fabrics into tapestries, skirts, dresses and more, while minute hand stitches were used on delicate fabrics such as organza, tulle, and silk. Modern fashion houses – from McCartney to Miyake – celebrate the heritage and savoir-faire of pleating in dresses, throws, and jackets but, interestingly, the best couturiers haven’t altered the basic techniques for more than a century.
Carrying the historic couture concept one step further, Égérie’s dial faces make use of a 1904 hand- worked machine – the gears of which can be tuned to within a fraction of a millimeter – to create the gorgeous guilloche. The pattern of silvered opaline pleats fans out from centre to circumference, amplifying the effect of a draping, billowing, multi- tiered skirt. The at surface of the dial comes to life using this intricately achieved textural motif.
Precious stones and metals further add to the luxurious look, with the dials encircled by 58 diamonds (1 carat total) marked by 18K pink or white gold indices. Meanwhile, calligraphic Arabic numerals encircle the dial face, evoking fine embroidery, while the leaf-type hour and minute hands reference the fine needles used by those at work in fashion ateliers.
The playful charisma of these watches is further underscored by their asymmetrical elements. The pleasing symmetry of the tapestry is juxtaposed with harmonious off-centre design elements, starting with the diamond encircled inner ring that sits between 1 and 2 o’clock on the dial. On the 35mm diameter self- winding models the date window is visible through the inner ring, while on the 37mm diameter moon phase models the delightful indicator features a gold moon peeking out from behind mother-of-pearl clouds.
Another off-center element is the moonstone crown, positioned between 1 and 2 o’clock.These eye- catching top right elements are then visually counter-balanced by the brand logo, delicately and subtly perched at the periphery between 7 and 8 o’clock in the watch face’s lower left quadrant.
All this elegance and finery is matched by precision, as each watch is powered by the in-house crafted, self-winding 1088 or 1088L mechanical movements. Both movements boast a 40-hour reserve, in recognition of modern women’s lifestyles and life rhythms. The movements beat at 4Hz or 28,800 vibrations per hour, and are set within a hand- carved Côtes de Genève damaskeening openwork, visible through the sapphire crystal back. The scratch- resistant back also allows for the observation of a 22-karat gold oscillating weight, carved with a motif inspired by the Maltese cross, as well as other movement parts.
Meticulous engineering allows the case to withstand up to 3 bars (or 30 metres) underwater, while cleverly designed interchangeable straps – that come in Mississippi crocodile leather in semi matte with satin-effect in raspberry pink, night-blue, or candied chestnut – allow for versatility and variety. It’s yet another example of the perfect synthesis of strength and style that reflects the watchmaker’s long and noble lineage, which began in the 18th century when the first Vacheron Constantin complications were collected and worn as jewellery by royalty such as the Countess of Luchapt, and Elisabeth Pauline Ottilie Louise de Wield, Queen of Romania.
In the 19th century, Vacheron Constantin added colour with jewels, mother-of-pearl, and vibrant hues, but even in this early period the maison championed engineering by including striking mechanisms and quarter-repeaters in the complications. Entering the 20th century, the maison continued to balance style and substance, delighting the public with the 1929’s “surprise” watch (with 18 rubies in its caseback), as well as the jaw-dropping Kallista in the 1970s.
Arriving in 2020, Égérie is a continuance of this play of form and function, and a philosophical return to femininity within this tradition. Inspired by women, made by women, and created for women, this series is a natural complement to how the modern woman moves through the world of today: with both beauty and precision.
Discover the collection at Pendulum, Siam Paragon. To find out more, add the Official Line ID, or call 09 2465 2516.