The world of luxury timepieces is now that much more admirable with a new collection from Swiss luxury brand Vacheron Constantin. Its latest launch, Égérie, is inspired by and dedicated to women. The designs encompass two luxury worlds into one: Haute Couture and Haute Horlogerie. We spoke with Vacheron Constantin Style & Heritage Director Christian Selmoni about the new collection.
What was the inspiration behind the Égérie collection?
“The inspiration has been the encounter of the world of Haute Horlogerie with Haute Couture. Both worlds share common values based on creativity, aesthetics, refinement, sophistication, the use of decorative crafts—all of these values being associated with the finest craftsmanship. In addition, designers have been looking to past creations from Vacheron Constantin’s heritage for their inspiration. During the first decades of the 19th century, for example, we manufactured timepieces for ladies which were associating horological complications with decorative crafts and some offset indications on the dial—elements which are present in the heart of the Égérie collection.”
This collection is dedicated to women—do you see an influx in the number of women who are interested in and purchasing watches?
“Absolutely! We see a growing interest from our female clientele for Vacheron Constantin watches. We could say that, since some 20 years, the success and the positive development of our Haute Horlogerie watches has been based on mostly masculine models. But, this success has been driving more and more interest from women to Vacheron Constantin. Today, the number of models dedicated to women—in current collections such as Patrimony, Traditionnelle, Malte, and Overseas—is quite important, but the time had come to conceive a fully dedicated collection of Haute Horlogerie watches exclusively for ladies, offering the same level of expertise and excellence in a totally feminine style.”
What are the biggest differences when designing a timepiece collection for women versus designing a collection for men?
“The fundamentals are the same, however, we wanted to showcase a particular feminine character for Égérie. The choice of the pleated effect on the dial and the refinement of the decorated dials are examples of this heightened feminine character. In addition, the volume, the proportions, and often the size of a ladies timepiece are different from a masculine model: it must fit perfectly on the wrist, and wearing the watch has to be an enjoyable and comfortable experience, such that it must be the case for a jewel.”
Can you describe some of the fine details that went into designing these timepieces that marry the worlds of Haute Horlogerie and Haute Couture?
“The pleated pattern is certainly the best example of the link between Haute Horlogerie and Haute Couture. In addition, and most importantly, this beautiful pattern is obtained by “tapestry” technique: a decoration technique which consists of creating the miniature version of a large motif with a pantograph-like machine dated 1904, which was adjusted and controlled by a master artisan. The use of 80 year old ‘tapestry’ machines results in a very subtle, sophisticated, and purely feminine dial.”
What are the key differences in the three models: self-winding, moon-phase, and moon-phase diamond-pavé?
“In a nutshell, the self-winding model with time indication and date is the Égérie model for every day and every occasion, especially considering its versatility. The rose gold model is offered with three different leather straps and changing the strap only takes a few seconds, thanks to a fast and reliable interchangeable system. The moon-phase model is dedicated to women looking for horological complications—this additional function being visible through an off-centered sub-dial with a precious gold moon set behind clouds formed by a delicate assembly of mother-of-pearl. Finally, the Égérie moon phase diamond-pavé is the most spectacular and precious expression of the Égérie collection, counting no less than 292 diamonds set on its white gold case, and 510 in addition on its dial.”
How does the Vacheron Constantin heritage play a role in the Égérie collection?
“Since the very first years of the Maison’s activity, we have been manufacturing watches for a feminine clientele. Throughout the 19th century, notably, we have been creating women’s timepieces combining the two key assets of our watchmaking art: the mastery of all horological complications together with the presence of precious, delicate ‘métiers d’art’ decorative crafts. Égérie is consequently totally anchored in our watchmaking tradition and the passion for ‘métiers d’art,’ which remains present since centuries in the Maison.”
View the full collection here.