NEW: Vacheron Constantin Égérie CollectionWritten by Melissa Kong
Vacheron Constantin has a new muse.
For a couple of years now, we’ve heard the clarion call for women’s watches that are more than just dainty bejewelled quartz afterthoughts. As it turns out, the horological gods were listening because we’ve been seeing some pretty sweet offerings and specific collections from various watch brands, just for women.
Fresh from the oven is the Vacheron Constantin Égérie (French for 'muse') collection. It’s not just a feminised Patrimony or Traditionelle, mind you, but an entire collection. Just. For. Women. Vacheron Constantin aficionados will likely find the name familiar. After all, the brand did introduce an Égérie collection back in 2003, a tonneau-shaped ladies’ watch that featured diamond-set numerals.
Seventeen years later, the Égérie name pops back into our consciousness with three new models—self-winding, moonphase and moonphase with diamond pave. Tailored to ladies who enjoy diamonds but also appreciate mechanical craft, the collection is a combination of both haute couture and haute horlogerie.
At first glance, the watch is brimming with elegance—diamond-studded bezel, concentric circles and scalloped numerals that lean to the right in a relaxed italic. But look closer and you’ll be mesmerised by the details. For one, the charming and perfectly uniform pleats on the dial would make Issey Miyake really proud. Using the historical ‘tapestry’ technique, the beautiful guillochage requires the use of a 1904 pantograph-type machine that reproduces a large motif in a smaller version that fits the dial. Meticulously crafted, the details on the dial offer a flowy, ‘draped’ aesthetic that lends gentle refinement to the timepiece.
Key to the Égérie’s appeal is the off-centred display at two o’clock, which shows either the date or moonphase. A signature of the collection, the off-centred display is something Vacheron Constantin has offered since the early 19th century. While the Égérie’s dial layout may look askew, there are actually some pretty well-thought-out proportions, from the concentric circles to the diagonal line that connects the logo, off-centred display and crown, topped with either a cabochon-cut moonstone or rose-cut diamond.
The self-winding versions are classically elegant, while the moonphase models are a more poetic interpretation, with an 18K gold moon peeking out from behind mother-of-pearl clouds. In the diamond-paved moonphase version (above), however, the clouds are a translucent sapphire crystal, with a mother-of-pearl moon, offering an altogether more ethereal feel.
Straps come in interchangeable Mississippiensis alligator leather or as a five-link stainless steel bracelet. Following the melee that arose from other watch brands launching timepieces with less-than-satisfactory (in the eyes of collectors) bracelet designs, it was a pleasant surprise to see the Égérie’s take on the humble bracelet—clean, simple, yet more than just your regular three-link or Milanese.
There’s a lot of potential for the Égérie to develop, especially with the off-centre display at two o’clock. Might we see a tourbillon there in the future? A simpler execution with small seconds dial? Or maybe a power reserve counter? The options are aplenty and we hope this is the collection that will sprinkle some glitter into the world of women’s timepieces again.
35mm stainless steel or pink gold (self-winding)
37mm stainless steel or pink gold (moonphase)
37mm white gold (diamond-paved moonphase)
Silvered opaline 'pleats' pattern with tapestry technique, pink/white gold ring with 34 round-cut diamonds, circular 'pearl' minute track, pink/white gold applied Arabic numerals and indexes (self-winding)
Silvered opaline 'pleats' pattern with tapestry technique, pink/white gold ring with 34 round-cut diamonds, circular 'pearl' minute track, pink/white gold applied Arabic numerals, 18K gold moon behind mother-of-pearl cloud (moonphase)
18K white gold set with 510 round-cut diamonds, mother-of-pearl moon behind a translucent sapphire crystal cloud, 18K white gold applied Arabic numerals (diamond-paved moonphase)
Manufacture self-winding calibre 1088 or 1088L
Three self-interchangeable Mississippiensis alligator leather straps in semi-matte raspberry pink, night blue and candied chestnut with satin effect, or stainless steel bracelet (self-winding and moonphase)
Night blue Mississippiensis alligator leather strap with satin effect and a second strap in blue satin (diamond-paved moonphase)
|Hours, minutes, centre seconds, date or moonphase|
Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".