Vacheron Constantin Égérie: A Muse for Women

by Susanah Cheok

The Vacheron Constantin Égérie, which means muse in French, is a brilliant collection that’s designed by a woman for women, for it takes one to know another’s true heart’s desire.

Vacheron Constantin is a couture giant in the world of haute watches. At the pinnacle of Haute Horlogerie and understated elegance, the Maison creates timepieces with unique technical and aesthetic signatures, and an extremely high level of finishing touches.

In fact, the beautiful art of High Watchmaking by Vacheron Constantin, has been in existence every day for 265 years. Impartial to gender-based tastes, partial only to the finest art and engineering in watch-making, Vacheron introduced its first ladies’ pocket watch around the turn of the 18th century, and today continues to tirelessly beautify the horological world with its creations – from contemporary wristwatches, ceremonial objects of art, bejeweled timepieces, to sports watches.

Icon of the Times

The legacy of the House of VC is testament to its remarkable penchant for depicting the essence of its times (in art, fashion, even social trends), while meeting feminine (and of course masculine) hopes. That said, ladylike creations have always had a special place in Maison VC. These au femme timepieces by Vacheron Constantin also never stop evolving, but are constantly metamorphosing in aesthetics and technical genius; they are inspired by women, for women, and always carry the exceptional VC touch.

  • Watch named "1972", 1976, 18k yellow gold watch, 1946, Kallista, 1979 & "222", 1981

Made for Romanian royalty, among them the Countess of Luchapt and the Queen of Romania, Elisabeth Pauline Ottilie Louise de Wield, Vacheron Constantin is a constant reminder of what and how women wore and wear (clothes and jewellery), in the beginning, as antiquated bejeweled pocket watches, then on a chatelaine necklace swinging delicately from the neck, before coming to perch on clothing as brilliant time-telling brooches. And it was not until just before the turn of the 20th Century that they found their way around women’s wrists – as the first Vacheron Constantin women’s wrist watch, also the oldest known to date in the history of Vacheron Constantin, which was likely to have been presented on the occasion of the World’s Fair in Paris in 1889.

This timepiece, a piece of wearable art, is daring – its finely engraved and diamond-set case is paired with a bangle-type bracelet featuring a sculpture of two winged goddesses. This timepiece features the subtly original feature of a movement wound via the notched rotating bezel. Simply breath-taking.

  • Yellow gold pocket watches, 1838 & 1815.

This was followed by exquisite pearl motifs, elegant art deco designs, even the odd pocket watch with cabochon-cut gems in the ’20s and ’30s. The Maison also introduced the so-called “baguette” calibre 7’’’ (21.5 x 6.5 mm), mainly used for jewellery watches. In the ’40s through to the ’70s, watches also became precious haute party bracelets. At the end of the 1970s, Vacheron Constantin debuted the extraordinary Kallista (Greek for “the most beautiful”) watch – set with 118 emerald-cut diamonds, each weighing between 1.2 and 4 carats – born from a collaboration with designer Raymond Moretti.

Haute Horological Muse

Through time, Vacheron Constantin remains at the side of the woman of taste and standing. And with the Égérie Collection, to be showcased at Watches & Wonders 2020 in April, one of women’s best friends again reflects the heart of her wants and artistic desires. The Égérie epitomises Vacheron Constantin’s new face of feminine watchmaking. Inspired by the world of Haute Couture, imagined for women, it captures the spirit of the present, as indeed has each of the Maison’s feminine creations for more than 200 years.

Égérie is where haute couture meets haute horlogerie and this meeting is imagined as a superlative timepiece. Égérie was born from the conjunction between these two fields of expertise, a watch featuring a classic look “draped” with a mischievous touch reflecting today’s women: inspiring, independent and charismatic.

The collection is named for the famous nymph Egeria recurrently featured in Roman mythology. If there are gems we call precious stones, then there are precious timepieces we can call gems, and Égérie’s design and engineering forever earns a place in Vacheron Constantin’s haloed archives as such.

Égérie Moon Phase Diamond-Pavé, and Égérie Moon Phase

To see the Égérie collection is to fall in love with something beyond a time-keeper or even a formal dinner accessory. Égérie, like all VC’s creations, are magnificent, timeless superlative machines. A watch that is a daily companion and a confidante of the most precious evenings.

Five Treasures

The Égérie collection has 5 watches. Essentially one design comes with 2 complications and is also represented in 2 dial sizes. The Égérie also has an incarnation in a high jewellery finish.

Égérie Self-Winding

Here’s a piece of time-telling jewellery that’s at once subtle and standout, that commands second and forever lingering looks for its design sophistry. It comes in 18K 5N rose gold or steel, with a 35mm pebble-shaped case and is crowned with a slender bezel overstitched with 58 diamonds that somehow don’t scream bling or OTT and that look right at home under silk or denim.

Égérie Moon Phase

Bodied in a 37mm case in 18K 5N rose gold or steel, with a diamond-set bezel, it has the night star at its very heart. What’s cosmically magical is an offset circle glittering with 36 diamonds that displays a dreamlike vision of time, with the 18K gold moon appearing in a starry sky revealed behind clouds formed by a graceful mother-of-pearl assemblage.

Composed of concentric circles, its centre and boundaries are graced with the haute statement VC pleated pattern, using the historical “tapestry” technique. Calligraphic numerals evoke fine embroidery.

Leaf-type hours and minutes hands also recall the fine needles used by the nimble fingers at work in Haute Couture ateliers, and the crown is graced with a cabochon-cut moonstone, a symbol of calm and serenity. An extraordinarily bold move for this versatile watch is that it is attended by 3 interchangeable leather straps for the 18K 5N pink gold version. The steel model is paired with a polished metal bracelet designed for fluid symmetry in look and feel.

Égérie Moon Phase Diamond-Pavé

A stunning yet elegant case display of 37 mm, 18K white gold sparkles, with 292 diamonds, with a dial that deploys its concentric circles amid a shower of 510 diamonds resembling an intricate embroidery. Similarly, leaf-type hours and minutes hands hark back to the dainty needles used by the deft fingers creating within Haute Couture ateliers. The winding crown is adorned with a rose-cut diamond and the wrist straps are interchangeable between night blue genteel satin and handsome leather, and each is secured by a gem-set pin buckle.

Looks are not deceiving

A delicate interplay of textures and intertwined shapes, alternating flat and subtly raised areas; a pleated effect reminiscent of fabric; a singular asymmetry borne by a fluid aesthetic: such is the exquisite charm of the Égérie watch. The Égérie features a dial with a pleated pattern and a diamond ‘halo’ resembling slender braiding that accentuates the feminine shape of the case.

It’s hard to take one’s eyes off such harmonious geometry and sophistication, with details punctuated by 18-carat gold Arabic numerals, daintily scalloped like lace. A clever system of interchangeable leather straps adds the pleasure of switching things up to match the mood of the moment. No tools are required: the owner can switch strap with a simple clip, but note that only the models in gold come with differently coloured straps.

Égérie Self-Winding

Égérie is also the modern interpretation of visual marks beloved by Vacheron Constantin, which has been offering off-centre displays since the early 19th century, notably by playing on two intertwined circles. Égérie has made this its signature touch. The date or moon-phase integration is thus part of a subtle diagonal line formed by the Vacheron Constantin logo and the crown daringly takes its place between 1 and 2 o’clock. Depending on the model, the latter is adorned with a cabochon-cut moonstone or a rose-cut diamond. This creative freedom is driven by a valiant disposition that makes all the difference.

Updates to the collection from the Editor

17 March 2020 – The new Égérie collection is enriched by a jewellery model entirely bedecked in diamonds, available exclusively from Vacheron Constantin boutiques. This interpretation is highlighted by a 37mm white gold case, a dial and a bracelet studded with 1,344 brilliant-cut diamonds, along with a rose-cut diamond adorning the offset crown aligned with the moon-phase display.

19 November 20209 – A new model to the collection beckons, with the Égérie self-winding model graced with a slender 35 mm 18K 5N pink gold case set with 58 diamonds, fitted with a complementary 18K 5N pink gold mesh-type effect bracelet.

Images courtesy of Vacheron Constantin, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.

Related links:

Vacheron Constantin: The Twin Beating Cross

Vacheron Constantin: Digital Revolution

Vacheron Constantin: Cobalt Flash

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