Creating new collections can be a challenging exercise for haute-horlogerie brands: Veer too far from your current collections, and you might get flak for forsaking your roots; make something familiar and you might get criticised for being derivative. With its new women’s collection Egerie (it’s named after Egeria, a nymph and divine counsellor in Roman mythology), Vacheron Constantin walks the fine line between these two territories. Recently, it launched the collection with five new references — all self-winding — which will arrive at stores this March. Having had a preview of these new timepieces recently, here are the top five things we like about them (and one thing we think the range should offer):
1) Haute-couture inspiration
While the (female, apparently) designer of the Egerie is not the first to look to high fashion for inspiration when conceptualising a feminine watch design, we like her interpretation of the trope. Mixing the soft precision of haute couture with the traditional decorative engraving technique of guilloche, Egerie watches feature guilloche dial accents that resemble the sharp folds of fabric pleats.
2) Off-centre dial
In its 265-year history, Vacheron Constantin has made a number of dials that are off-centre or just a little asymmetrical, with the clearest example of this seen in the Historiques American 1921. With the Egerie, it continues this quirky tradition in a tastefully subtle way. Rather than simply reproducing the 45-degree tilt of the American 1921 or shifting the main time display a little to the side, Vacheron Constantin has instead established a diagonal axis in the Egerie: A straight line can be traced from the moonstone-topped crown and cut-out subdial (displaying either the date or the moon phase) at the position between 1 and 2 o’clock; and the brand logo between 7 and 9 o’clock.
3) A moon phase that isn’t boring
We’ve heard it many times: The moon phase is one of watchmaking’s most poetic complications. Sure thing, but the problem is, so many of them look the same (and do they always have to be positioned at 6 o’clock?). Enter a lunar display that we actually find fresh and whimsical: Positioned between 1 and 2 o’clock, the Egerie’s highly dimensional take features beautifully done, puffy mother-of-pearl clouds and a gold moon — framed by a pink gold or white gold ring, set with 36 diamonds.
4) Fine details
Even though it is clear at a glance that the five Egerie watches are prettily designed, it’s on closer examination that you see all the touches that give them their Vacheron Constantin-level quality. The shape of the leaf-style hands, for instance, is slightly tweaked so that they resemble sewing needles. The crown is topped by a smooth, cabochon-cut moonstone or — in the case of the fully diamond-set, white gold moon-phase edition — a rose-cut diamond. We especially like the applied numerals of these watches: Featuring a calligraphic design specially designed for the collection, the gold numerals have a presence best described as lively.
5) They wear beautifully
Watch size is, of course, a highly personal preference. That said, for women’s watches, we think the Egerie’s two diameters of 35mm (for the Self-winding models, which feature a date display) and 37mm (for the Moon Phase models) hit a sweet spot, with a good amount of wrist presence. A solid choice for day, the two steel models come with a slim, five-link bracelet that wears comfortably. For a more glam option, the two pink gold editions are delivered with three easily interchangeable alligator leather straps. Lastly, the full-pave, white-gold moon-phase model comes with two straps.
At this point, a word about diamonds. Many women like them, that is true, and indeed, the full-pave model at the apex (for now) of this collection is a sparkling sensation, thanks to the 292 diamonds on its 37mm case and the 510 diamonds on its dial. But, as we have heard from some female watch collectors recently, just because a watch is meant for women doesn’t mean that it must have some kind of ice on it. So, even though we do like the designs of the steel and pink gold models, with their diamond-studded bezels and lunar-display rings, we do look forward to seeing more non-diamond ladies’ options soon — not just in the Egerie, but elsewhere too.
Prices for the Egerie start from S$30,300 for the Egerie Self-winding model in steel.