Vacheron Constantin has long recognised that ladies — and not just gents — appreciate exquisite watch mechanisms. This knowledge was what gave the watchmaker a good head start in its pursuit of the fairer sex. Since the 18th century, it has made several unique commissions for women, with one clear standout: A pocket watch made for Elisabeth Pauline Ottilie Louise de Wied. The Romanian queen was very precise with her requests, listing down her demands and instructions in a chain of letters, which has been faithfully preserved by the watchmaker.
For more than 200 years, Vacheron Constantin has tried to best address the question of what women want. From decorated pendant watches equipped with striking mechanisms — a popular complication among women of stature in the 18th century — to transformable pieces disguised as jewellery, they were designed to cater to the evolving needs and tastes of women. One thing’s for sure: A dial full of diamonds isn’t enough; women want more than just a pretty face.
When Vacheron Constantin rolled out its flagship collections towards the end of the 20th century, it also made sure that each collection included feminine variants to fit the smaller wrists of women. These watches were equipped with powerful manufacture movements but bore precious details like diamonds or mother-of-pearl dials. It was only in 2003 that Vacheron Constantin introduced Égérie , its first dedicated line of elegant tonneau-shaped watches for women.
This year, Vacheron Constantin remarkets the Égérie collection in what is shaping up to be a momentous year for its ladies’ line. Inspired by haute couture, the new Égérie collection looks nothing like its predecessor: It comprises two models, Égérie Self-winding and Égérie Moon Phase, offered in pink gold, white gold or stainless steel cases.
Each features an unusually positioned crown between 1 and 2 o’clock, directly next to an offset subdial showing the date or moonphase. Powering the Égérie Self-winding is the newly developed calibre 1088, a compact self-winding movement that equips the 35mm watch with 40 hours of accurate timekeeping. The 37mm Égérie Moon Phase is driven by the calibre 1088L that is equipped with an additional moonphase module.
Their hand-guilloched dials, applied gold Breguet-style hour numerals and leaf-shaped hands give these watches a decisively feminine allure. Meanwhile, the sparkle of diamonds around the bezel, subdial and all over the dial of the Égérie Moon Phase Jewellery, enhances its elegance.
Cranking up the glamour factor is Vacheron Constantin’s latest reveal, Traditionelle Tourbillon Jewellery. As the watchmaker’s first self-winding tourbillon for women, this is perfect for ladies who love diamonds and high complications. Forged from white gold, it is festooned with a total of 559 brilliant-cut and baguette-cut diamonds of more than 6.5cts.
Driving the watch is the in-house manufactured self-winding calibre 2160, the same movement found in the original Traditionnelle Tourbillon and the Overseas Tourbillon. It delivers a generous 80 hours of power reserve and includes a small seconds display on the tourbillon in the form of a blackened screw. The languidly rotating low frequency (2.5Hz) tourbillon can be admired in full glory at the aperture at 6 o’clock.
For women who prefer a slight touch of discretion, the Traditionelle Tourbillon in pink gold offers a more understated allure. No less elegant though, it boasts a classy mother-of-pearl dial and diamonds on the bezel, caseband, lugs and around the tourbillon aperture. Both variants bear cherished features of the Traditionelle collection, such as the stepped round case, slender bezel, fluted caseback and dauphine- shaped hands.
This story first appeared in the June/July 2020 issue of A Magazine.