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Katherine S. Cunanan

Delicate Elegance

A study in perfection

Every once in a while, a lady so amazing enters your life. She is beautiful, inside and out. She is kind, even under challenging circumstances. She is gracious, no matter what happens. And when you want to honor this lady, you search far and wide for the perfect gift. And you don’t end your search when you’ve found something just ‘okay.’ You go beyond the regular in hopes of finding the extraordinary. Would luck smile on you so brightly that you can find The Perfect Gift for That Special Lady?

Vacheron Constantin

Trust Vacheron Constantin to be the solution to your problem. A Manufacture for more than 265 years, they create some of the most amazing timepieces there are. In fact, they have had a very strong relationship with women. Many of the pieces in the long history of watchmaking were designed with women in mind. The size of the case, the enhancements used, the motifs chosen, all meant to bring that smile to a lovely lady.

In 2020, the Manufacture introduced the Égérie collection, dedicated to women. “Égérie” itself means muse or inspiration, and the collection has been a combination of Haute Couture and Haute Horlogerie. For 2022, the Manufacture brings us the Égérie Creative Edition (reference 8006F/000G-B942) and they have brought together four artistic crafts in one timepiece. It might sound like a lot, but it is done with such an exquisite design aesthetic that it is not excessive. It is perfect.

Égérie Creative Edition

Light as lace
The first artistic craft seen in this watch is the tapisserie, or tapestry. Tapestry is traditionally hand-painted needlework of canvas, wool, and silk. Among the many lace weavers, Burano lace stands out for its intricacy and beauty.

Legend has it that a sea siren was tempting a fisherman with her beautiful singing. The young fisherman knew his heart belonged to another, his fiancée waiting for him on dry land. The siren’s queen, witnessing the fisherman’s loyalty despite siren’s best efforts, thumped the side of the fisherman’s boat, creating a delightful foam that transformed into a wedding veil. The fisherman gave the beautiful veil to his young bride; the veil was so delicate and beautiful that other young ladies tried to create something just as beautiful.

Vacheron Constantin has taken the beauty and delicacy of Burano lace and recreated it in white gold, in strands as thin as an eyelash, enhanced with diamonds. As the Burano Lace Museum personnel explained, “Like Vacheron Constantin, we have been perpetuating a unique savoir faire transmitted by generations of artisans. The nature of Burano needle lace lies in having been the forerunner and inspiration for this art that spread throughout Europe. In Burano, stitches were perfected…”

Égérie Creative Edition

Engraving brought to life
Engraving is the art of etching a design onto a hard, usually flat surface by cutting grooves into it with a knife or a specialized tool. The deeper the engraving, the more the piece comes to life. This is easy to imagine when you think of engraving in furniture or marble perhaps. A thick surface can hold different depths of engraving, giving nuance and detail.

But think smaller scale, on a timepiece, and the challenge is much bigger (see the juxtaposition?). Engraving is the second artistic craft seen on this watch. As Christian Selmoni, Style & Heritage Director of Vacheron Constantin explained, they wanted “to allow the engraver to express his creativity on the areas left free (except for solid blocks of colour and flowers), while respecting the consistent desire to preserve the artisanal and human aspect cherished by the Maison. The threads linking the motifs were thus engraved according to the engraver’s wishes.” The hand-engraved pattern on the dial is delicate, and perhaps each watch is dedicated to the engraver’s personal muse.

Égérie Creative Edition

Enhancing with enamel
The third artistic craft is enameling. Working with enamel is a skill developed over time. Artisans need to learn how each enamel color will respond to heat application for specific periods of time. And while technically, black is the absence of all color, it is actually one of the most difficult colors (non-color?) to master. The plique-a-jour enamel cloud in the moon phase is really a testimony of the artisan’s skill. Plique-a-jour translates to ‘open to light’ and is a specific enamel technique with the enamel applied in cells, similar to cloisonné, but with no metal backing as a base. It is pure enamel, and allows the light to pass through it freely.

As Christian Selmoni says, “black enamel is… the trickiest colour to master in the sense that any rough surface, tiny, hole or micro-bubble will stand out in the light.”

Égérie Creative Edition

Gemsetting to top it all off
The fourth, and most dazzling, artistic craft is gem setting. There are different types of gemsetting, and as a master gemsetter would know, choosing the right style is an important step. You want the style to suit the intended work of art while also enhancing the stone; both steps are critical to the success.

For this watch, Christian Selmoni explains that the choice of the bead-setting technique was a deliberate one. “(Bead-setting) makes it possible to achieve greater brilliance on such a meticulously crafted motif by reducing the gold on the diamonds. This technique required about six hours of work for the gemsetter who created the paving by inserting the gems into cavities carved into the metal base and then holding them in place with tiny metal beads.”

The Égérie Creative Edition has 250 brilliant-cut diamonds on the motif, and 292 diamonds on the case and crown. The watch can be paired with the black satin-effect calfskin strap with a buckle that has an additional 21 diamonds. The watch strap can be changed quite easily, and has the black Mississipiensis alligator leather strap when you want a slightly more casual look.

Égérie Creative Edition

Perfection
The Vacheron Constantin Égérie Creative Edition has mechanical self-winding Manufacture calibre, and a power reserve of about 40 hours. It is a three-hander watch, with hours, minutes, and center seconds. The 18K white gold case is paired with the 18k white gold dial, and the watch has an astounding 585 diamonds, totaling 4.46 carats.

The Égérie Creative Edition is the latest offering from Vacheron Constantin, and is a prime example of their creativity and artisanship.

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