Égérie 37mm Moon Phase steel, R421,000.
Égérie 37mm Moon Phase steel, R421,000.
Image: Supplied

Vacheron Constantin says its new Égérie collection, named after a legendary nymph and counsellor from Roman mythology, is “an anthem to elegant women”. Featuring an asymmetrical aesthetic, with the intertwining circles so characteristic of Vacheron’s heritage, this is a redesign of the tonneau-shaped collection of the same name launched in 2003. The 18K gold tilted Breguet-style Arabic numerals are the only elements that remain on the dials of these slim and graceful pebble-shaped pieces. They are inspired by the charisma of the modern woman and the fine craftsmanship of haute couture, which is expressed through details such as the pleated engravings created by a guilloché artisan on the silvered dials.

The collection includes a 35mm self-winding model powered by a new in-house calibre 1088 movement and a 37mm moon phase model powered by the calibre 1088 L (“lunar”), both available in stainless steel or pink gold cases, and set with 58 diamonds on their slender bezels. A sparkling fifth 37mm moon phase in 18K white gold is pavé diamond-set and comes with two easily interchangeable straps that do not require tools - one in blue Mississippiensis alligator leather with satin effect and the other in blue satin. The steel pieces come on steel bracelets, while the pink gold versions are supplied with three alligator leather straps, in semi-matte raspberry pink, night blue and candied chestnut with satin effect.

Like a window to another world, the moonstone- or diamond-haloed aperture, offset along with its crown between 1 and 2 o’clock, features the date or moon phase display. The crown is so placed for easier access while on the wrist, however, with those hour numerals looking all set to roll, it’s a pity that in an effort to make the Égérie more practical for a modern lifestyle, the design team didn’t consider rotating its dial as well, like that of the Historiques American 1921. Positioning the “12” between 1 and 2 o’clock, would have allowed the wearer to read the time at high speed without having to take their hand off the wheel.

The moon phase displays “a dreamlike vision of time”, with the 18K gold moon set against tiny clouds created from mother-of-pearl and a starry night sky. The leaf blade-shaped hours and minutes hands allude to the fine needles used in haute couture ateliers.

The pièce de résistance is the spectacular moon phase diamond-pavé. Like a glistening sequined haute couture evening gown, its 37mm case in 18K white gold is set with 292 diamonds, while the concentric circles of the dial are “showered” in a further 510 diamonds.

While the market for women’s watches is evolving fast, with growing interest in those featuring mechanical movements, there is still huge demand for practicality, so it’s no surprise that there is a smaller 30mm quartz-powered pink gold version hidden in the lineup. However, at not much of a discount on the entry ticket, and as we are in the realm of haute horlogerie here, one fails to see the point of quartz. When you buy a Vacheron, you are buying into the provenance and innovation behind the world’s oldest watch manufacturer (in continuous production). The in-house automatic movements at the heart of the Égérie collection offer a 40-hour power reserve which, in my opinion, should be more than sufficient for even the most distracted wearer.  

• For more information visit Vacheron Constantin website or call RLG Africa 011-317-2600.

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