de Grisogono Allegra 25: from jewellery watch to watch jewellery
de Grisogono continues to blur the boundary between jewellery and watch. The Allegra 25 isn’t really a watch; it’s a piece of jewellery that also tells the time.
It started off as a piece of jewellery, but it turned into a watch. Or it might be the other way around. The Allegra 25 by de Grisogono is a pure expression of the imagination of Fawaz Gruosi, founder and creative director of the company. He has spent the last 25 years not just breaking down barriers – which would by definition imply that barriers actually mean something to him – but, far more simply, in creating things he likes.
The art of inversion
As far as watchmaking is concerned, he is the first to admit that he’s unfamiliar with the traditional codes. He is therefore free to create, and if there’s one barrier he enjoys breaking down, it’s the boundary between watchmaking and jewellery. In fact, this boundary only exists in the abstract – in the existence of companies that haven’t crossed it. In fact, companies that excel in both fields are rare: Bulgari, Cartier, Chanel, Chopard, Van Cleef & Arpels are some of the few names that spring to mind.
founder and creative director of de Grisogono © de Grisogono
de Grisogono navigates between these two worlds while retaining its own unique style. A watch is a piece of jewellery like any other. After the company created the Allegra ring, the watch followed closely behind. The shapes in play are virtually identical: the circular profile of a watch bezel is the same as that of a ring. Translating one into the other is just a matter of proportions. And it’s these proportions that the Allegra 25 has chosen to invert: the bezel is generous, while the watch and its dial almost take a back seat. While the rest of the industry likes to talk about jewellery-watches, de Grisogono prefers to think of it as a watch-jewel.
Like the eponymous ring, the Allegra 25 watch features linked and overlapping gold rings of different diameters. Some are set with diamonds, others are plain. Their arrangement and diameter appear to be completely random; de Grisogono wanted to create a watch that looked free and light, while remaining opulent. The watch doesn’t step into Haute Joaillerie territory; it’s luxury jewellery with a touch of fantasy, if not frivolity.
This is clear from the way the diamonds are set into the bezel. While “snow setting” has become a staple of the field, denoting a particular way of arranging stones, de Grisogono has literally set the bezel of the Allegra 25 with diamonds scattered almost randomly, like actual snowflakes.
Allegra 25 © de Grisogono
Plays of shadow and light
The watch follows the codes of the maison in other ways. The most obvious is the shagreen strap. de Grisogono has popularised the material, offering it almost systematically in its women’s collections, ever since the company first ventured into watches, some 18 years ago.
The strap of the Allegra 25 is white, which is a bold choice in itself. With the light-coloured rose gold, the white mother-of-pearl dial, the diamonds, and the strap in a different, creamier shade of white, there’s an element of risk in this tone-on-tone colour scheme that de Grisogono manages to pull off. The final effect is triumphant: the piece as a whole gives an overall impression of clarity and light. de Grisogono manages to bring all the disparate elements together by juxtaposing different textures: mirror-polished gold, glittering diamonds and a matt strap with, in the centre, the mother-of-pearl dial that catches the light and throws it back in shades of grey and white. Attention to detail is everything; de Grisogono has mastered the art of shattering convention so tastefully and so well that the final result is so perfect, it makes one wonder why no one came up with it before.
Keen to develop technical timepieces with a refined and distinctive aesthetic appearance, in less than twenty years de Grisogono has successfully carved out a niche in the world of watchmaking. Its audacious design ethos is expressed in firmly contemporary, off-beat timepieces.Find out more >
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