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Fabergé - A winter's tale

Fabergé A winter's tale

The fabled imperial jeweller Fabergé creates a unique story for Only Watch 2019.

The watch and jewellery maison of Fabergé is perhaps most famous for its fabulous Easter Eggs, first created for Tsar Alexander III and perpetuated by his successors as a family tradition. As a cultural object, there is nothing as captivating or enduring as the Fabergé Egg. It has gained a near-mythic stature and entered our imaginations as no other historical luxury artifact has.

A winter's tale

The Nobel Ice Egg from 1914 © Fabergé

The corpus of stories and invented narrative surrounding the Fabergé Egg has outgrown its real-life existence, comparable to the Holy Grail, or King Arthur’s sword Excalibur, or Da Vinci’s notebooks (and there are plenty of people who would dispute that the Holy Grail or Excalibur ever existed).

Keeping the legend alive to this day is the modern incarnation of the maison Fabergé, with its collection of timepieces that draws on the rich tapestry of archival objects created by the 19th-century artisan-jeweller.

In 2015, Fabergé unveiled the Lady Compliquée Peacock timepiece at Baselworld, immediately drawing enthusiastic responses and stoking excitement about the revival of this iconic brand. The watch was inspired by the 1908 Fabergé Peacock Egg, and featured a rotating hour ring and a retrograde minutes display indicated by the opening and closing of a jewelled peacock tail. This watch went on to win the Ladies’ High Mechanical prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève that year.

A winter's tale

Lady Compliquée Peacock from 2015 © Fabergé

Subsequently building on the same mechanism, Fabergé released the Lady Compliquée Winter, again inspired by a historical Fabergé Egg, this time the Winter Egg of 1913. In place of the peacock’s tail, the Lady Compliquée Winter used a lacquered fan to indicate the retrograde minutes. The lower dial, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, was set with diamonds to resemble frost patterns, in aesthetic emulation of the Winter Egg.

A winter's tale

Lady Compliquée Winter Only Watch © Fabergé

For this year’s edition of Only Watch, Fabergé has created a unique version of their Lady Compliquée Winter, with a bezel set with diamonds and sapphires to enhance the readability of the rotating hour display. The Only Watch motto — “Create beauty to do good” — is printed on the dial between the hour and minute scales. Further acknowledgement of the biennial charity watch auction is made on the caseback, which is engraved with “Only Watch” and “Unique piece” to emphasise the wider philanthropic purpose of this watch.

A winter's tale

Case back view © Fabergé

The brand

Fabergé delights in producing the unexpected for its timepieces, much like the famous Imperial Easter Eggs for which the house is famous.

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