Fabergé The woman behind Fabergé’s watches
WorldTempus had the opportunity to meet Aurélie Picaud, Product Director for Fabergé. We talked about the company’s ambitions for the future of its watchmaking division, and this year’s standout pieces.
“Fabergé was a very avant-garde man for his time. Today the company wants to continue in the same vein, with products that are traditional but surprising at the same time,” explains Aurélie Picaud at the start of our chat. What this means is that, over the coming months, we will see some younger, more contemporary timepieces that nevertheless convey Fabergé’s DNA.
Aurélie Picaud explains that it’s important to get away from the idea that Fabergé is all about the famous jewelled eggs of the past. That image is correct, but it’s too restrictive. “Yes, the Fabergé Eggs are part of the brand’s identity, but there’s more to us than that!” Fabergé in fact continues to produce a wide range of exquisite jewellery pieces and objets d’art.
« Fabergé est une marque contemporaine avant tout ! »
This year’s newest women’s timepiece is a contemporary pop-art model from the Lady Fabergé collection. With a black, orange, yellow or blue dial and matching strap, or with a turquoise enamel dial on a yellow gold bracelet, the timepiece combines technical excellence with an updated classic design. Following the success of the Lady Fabergé collection, which was unveiled at Baselworld in 2015, the new watches introduce a palette of sunny colours to complement the season. “Authentic, surprising and unexpected, this reinterpretation of Lady Fabergé, whose domed crystal is a subtle reference to the Fabergé Eggs, carries the essence of the brand, but is thoroughly modern,” Aurélie Picaud explains.
“This year we’ll be bringing out a men’s collection inspired by the Lady Fabergé range, building on the same codes, but with a masculine touch,” reveals Fabergé’s product director. The quirky mechanism hidden in the crown of the watch, which is inspired by a winding system seen in some old automata, is also in keeping with the brand’s identity. The new timepiece, named the Fabergé Altruist, has a classic design, but features the unusual stylised Roman numerals used by Fabergé in the last century. It is also available with a grand feu enamel dial with hand-worked guilloché, and is the ideal companion for the self-confident man who appreciates discretion and excellence.
Visionnaire DTZ, a GMT watch with a difference
Another men’s watch that stands out in the Fabergé landscape is the Visionnaire DTZ. Inspired by the Visionnaire I launched last year, the DTZ is a masterpiece with a second time zone complication that travellers will find very useful – hence the name: DTZ for Dual Time Zone.
Drawing inspiration from a 1910 table clock with an unusual moon in the centre of the dial, where you would expect the hands to be, the Fabergé Visionnaire DTZ translates this central element into a dome. The usual conventions for displaying a second time zone are overturned, and the watch is intuitive to read despite its complex dial. The second time zone pops into view in the centre of the watch in the form of a jumping hour, magnified by a central lens.
The Visionnaire DTZ, which was brought to life in the Geneva workshops of Agenhor, is driven by a self-winding mechanical movement with a 50-hour power reserve. Unusually, the winding rotor is located on the dial side, rather than on the back. This enchanting GMT watch comes with a leather strap with folding clasp. “The watch also makes a playful reference to the Lady Compliquée Peacock, which has been a great success since we launched it,” notes Aurélie Picaud. Inside the movement, completely invisible from the outside, one of the components is carved into the shape of a peacock pecking at a sheaf of wheat. It’s an ingenious reminder of Fabergé’s watchmaking excellence.
“It’s about overturning conventions, getting away from the traditional image that people have of Fabergé,” Aurélie Picaud continues. “We always consult our archives before designing a product; that goes without saying. We have to stay in touch with our roots, while being innovative with our products.” In the near future, Fabergé will be unveiling a series of watches and other non-jewellery items that will illustrate exactly what she means.