Chronopassion Fabergé: family jewels
Chronopassion chose Fabergé. Or maybe it was the other way around. There’s some family history between the retailer and the jeweller. Their destinies first intertwined in Paris, 20 years ago.
This is not yet another humdrum story about business deals and networking. Where Chronopassion is concerned, the stories are always unusual. And its history with Fabergé is no exception. To begin with, founder and president Laurent Picciotto had an indirect connection with Fabergé through his daughter, whose jewellery business The Eye of Jewelry in Geneva stocked some of Fabergé’s jewellery collections. Chronopassion, based in Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris, had no relationship with the brand at that point. And yet it was via the jewellery world that an agreement was reached. “Some clients were looking for Fabergé, which had no representative in France. But these clients weren’t just interested in the watches, they also wanted the jewellery. And that was when, for the first time since the creation of Chronopassion, I decided to take the plunge into this other world.”
Lady Compliquée Peacock Black Sapphire © Fabergé
One brand, three collections
Three of Fabergé’s watch collections really caught Laurent Picciotto’s eye. First, the Visionnaire DTZ. “The piece is innovative in terms of the simplicity of the second time zone display. Its central display is intuitive and unique in the watch world.” Then there’s the Peacock. “The version with the diamond-studded baseplate is very rock and roll. It’s a truly original creation, with an elegantly designed but discreet movement; it’s pure contemporary watchmaking poetry.”
Visionnaire DTZ in rose gold © Fabergé
The third collection identified by Chronopassion was obviously the chronograph with central hands. The design is by Agenhor (Atelier GENevois d’HORlogerie), and represents perhaps the must disruptive innovation in the history of the chronograph for over a century, after its creation by Louis Moinet (1816) and the addition of a second pusher by Breitling (1934).
With the Visionnaire Chronograph, Fabergé has opened the doors to a new, more legible way of measuring time, using three large central hands for the chronograph. The hours and minutes are relegated to the outer edge of the dial. “Agenhor’s input really adds something. It’s a fine piece of work, and there is strong demand from our clients,” notes Laurent Picciotto.
Visionnaire Chronograph in ceramic and rose gold © Fabergé
Plus or minus ten
The owner of 271 Rue Saint-Honoré also sees a subtle nudge from the hand of destiny in his collaboration with Fabergé; a few doors down the street, number 281 Rue Saint-Honoré used to be the address of one of Fabergé’s very few boutiques. Laurent Picciotto was a frequent visitor. What is there to say about Fabergé’s contemporary approach? “There’s a certain vision of an illustrious past, a faded charm that can’t be manufactured. But it would be wrong to interpret this as something negative. It’s not at all. Fabergé embodies the charm of a bygone age, a highly stylised, meticulously crafted vision of a flamboyant belle-époque style. Fabergé is not part of the watchmaking establishment, and you can tell that by its creative freedom. All that heritage comes through.”