Dior Grand Bal Watches: When Haute Couture Meets Haute Horlogerie
The ballgown makes you dream, and must make you a dream woman,” Christian Dior, founder of his famous namesake couture house, once remarked. And just as the petites mains of Dior’s couture ateliers weave silk, tulle and taffeta into the stuff of dreams, so do the Dior watchmakers—albeit with slightly different materials. Every year, they work their magic on the house’s iconic Grand Bal watch, whose freely-rotating oscillating weight, visible on the dial side, evokes the image of the swishing skirts on Dior’s splendid ballgowns.
This year, Dior has been inspired by creatures of fantasy, creating one-of-a‑kind Grand Bal pieces decorated with various precious and natural materials. Called the Grand Bal Supernatural, the collection is characterised by dials made with fiery opal and oscillating weights adorned with intricate feather marquetry. Needless to say, sourcing opals large enough and with colour consistent enough to be used for watch dials is tough, and working with such tiny feathers is even more difficult.
Dior combines these two elements for maximum textural and colour contrast. We are particularly fond of the version with the pink opal dial and green peacock feathers—the combination goes particularly well together, and reminds us of a juicy watermelon. The vivid colour of the feathers is further enhanced by the baguette-cut tsavorite garnets on the bezel.
As if the front of the watch isn’t beautiful enough, the transparent caseback is used to encase the shimmering wing of a colourful butterfly, whose lustrous surface resembles that of iridescent silk taffeta. Dior is careful to mention that all of its butterfly wings are ethically and sustainably obtained from specialist sources, which collect the butterflies at the end of their natural lives.
Plus, contrary to what some may believe, the oscillating weight on the Grand Bal is completely functional. It is part of the exclusive self‑winding Dior Inversé 11 1/2" calibre housed inside each Grand Bal watch. The movement is one of the few in the industry that has its mechanics reversed—the vast majority of automatic watches have their rotors on the back of the watch.
On the off-chance that none of the Grand Bal Supernatural watches catches your fancy, Dior has also recently launched its Grand Bal Couture service, which allows you to customise every part of the Grand Bal watch, from the material of the dial and case to the decoration on the oscillating weight and caseback—and yes, butterfly wings are an option too. Plus, you can rest assured that your watch is most likely also one-of-a-kind, given that there are over 200 million iterations available.
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