Vacheron Constantin Looks Back on Two Centuries of Feminine Watches in Special Exhibition
Vacheron Constantin is amongst the oldest watch manufacturers in the world today with an uninterrupted history in watchmaking. Founded in 1755, its storied heritage meant that the watchmaker contributed to many milestone moments in horology, and today, the Vacheron Constantin Heritage collections comprise more than 1,300 archival pieces, some of which bore witness to the maison’s early demonstrations of feminine haute horlogerie that date back to 1815.
Now, watch enthusiasts and collectors can see these testaments of Vacheron Constantin’s feminine creativity in an exhibition hosted at the maison’s Ion Orchard boutique.
Carefully curated to illustrate its horological legacy over two centuries, the timepieces were selected in association to outfits worn by ladies for special events, from tea parties to soirees—in tribute to the connection haute horlogerie shares with haute couture.
Coming full circle, guests to the exhibition can also view Égérie, the latest women’s collection from Vacheron Constantin. The collection is a masterpiece of craftsmanship, precision, and sophisticated beauty, accurately reflecting the taste of women today.
Here’s a look at the pieces to look out for when you visit Vacheron Constantin’s Ion Orchard boutique from now until September 11.
Ladies’ yellow gold and champlevé enamel pendant watch 1834
Women were the first to wear timepieces on their wrists, but before wristwatches, they were happy to wear the intricate timepieces on a chain. This pendant watch from the early 19th century reflects the feminine taste for ornate jewellery watches in the era. It features delicate polychrome champlevé enamel work, adorning the watch cover with a vibrant motif of flora and fauna.
The case band is engraved with a border of flowers and leaves, while the watch’s silver dial bears a guilloché pattern with a tapestry pattern—a fitting accessory for tea. It serves as a status symbol as well. The ornate design of these pieces allowed women to discreetly check the time in a social setting without appearing impolite.
Ladies’ engraved yellow gold secret watch, curved-link bracelet 1946
A concept born in the 19th century and especially in vogue during the 1930s and 1940s, secret watches were conceived as jewels that tell the time, during an era when women were not expected to know the time. The appearance of the secret watch has evolved through the years, reflecting the zeitgeist of its time.
This secret watch from 1946—a perfect accompaniment to an elegant luncheon—was indicative of the spirit of freedom post-World War II, with the introduction of retro, voluptuous shapes in yellow gold. The seamless integration of the watch case into the wide curved-link bracelet—thanks to the lug design—was a testament to Vacheron Constantin’s masterful expertise and craftsmanship.
(Related: The 5 New Classic Watches We Love At Watches & Wonders 2020)
Égérie moon phase
Drawing its name from the nymph Egeria from Roman mythology, the Égérie collection is dedicated to women who enhance their attire with a bold touch. The watch’s details pay tribute to both haute couture and haute horlogerie—a pleated motif on the opaline silver dial, scalloped 18K gold numerals, and a circle of diamonds recall luxurious fabrics, fine lace and precious embroidery, while the horological complication that features asymmetrically nods towards aesthetic codes cherished by the watchmaker in its horological history.
The offset circle, with its glittering border of 36 diamonds, draws attention to the moon phase indicator on the top right of the watch face, which displays a dreamlike vision of time with an 18K gold moon appearing behind delicate mother-of-pearl clouds. The Égérie moon phase is powered by Vacheron Constantin’s self-winding moon phase 1088 L movement, with a 40-hour power reserve. It is available in steel and 18K 5N pink gold—both fringed with 58 diamonds and a cabochon-cut moonstone set on its crown—and each comes with self-interchangeable Mississippiensis alligator leather straps.
The Vacheron Constantin exhibition runs until September 11 at its Ion Orchard boutique.