Peter Carl Fabergé’s mission, as supplier to the Tsar, was “to surprise and delight,” and this year in Baselworld the brand did exactly that, not only with the first imperial egg after 99 years – an incredible piece with 139 pearls, over 3,000 diamonds, yellow and white gold, carved mother-of-pearl and rock crystal, with a mechanism that opens the top of the egg to reveal a 12.17-carat natural grey pearl; the piece was sold in Doha three weeks ago for a seven-figure sum to the supplier who had sourced the pearls – but above all for two superb women’s complication watches.
Lady Compliquée Peacock
In this year’s Ladies Complication Collection, Fabergé worked with Jean-Marc Wiederrecht from Agenhor, and the results are beautiful. The Peacock watch was inspired by the Fabergé Peacock Egg made in 1908, and the peacock’s golden, bejewelled tail gradually opens to indicate the minutes shown on a mother-of-pearl scale that slowly progresses around the dial, while another mother-of-pearl ring indicates the hours read off against the crown wheel. A very poetic way of showing time, not unlike the Poetic Complications by Van Cleef & Arpels for whom Jean-Marc has created come memorable pieces such as Midnight in Paris. The Peacock watch’s curved shape, with domed sapphire crystal, sapphire caseback and platinum case, recalls its eggy origins.
Jean-Marc was at the Fabergé stand at Baselworld and said, “Women are increasingly loving complications, and two years ago a new category for women’s complications was introduced at the GPHG prize, won by Christophe Claret’s Margot. This piece was an opportunity to combine elements of Fabergé’s heritage with some interesting technical features.”
The technology is beautifully hidden, and from outside the watch is a sumptuous jewel, with peacock in hand-engraved white gold, against a backdrop of snow-set diamonds, Paraiba tourmalines and tsavorites. The hour ring and minute track are in mother-of-pearl. Inside, Jean-Marc’s movement includes the LIGA system, based on four gears that propel the peacock’s tail feathers, with special spring blades between the teeth that eliminate any play and ensure that the movement is smooth, and that the feathers remain perfectly positioned at all times.
The case is 38 mm in diameter, with a bezel set with 54 diamonds, and a platinum crown. The watch is mounted on a white alligator strap.
Lady Compliquée Winter
Another version of the watch is the Winter watch, inspired by the 1913 Winter Egg. In this piece the peacock scene is replaced by the progressive freezing of a lake. The dial is in mother-of-pearl marquetry, and the blue ice of the moving elements indicating the minutes are in blue lacquer. This piece is also mounted on a white alligator strap (though at the show, it looked great on its cool grey strap as in the photo).
Both watches are powered by the hand-wound calibre 6901 movement, 242 components, with 50 hours power reserve. The sapphire caseback reveals the beautiful movement decoration with circular graining and Côtes de Genève.
Price and availability
Price on request, find stores at www.faberge.com. The watches will be available from September 2015.