The Fabergé workshop may currently be based in London, but its timepiece division looks frequently to the storied brand’s Russian heritage when it comes to dreaming up luxurious watches with decorative enameling, lacquer, and gems. Subtle references to, and reimaginings of, Fabergé’s famous Imperial eggs abound, from hands with oval-shaped eyelets to mother-of-pearl marquetry and sky-blue lacquer dials inspired by the Winter Egg of 1913, an icy masterpiece crafted in rock crystal, moonstone, platinum, and diamonds.
When Gemfields purchased Fabergé in 2013, it was only a matter of time before the timepieces would start to make clever and very beautiful use of the company’s increasingly ubiquitous Mozambican rubies and Zambian emeralds.
For example, rubies now decorate the latest iteration of the house’s award-winning Lady Compliquée Peacock watch, a design that captures the freethinking spirit of Peter Carl Fabergé and his famous Peacock Egg of 1908 through a whimsical movement that has a peacock’s tail gradually unfurling to a full fan shape every hour. Fabergé timepiece director, Aurélie Picaud, personally presented this and other new watches from the workshop to the New York media yesterday, and she pointed out that each diamond-clad feather is tipped with a ruby “eye” against a background of diamond and ruby pavé.
Meanwhile the Lady Libertine I and II models offer a verdant display of emeralds from Gemfields’ Kagem mine, which pays homage to Zambia’s natural landscape through thoughtful details like a stylized geographic motif expressed in polished, rough, and hand-carved emeralds and diamonds and fine gold filigree outlining the banks of the region’s rivers. A diamond and hand-carved emerald centerpiece points to Zambia’s native flora. Hours and minutes are marked by leaf-shaped hands.
With our without the addition of Gemfields ruby and emerald adornments, the general direction for Fabergé’s timepieces is one that plays to the idea of secrets and surprises, details revealed only to the wearer or hiding within the intricacies of the dial’s design or caseback mechanisms (Fabergé partners with Agenhor manufacture in Geneva to develop its movements and complications).
One such example, pictured below, features a central aperture that reveals a second time-zone indication visible only from the perspective of the wearer.
Top: Ruby Dalliance timepiece with 4.1 cts. t.w. invisibly set baguette diamonds, 6.66 cts. t.w. Gemfields rubies, enamel center with 1 ct. central diamond, and 18k rose gold case, crown, and buckle on an alligator leather strap, price on request
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