We have been visiting Fabergé at various events and locations since 2013. I can confidently say that in the past two years the brand has evolved. Don’t get me wrong, they have always created beautiful pieces, but these could only be loosely associated with collections. The 2015 line-up seemed to be more the manifestation of a higher branding strategy, than just individually nice pieces. Thus, we looked forward to the presentation in 2016 to find out if this tendency continues.
One turning point in the life of Fabergé was its acquisition by Gemfields on 28 January 2013. The world’s largest coloured gemstone miner destined the historic jewellery house to be their entry to the consumer market with coloured gemstone jewellery. This obviously provides more opportunities for Fabergé too by leveraging the unmatched access to quality coloured gemstones.
As Justin W. Hogbin, Global Communications Director put it, “…we would like to be recognized by being colourful, bold, yet wearable on any occasion: the same ring would look hot with jeans, but also elegantly complements a dress.”
The Devotion line includes rings and matching earrings with large coloured centre stones emphasized by a platinum-diamond surrounding. Last November I was mesmerised by these at the Mayfair boutique.
The Emotion, inspired by Fauvism, is a daring collection, which received new entrants in Basel. Fauvism was an artistic movement and a group of Modern artists of the 20th century characterised by the use of very vibrant colours and simplified, yet bold shapes. The rings are decorated with abstract compositions of random pavé-set gemstones, such as sapphires and rubies.
Fabergé multi-coloured egg pendant (white diamonds, blue, orange, pink, purple and yellow sapphires, emeralds, rubies and tsavorites)
The splendour of the Imperial Romanov court inspires the company to this day: the Imperial collection consist of pendants, necklaces, high jewellery pieces such as the Impératrice Emerald Tassel Pendant and the new ring-necklace-earring sets. Fabergé interprets the motifs of Russian folklore or Belle Époque patterns in a contemporary style. The new Imperial Quadrille fine jewellery pieces with sapphires, rubies and emeralds are comfortable, easy-to-wear but never fail to impress.
In 2015 Fabergé surprised everyone a little with outstanding “haute horlogerie” timepieces out of the blue. But if you go back to Peter Carl Fabergé’s exciting life and legacy, it is actually very much understandable: his workshop produced generously adorned as well as simple, yet elegant table clocks. He was devoted to perfection and he surrounded himself with some of the greatest artisans of his time. (If you haven’t seen this video yet, you should.)
In 2015 the company introduced the Lady Compliquée Peacock, which was created via a collaboration with Jean-Marc Wiederrecht (Agenhor) and this piece won the Ladies’ High Mech watch prize at Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. This spring brought three new Peacocks into the courtyard: black sapphire, emerald and ruby versions.
The real novelty of 2016 was the Fabergé Dalliance line with three amazing watches. Two out of the three bear the fruit of the marriage between Fabergé and Gemfields in the form of large emeralds. The line shares the AGH 6911 calibre, developed again by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht. One of its remarkable features is an adjustment system called AgenPIT, which does not necessitate the presence of a regulator while having a ring-shaped balance. It offers accurate adjustment of the movement without the need for balance spring distortion.
The 18k rose gold Fabergé Dalliance Lady Libertine I is inspired by the Zambian terrain, the home of Gemfields’ Kagem emerald mine. The stylised main motif is made from rough, hand-carved emeralds with fine gold lines symbolising the banks of the rivers. Fabergé Dalliance Lady Libertine II is snow-set with diamonds surrounding a 2.22 ct satin-finished emerald. The emerald is decorated with a flower-shaped diamond setting and a cabochon emerald as the centrepiece.
The most mystical piece is the Dalliance Lady Levity: the central element of the watch is a moon-face decoration inspired by a Fabergé rock crystal and enamel desk clock made in around 1910. Jean-Marc Wiederrecht created a modern version of the original hours and minutes indication with his calibre. The movement uses a little moon to show the hours and a sun for minutes, without any central axis.
Fabergé printed the moon-face in platinum on a domed sapphire crystal, then set it with mother-of-pearl. The peripheral dial is also made of mother-of-pearl thus it enhances the “levitating” effect of the central moon figure. The face of the moon is only visible from certain angles. The printing technique opens tremendous space for customization, of course.
Following the Fabergé Visionnaire I with flying tourbillon made in 2015, the cooperation with Agenhor resulted in another interesting men’s piece, called Visionnaire DTZ. It is a travelling companion with many cheeky details. First, it has a perfectly intuitive second time-zone display, shown magnified through a central aperture. Numbers are printed on a disk on the back-side of the AGH 6924 calibre. The shape of the mirror-finished cone connecting the optics and the number disk is specially designed to let sufficient light in, while reducing unwanted reflections. Having the cone placed in the centre of the watch, the hands are missing the central axis they would normally have.
Secondly, if you look at the self-winding movement, you’ll be immediately missing the rotor. The oscillating weight is actually placed in the front, just under the hour markers – as you move your wrist it rotates with it. And finally, deep in the movement, there is a cam with a rotation every hour, responsible for the instant jump of the second time-zone hour disk. It has wheat sheaf engraved on its surface. A peacock, which appears on many Fabergé models, in this timepiece is the lever tracking the cam, which bends down to peck at the wheat.
Photo credits: Fabergé. Loupiosity.com.
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