Dior splits its watch collections, like its fashion collections, into “haute couture” and “prêt-à-porter”. For the first time this year, the brand also uses the same colour tones seen on the catwalk. Thus, Spring/Summer 2015 is all about beige and Fall/Winter 2015/2016 takes on plum tones.
But the Dior Haute Couture watch collection alone is worth a much closer look, since it offers an almost bewildering array of marquetry techniques on the dial, taking full advantage of the oscillations of the winding rotor, which thanks to the brand’s unique “calibre inversé” movement, is visible on the dial side of the watch.
Dior VIII Grand Bal “Plissé Soleil”
The brand’s most generous limited edition of the year, with 888 watches available, the Grand Bal “Plissé Soleil” takes its name from a dressmaking technique (sunray pleating). This particular technique is reproduced on the oscillating mass in the form of a metallised grey mother-of-pearl marquetry with sea-green hems.
Dior VIII Grand Bal “Fil d’Or”
This limited edition in pink gold and black ceramic bears the signature of a lady lace-maker from Le Puy-en-Velay, France, who delicately weaves 1.5 metres of fine gold thread around the oscillating weight visible on the dial side of the watch. It is the same technique, and indeed the same person, that is used for the brand’s “Dior VIII Grand Bal Fil de Soie” models, and recalls all the delicateness of the brand’s haute couture creations. Yet the fine gold thread comes not from the fashion industry but from the medical sector. Only 88 examples of the Dior VIII Grand Bal “Fil d’Or” will be made.
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Dior VIII Grand Bal Cancan
Plumage is the theme for the limited-edition Grand Bal Cancan models, with three layers of cock feathers covering the dial and the oscillating weight. As it moves, the oscillating weight reproduces the swirl of a ball gown from which the Grand Bal collection takes its name. The feathers, in their shades of peacock blue, yellow, black or white, come from a cock that is specific to the Tuscany region of Italy and can withstand humidity, making them perfect for use in a watch. This limited-edition collection of just 88 is available with a case in pink gold and black or white ceramic.
Dior VIII Grand Bal “Envol”
The Grand Bal “Envol” collection is a series of 15 unique pieces that use scarab beetle elytra marquetry on the dial. Around 60 beetles (all collected after a natural death) are required in total to provide the elytra (the colourful forewings) for each dial. The marquetry is laid on a mother-of-pearl base and complemented with hand-painted hands.
Dior VIII Grand Soir Frou-Frou
At the summit of Dior’s haute couture watch collection is a series of five unique pieces in white gold with gold bezels set with diamonds, each fitted with the Zenith Elite calibre with a gold oscillating weight.
Each dial requires no less than seven days of work, during which the mother-of-pearl base is hand-painted in yellow gold and set with diamonds on chatons that have been raised above the dial and allow the stones to seemingly float in mid-air.