Dior VIII Grand Bal Watches Dazzle
By Roberta Naas
In celebration of the November 2012 opening of its redesigned, contemporary-art-filled LA boutique (inspired by Christian Dior’s own Parisian apartment), the French fashion house releases the Dior VIII Grand Bal Beverly Hills Special Edition, created specifically for the store. Inspired by Christian Dior’s taste for grand fêtes, this timepiece heralds his love of the simplicity and purity of the color white.
The one-of-a-kind piece is equipped with the Dior Inverse caliber with a spinning rotor on the dial side, in 22k white gold and bedecked with inlaid mother-of-pearl. The edges of the rotor are meticulously set with diamonds to emulate a fringed or draped look. This watch is further accented with a white ceramic bracelet with signature pyramid-shaped links. The bezel of the 38mm automatic watch is snow-set with diamonds, bringing it to a total of 373 diamonds weighing 2.15 carats.
This special “Drape” edition boasts an elegant mother-of-pearl dial with a white mother-of-pearl marquetry star at its center, a nod to the designer’s lucky charm, visible with every spin of the oscillating weight.
“Dior VIII evokes the haute couture heritage of [the brand], based on timeless elegance. It is born from the desire of the house to express its codes while respecting orthodox watch-making expertise,” says Laurence Nicolas, Dior Montres CEO.
The Dior VIII collection is, in fact, a metaphor for the couture house’s actual clothing designs, inspiring timepieces comprised of day, cocktail (with colored gemstones), and evening versions. Christian Dior founded his legendary haute couture fashion house in the 1940s, after dabbling in drawing, cartooning, costume designing, and architecture (his first real love). He insisted on classic elegance, focusing on the architectural elements of a garment and the concept that each piece—in its entirety—be beautiful. “Elegance is an ensemble,” said Dior, “where the invisible is as important as the visible.”
Dior’s couture collections won him international acclaim from the start. While Dior passed away in 1957, 10 years after launching his business, those who have carried on his legacy over the last half-century have never lost sight of his design principles—enabling the brand to grow from haute couture into other extensions, including accessories, home furnishings, perfumes and—easily one of the most coveted spin-offs—timepieces.
Much like the making of a couture dress for a client, which takes a minimum of two months to create and deliver, the making of a Dior timepiece is a seamless creative process that originates in the design halls of the Avenue Montaigne studio in Paris and concludes in the brand’s Swiss watch manufacturing facility in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
The Dior VIII Grand Bal watches (part of the Dior VIII collection) embody the brand’s haute couture principles, yet lay claim to distinctive haute horology feats. First introduced in 2011, each of the Dior VIII Grand Bal watches takes its inspiration from the detailing of Dior’s couture clothing—from linings and toile to ribbons, bows, ruffles, fringe, bold colors, and patterns—giving watch designers a wealth of inspiration from which to draw and reinterpret into wrist reality.
Dior VIII Grand Bal watches are individually made, with most featuring the Dior Inverse caliber, wherein the rotor of the watch is contrary—placed on the dial side of the watch—and decorated in marquetries of gemstones, or with feathers or other sumptuous elements. “The Dior Inverse caliber is a technical feat because the oscillating weight is in openwork, lacquered, or set with diamonds or stones such as jade, mother-of-pearl or sugilite. The design of each Grand Bal model is different—requiring a total recalculation of the inertia of each weight for each model,” explains Nicolas. “The whirling movement animates the dial and recalls the swirl of a ball gown.”
Angelenos, please choose a partner…
photography by Patrick Demarchelier