8th March 2017: Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph
On this date a hundred years ago, the Russian Revolution started and led to the destruction of the Imperial family line as well as the demise of Carl Fabergé’s business in St Petersburg.
Today, Fabergé reveals a chronograph of “revolutionary significance” and pays tribute to the unfinished imperial Constellation Egg of 1917. The stars, and the time they measure, have seen many stories start and end. Some stories end abruptly, others echo down the eons. The new Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph links the events from 100 years ago with today.
See previous AlphaLuxe article on the Revival of Fabergé
Rejoin a Winning Team
Having won the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève award (GPHG) twice in-a-row, with the last being for the Fabergé Visionnaire DTZ in 2016, the successful collaboration of Fabergé with Agenhor was called upon again to produce the new watch.
The Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph marks a new standard of telling time. Hours and minutes are read at the periphery of the watch dial while the chronograph function is highlighted at the centre. This required a special movement construction by Agenhor; the automatic calibre 6361, AgenGraph, a revolutionary new movement that allows supreme clarity, precision and efficiency to the measurement of short epochs of time — for the chronograph complication.
As a modern analogue of the Fabergé egg, the Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph is a mechanical opus with wonder at its heart — a counterpoint of short time measurement to that of the Constellation Egg that measured eons of time in the Cosmos.
For 1917, Tsar Nicholas II had planned the Constellation Easter Egg as a gift to his wife, Tsarina Alexandra, featuring the constellation of Leo to match the star sign of his son and crown prince — Tsarevich Alexei. Before it could be completed, the February Revolution of 1917 caused Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate, the imperial house to die out, the Fabergé family to be exiled and the Constellation Egg vanished.
From correspondence between Eugène Fabergé and François Birbaum (Chief Designer 1895 – 1917) in 1922, we know the egg was made of blue glass on a cloud-shaped rock crystal pedestal. At the turn of this century (2000), parts of the unfinished Constellation Egg – the cloud of rock crystal and the two empty halves of blue glass egg engraved with constellations – were discovered in the Fersman Mineralogy Museum in Moscow. Neither the clock mechanism nor the outer ring time indicators have been found.
A laser-engraved etching of a Fabergé Egg is hidden somewhere on the Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph as a homage to the unfinished 1917 Constellation Egg.
Telling Time in Circles
The outer time-telling disc of the unfinished Constellation Egg is the inspiration of the periphery of the watch dial.
The chronograph indicators feature three red-tip hands on a common spindle to show hours, minutes and seconds elapsed in the short timing.
This concentric arrangement with prevailing time indicators completely surrounding chronograph hands on a single spindle are a world’s first.
Two Versions of Luxury
Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph Rose Gold has a 43mm diameter 18K rose gold and titanium case, 18K rose gold and rubber crown and 18K rose gold pushers.
Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph Ceramic has a 43mm diameter Black DLC (diamond-like carbon) treated ceramic and Dark Grey DLC treated titanium case, Dark Grey DLC treated titanium and rubber crown and Dark Grey DLC treated titanium pushers.
The official launch of these watches will be at the annual Baselworld trade show 23rd March 2017, when they reveal the cost of this style of luxury…..but it will be “relatively reasonable”.
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He was also CEO of PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelog ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).