Timing is a precision affair, but it isn’t always about how accurate your watch might be. In fact, it frequently isn’t about something prosaic like accuracy. We use the word “affair” deliberately here, because there are some timepieces that you absolutely have to love. Anything less than the strongest emotional bond and the watch will spend more time in a box than on your wrist. This is especially true if the watch in question is something exquisite, like the Vacheron Constantin Égérie Self-Winding, which relies on your movements to power its own mechanical heart.
The Égérie collection debuted even before the digital Watches & Wonders show, and was Vacheron Constantin’s first ladies collection in more than 10 years, and the second coming of a collection that first appeared in 2003.
A refresher was certainly required, but to be fair, the watches are so lovely we have to wonder why the Geneva watchmaker took so long to bring it back. Just look at it, and drink in the gorgeous cloth-like pleats on the dial, encircled by a textured frame that also looks like it could be fabric. The material here is silvered opaline so it required the deft touch of the guillocheur, an artisan who specialises in adding textural patterns to metals and more with a special machine. Of course, the wealth of idiosyncratic gestures at 2 o’clock will not fail to draw your eye. All of this is just for starters, because there is a lot of watch to love here. We haven’t even got to the diamonds yet.
This particular model though shines with or without precious stones, thanks to the 18k pink gold 35mm case and matching bracelet. That bracelet, in particular, makes the watch notable as a proper piece of jewellery. The five links of different sizes should make for a more supple bracelet than any standard three-link confection. Interestingly, it also adds a textural sense more reminiscent of fabric than metal, while retaining all the security and comfort of gold. In a world that may be very concerned with hygiene for the foreseeable future, a bracelet is also a much better bet than leather of any sort.
Given that this is a contemporary Vacheron Constantin watch, it is water-resistant to 30 metres so you need never worry about washing. Having said that, bracelets can be heavy, of course, and the manufacture recognises that. Hence, the bracelet comes with a quick-change feature, which means you can swop it out for anything you choose. This feature of the Maison’s watches means you can very easily get a lot of different experiences with just one model.
Turning back to the aesthetic touches here, there are 58 brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel, with a further 34 on the date chapter ring. On the crown at 2 o’clock, Vacheron Constantin has opted to deploy a moonstone; this position will take some getting used to but you will most likely not need to adjust it while wearing it. This is thanks to the self-winding nature of the manufacture calibre 1088, which has a power reserve of 40 hours.