Fabergé: How Easter Eggs Became a Luxury Household Name
It is without a doubt that eggs have been part of Easter and our childhood! The memory always recalls the endless hunts on a Sunday morning and what makes for a magical atmosphere. However, eggs have an alternative yet reciprocal connotation in our minds, this one is very close to Mr Peter Carl Fabergé, the famous creator of royal Easter eggs (more of him later). In the wake of our childhood memory, they are likened to magic tales. Such is the story of a luxury house…
When we first came across Fabergé, we had the greatest surprise to discover a brand with a “visionnaire” management team. Not only were we thrilled to meet Aurélie Picaud, Director of Fabergé’s timepieces department, we were equally amazed at their whole success story. But let us tell you a bit more about our discovery of this tremendous name for you to have an insider view.
The Quest of the Independent Era
Bearing in mind our ethos, we entered the atelier full of curiosity about Fabergé’s independent watchmaking credentials. Do they have an army of technicians working on a production line churning out watches, like other big watch brands? Also, to be honest, we couldn’t deny our excitement to see what hidden gems we could discover between these walls.
A thick door would unveil a very intimate workshop, featuring wide working tables covered with components, utensils, tools, embraced by a bright light passing through magnificent windows. What met our eyes were exactly how an independent workshop would be. A small team who would jump from desk to desk to manage everything under one roof. You feel the pride and passion in every word they say to describe how they create and operate. You recognise instantly this kind of authenticity from the fellow independents.
From the Eggs to Horology
You may have heard the famous story of Peter Carl Fabergé, a Russian jeweller from French immigrant ancestors, whose family name was originally from Picardie in France. Peter Carl’s father opened a jewellery shop, in a trendy street formerly called Bolshaya Moskovskaya of St Petersburg, which soon instilled the taste for fine ornament and jewellery craft in him.
His most famous accomplishment came with an Easter egg created for the Russian Imperial family in 1885. The Tzar Alexander III commissioned the company to make a first Easter egg for the family and a second one a year after. According to the family, Fabergé had from then on gained the Imperial families’ trust and given the entire freedom for the following years.
As with Peter Carl Fabergé’s creations, the Easter eggs have carried on over the years. Nowadays, we perpetuate the tradition for everyone’s delights.
Fabergé Timepieces Department and Recognition
The first and certainly one of the most important we should begin with is the launch of the Visionnaire DTZ which won the GPHG in 2016. The GPHG certainly is the Oscars of horology, the ultimate accolade for the craft of a watchmaker. This set the stage for Fabergé’s recognition in fine watchmaking, and the respect their work deserves.
However, let us bring a little bit of background to this story. After a prodigious career at Audemars Piguet, when Aurélie Picaud joined Fabergé in 2011, the luxury house’s watches department was stagnating. She took this opportunity as a great challenge. Within 2 years of her arrival, she revived Fabergé watches department’s whole vision, convinced the revered master watchmaker Jean-Marc Wiederrecht to collaborate with the brand and won the GPHG prizes two years in a row.
The Visionnaire Collections
In homage to Peter Carl Fabergé, all collections have been inspired by the idea of surprise and delight, like what you may find inside one of his eggs.
The GMT function located at the very centre of the Visionnaire DTZ model’s dial under a glass dome conjures, of course, the heart of the egg and the surprise it preciously carries. The intention is reinforced by a detail which sounds to us more like a supreme perfection: an elegant peacock-shaped component hidden inside the watch’s movement.
The dial of the Visionnaire I, limited to 15 pieces per iteration, represents a crack in an egg’s shell. Some would say it is a symbol of good luck. We agree, wearing this exclusive timepiece is certainly one in a lifetime lucky experience.
The latest creation, Visionnaire Chronograph, has been launched to mark the 100 years of the Russian revolution, embed the unfished constellation egg.
Our personal experience of Fabergé has certainly been whimsical, there is so much behind this luxury household name. A lot of mysteries, treasure hunts and myths, but one sure thing, our common story does not fall into myth and starts now!
Read the full history of Fabergé
Read more about the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève
Geneva lake picture credit to bestdesignguides.com
Visionnaire DTZ picture credit to ablogtowatch.com