Dior's timely elegance

Dior echoes the dressmaker's toile in the latest incarnation of its VIII watch.

Dior CEO Laurence Nicolas. Photo / Viva
Dior CEO Laurence Nicolas. Photo / Viva

Dior looks to the colour of humble cotton canvas prototypes of couture dresses for their new timepiece, the Dior VIII White ($20,390 from Partridge Jewellers). Made from white ceramic and steel, the elegant watch is an update of the black version released last year, and works as both a timeless and fashionable accessory - reflecting the trend for romantic minimalism that Dior's new Creative Director, Raf Simons, has made his signature. Dior CEO watches and jewellery Laurence Nicolas talks about the history and background of the elegant piece, which will be officially launched in New Zealand next week.

Why the name Dior VIII?
Eight was Christian Dior's lucky number. A superstitious man, he opened his House on the 8th of October 1946, Avenue Montaigne, in the VIIIth arrondissement of Paris and called his first collection "En Huit" (In Eight). Since then, the number also evokes 8 Place Vendome, showcase of the jewellery and timepiece collections, but also the eight sides of the pyramid and the eight sides of the cannage pattern.

When was the Dior VIII created?
In 2011 and it is Dior's fourth watchmaking line, after La D de Dior in 2003, Chiffre Rouge in 2004 and Dior Christal in 2005.

The Dior VIII evokes the Haute Couture heritage of the house of Dior, based on timeless elegance.

It evokes, via the very structure of its bracelet, one of the fundamental aspects of the house of Dior, architectural work on a garment so dear to Monsieur Dior.

Like the Lady Dior handbag, with its graphic design, construction and cannage calfskin, this timepiece's Dior personality can also be found in the brilliance and sensuality of the material which give the wristwatch its femininity, the demanding requirements and know-how of a house where the inside must be as beautiful as the outside: visible oscillating weight, sometimes lacquered in black, sometimes in a bright colour. Monsieur said, "Elegance is an ensemble, where the invisible is as important as the visible." The line is a metaphor for a couture house's wardrobe, comprised of day versions, cocktail versions (with coloured baguettes) and evening versions (with the Grand Bal timepieces).

Can we talk about a timeless watch or is it a fashion piece?
In the same way that haute couture epitomises timeless elegance, this watch revisits the codes of the House and imposes the use of a classic watchmaking vocabulary, therefore imposing itself as a long-lasting collection.

Why write the VIII in roman numerals?
Dior's favourite style was the Louis XVI style. The roman numerals are a nod to his taste.

Where are the timepieces made?
Like all the other Dior timepieces, they are designed in the Avenue Montaigne studios then made in Switzerland in the Ateliers Horlogers Dior at La Chaux-de-Fonds, cradle of Swiss watchmaking.

Could you tell us about the new Dior VIII timepieces for 2012?
The Dior VIII story, which began last year, continues [with] new versions in white ceramic. Christian Dior used to say, "White is pure and simple and matches with everything". In haute couture, white has a very special meaning because it is the colour of the toile, the cotton canvas prototype which is the basis for the construction of a dress. Moreover, we are continuing the black story and are proposing a new 28mm diameter, new "snow-set" diamond bezels and are reinforcing our Dior Inverse calibre started last year. Christian Dior once wrote that "Black and white might well suffice, but why deprive oneself of colour? Colours are wonderful and glamourising." We are launching versions with dials that are hemmed with a line of coloured stones. There is also colour in the form of lacquer applied on the oscillating weights, as well as aquamarine, ruby, amethyst and peridot baguettes, even coloured glass on the case-backs.

Tell us about the concealed details?
Christian Dior used to say "Elegance is an ensemble where the invisible is as important as the visible". As in haute couture, Dior takes great care with the details on the linings: the oscillating weights on the automatic versions are lacquered in black or in white for the more day styles or in engraved sapphire crystal and colours for cocktail versions s. The case-backs are also stamped with "VIII Place Vendome".

Tell us about your choice of muse?
The timepiece of the House of Dior had to be represented by a woman. Charlize Theron was the image of the perfume J'adore, she was the natural choice.

Can she be described in a few words?
Feminine, elegant, sensual, strong, luminous, flamboyant, mysterious, with timeless beauty.

- NZ Herald

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