Faberge Visionnaire DTZ Gallivanter
I probably wasn’t the only one that, a few years back, rolled my eyes when I heard Faberge were launching some watches. I assumed they’d be covered in more jewels than Aladdin’s treasure, a timepiece to make a Tsar blush. Instead, it was me blushing slightly when I first saw the Visionnaire.
Fast-forward a few years and the Visionnaire is at the heart of Faberge’s impressive inroads in haute horology – and it’s easy to see why. Rather than focus on jewellery watches, the Visionnaire is mechanically stunning, with its hands rotating around the centre of the watch, leaving it free for whatever Faberge decide to put there.
It’s an inspired design and one that you can only really get from a serious watchmaker, a mechanically-minded force of nature. That is precisely what Faberge did; the man in question, Agenhor’s Jean-Marc Wiederrecht.
You might have seen his handiwork before; he’s worked with Van Cleef & Arpels, Graff and, most recently, won yet another GPHG prize for his work on the awesome Singer Track 1 Chronograph. Incidentally, if you see similarities between that watch and Faberge’s version, you have a good eye. Both use his very own ‘Agengraph.’ Jean-Marc was given free reign in the creation of the first Visionnaire and guess what? It turned out fantastically.
Of all the various Visionnaire versions, however, from the central date to the Agengraph, it’s the DTZ that’s my weapon of choice. Well, would be if I could afford the £26,880 it costs. More specifically I’m talking about the Gallivanter. I like it enough in fact that I put it on the damn cover of Oracle Time – where, by the way, it looks absolutely amazing. You should get a copy. The watch was also on show at the recent Watchmakers Club event in London.
There’s a lot going on in the deceptively simple Gallivanter. First off, there’s the second time zone simply displayed in the centre, with the two hands around it indicating the local time. That GMT function can be set via a simple pusher at 10 o’clock, making it one of the easier to use as well as read.
Things get more complex when you look at the dial though which, instead of just being a blue, guilloche-laden piece of metal is in fact the self-winding rotor, visible through a sapphire hour ring. It’s kind of like a Perrelet in that respect, but far, far more elegant. That said, it’s technical enough that you’d forget the central aperture is inspired by a Faberge Egg.
The case is just as unusual. The tiered, concentric circles that build it up switch between gold and titanium, classical precious metal and ultra-light greyness. It’s a combination we’ve been seeing more of, but still not near enough for my tastes. With that blue rotor-come-dial it’s just stunning.
I’ll try not to wax too lyrical about the Gallivanter, but it’s a hard ask. Agenhor’s emphasis on central complications is unique to them (as far as I’m aware) and the Visionnaire is a pretty good canvas for Jean-Marc to experiment on. I’m genuinely excited to see what they do with the watch next – something I’ve not said for far, far too long – but in the meantime, my Santa wishlist has one word on it.