When you want to buy a high-quality watch, there are many companies – both from the old and the new school, that are more than happy to take your card details. There are many established firms that have golden reputations based on decades, sometimes centuries, of being at the top of their game. The newer players, like Richard Mille (opposite page) must go very big indeed to get themselves into the conversation.
Fabergé does not have to worry about name recognition, as its reputation as a jeweller extends far beyond its own immediate sphere. You do not need to know anything about jewellery to remember that the priceless objet d’art artfully stolen by Roger Moore’s Bond in Octopussy was a movie-built interpretation of one of the legendary Fabergé eggs.
Founded in St Petersburg in the mid-19th century, the firm, under the founder’s son Carl Fabergé, became the official jeweller to the Russia tsars, creating many brilliant bejewelled masterpieces including the Imperial eggs, figurines, ornaments and automata.
Five years ago the reborn Fabergé decided to get serious about making watches. When jewellery companies work to get a piece of the high-end watch market they are always aware of the suspicion that the watches will be more about glamour rather than sophisticated timekeeping. Fabergé headed this accusation off from the start by hiring only the very best people. Watch director Aurélie Picard, formerly of Audemars Piguet and Omega, engaged the services of the movement makers Agenhor and Renaud et Papi to create cutting-edge, innovative mechanical movements.
The result is watches that are beautifully put together pieces, as you would expect from a company with Fabergé’s background. With engines that are more than a match for the intricate bodywork.
The DTZ, or dual time zone, has an original method of telling time in two different parts of the world. The open-worked hands show the local hours and minutes around the dial in a conventional manner, albeit one done with the company’s own artistic flair. The second time zone is displayed via a jumping-hour visible through an aperture in the centre of the dial. The 24-hour disc is amplified into sharp focus within a mirror-finished cone. The self-winding calibre, developed by the Geneva movement specialist Agenhor, has a 50-hour power reserve. The 43mm case is available in either titanium and 18k rose gold, or black DLC-treated titanium and 18K white gold. £26,820.