It’s one of the most celebrated couture houses and now Dior is bringing its bespoke savoir-faire to timepieces. The new “created to measure” service (from £27,000) allows clients to tailormake their own Dior Grand Bal, the brand’s iconic women’s watch that echoes the swish and swirl of its lavish ballgowns. Having debuted on the horological scene in 2011, the watch is powered by the Dior Inversé 11 1/2 calibre and famously places the oscillating weight front and centre on the face (versus traditionally hidden on the back). The rotor is the design’s pièce de résistance and has been embellished over the years with all manner of gemstones, as well as feather designs, mother-of-pearl, jade marquetry, woven silk threads – even the hard shell of a scarab beetle.
Now the design reins have been handed to the customer, for whom all the available components have been collated into an elegant coffer that will be touring Dior boutiques. The design consultations take place on set days and locations, with five London dates (booking is essential) scheduled for July 15-19. The drawers of options begin with the case (choosing either gold or steel) and bezel (with brilliant- or baguette-cut diamonds). Then comes the dial: this could be coloured lacquer or mother-of-pearl, while gemstones from opal to turquoise to malachite are on offer.
The most exciting stage is, of course, the rotor, which can be adorned with a wide range of motifs – latticed, draped, sun-pleated or beribboned, to name a few – in an impressive colour palette. There are further drawers of possibilities for the hands and bracelet too, while the final flourish of customisation comes on the caseback, which can be engraved with initials or set with Dior’s signature sun-sign constellation. This all adds up to some 200 million variations, which could be overwhelming if it weren’t for the Dior artisan guiding clients through the process and producing digital renderings of the brand’s Grand Bal masterpiece – which will take five months to make.