The Dior VIII Grand Bal Plisse Soleil Acier Cadran Bleu (left) and the Dior VIII Grand Bal Fil de Soie
When Christian Dior unveiled his ‘New Look’ in February 1947, the reaction from the fashionable elite of the day was to hail a new era of dressing. The iconic images that followed of nipped in waists, voluminous skirts and just a hint of cleavage have permeated the spirit of the French fashion house to this day, with many still referring to the infamous ‘Bar suit’ as the ultimate in Parisian chic.
Introducing watches that could live up to Christian Dior’s exacting standards was certainly never going to be an easy task. The brand’s first foray into Swiss-made watches came in 1975, making it one of the first couture houses to take a serious interest in watchmaking. Years later, in 2001, Dior equipped itself with its own development and manufacturing facility – Les Ateliers Horlogers Dior SA – located at La Chaux-de-Fonds.
Dior’s Inversé calibre movement being assembled
By 2003 it had introduced its now iconic La D de Dior lady’s watch, crafted in steel or gold and set with diamonds or a gemstone dial, including malachite, lapis lazuli and turquoise.
From this point on it is safe to say that Dior has been producing some incredible watches, including the multi-faceted Dior Christal, which uses sapphire crystal glass to create colourful pyramid shapes across the bracelet and bezel.
This sense of twisting the traditional to make something new is typical of Dior’s watchmaking division. The 2009 Dior Christal Mystérieuse, for example, featured six layered sapphire crystal discs inlaid with mother of pearl which turned to create a kaleidoscope effect on the dial.
Similarly, the brand pulled out all the stops with its patented Inversé calibre movement in 2011, which sees an oscillating weight placed on top of the dial – making the movement a very visible design feature as opposed to something hidden away.
Dior was inspired by balls to create its Inversé calibre movement, especially Daisy Fellowes at the 1951 Beistegui ball in a Dior gown…
The movement was actually inspired by the swinging of ball gowns at glamorous parties – something that Mr Christian Dior adored. It is most obvious in the brand’s Dior VIII Grand Bal and Grand Bal Pièce Unique models, which seem to get more colourful, more exciting and more lust-worthy as every year passes.
Highlights include the Dior VIII Grand Bal Plume collection with pink, white and orange feathers decorating the oscillating weight, and the Dior VIII Grand Bal Fil de Soie watch from 2014 featuring green and pink thread woven like a corset across the diamond-set dial (top right image).
Two Dior VIII Grand Bal Plume models
In 2015 Dior got hearts fluttering all over again with its Dior VIII Grand Bal Plisse Soleil offer – combing a ceramic bracelet and case with an architecture-inspired mother of pearl dial.
Of course some pieces are so one-of-a-kind they can’t be recreated, and this is why Dior launched its Dior VIII Grand Bal Pièce Unique collection in 2012. These pieces from 2015, pictured below, show the brand’s incredible attention to detail, and its use of colour and precious gemstones to create something out of the ordinary.
The Dior VIII Grand Bal Pièce Unique collection from 2015
If your budget can’t stretch to Grand Bal levels, there are plenty of beautiful watches in Dior’s core collections too, including the feminine La Mini D de Dior offer. First launched in 2009, the collection of dress watches feature diamond-set bezels, colourful dials and an array of leather strap options, like metallic gold, ombre orange and neon pink. There’s also the Dior VIII Montaigne collection with quartz and automatic to choose from.
La Mini D de Dior watches
If you’re looking for a timepiece with fashion credentials, watchmaking precision and a devil may care attitude to colour, then Dior may just be the New Look you need.