A Conversation With… Laurence Nicholas

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Photo: Courtesy of Dior Time Pieces

Laurence Nicholas, President of Dior Watches, shares the inspiration behind the new Dior VIII with us.

Christian Dior is a house with a deep sense of its own history. How did you bring the historical, classic Dior looks to this new line of watches while keeping in step with modern watch designs?

We created this timepiece respecting the roots of the House of course, as Christian Dior himself was a visionary as far back as 1947. But we also included a vision of modernity that is really Dior. For example, our “Dior inverted” caliber is part of an avant-garde horology, but the shape and the elegance of the oscillating weight set with diamonds are absolutely timeless.

What is the inspiration behind this collection?

It evokes, via the very structure of its bracelet, one of the fundamental aspects of the House of Dior, that is to say the architectural work on a garment so dear to Monsieur Dior. Indeed, he used to say: “I dreamt of being an architect; as a couturier, I have to respect the principles of architecture.”

Like the Lady Dior handbag, with its graphic Cannage design, construction, and calfskin, this timepiece’s Dior personality can also be found in the brilliance and sensuality of the material that give the wristwatch its femininity, as well as the demanding requirements and know-how of a House where the inside must be as beautiful as the outside.

What is the significance of the name Dior VIII? Why was it chosen for this collection?

Eight was Christian Dior’s lucky number. A superstitious man, he opened his House on the 8th of October 1946 on Avenue Montaigne, in the VIIIth arrondissement of Paris, and called his first collection “En Huit” (In Eight). Since then, the number eight also evokes 8 Place Vendôme, where the Jewelry and Timepiece collections are showcased, as well as the eight sides of the pyramid and the eight sides of the Cannage pattern. We have chosen to write Dior VIII in roman numerals because Christian Dior’s favorite style was the Louis XVI style. The Roman numerals are a nod to his taste.

What kind of woman was the Dior VIII watch created for?

A woman who is proud of her femininity and who wants to be dressed with an Haute Couture watch on her wrist.

You chose to create the wristband in ceramic instead of the traditional metal or leather. Is there a particular reason this material was chosen?

Monsieur Dior used to say: “Genuine luxury requires genuine materials and the craftsman’s sincerity.” Ceramic was the only material that made the production of an intensely black, homogenous, yet flexible bracelet possible, without any apparent steel structure between the links. We may well compare this work to the one carried out on the Lady Dior bag, because an essential feature of the Lady Dior is the lambskin, structured by the hand of man, in order to create the Cannage pattern.

The Dior VIII ad campaign featuring actress Charlize Theron | Photo: Courtesy of Dior Time Pieces

Charlize Theron has been named the brand ambassador for this collection. Why was she selected to represent this line?

The timepiece of the House of Dior had to be represented by a woman with a timeless elegance. Charlize Theron, already being the face of the perfume “J’adore”, was the natural choice for us.

The subtlety of the gemstone placement on the Dior VIII is remarkable. Describe the process of creating the watch-face adornment for this particular collection.

We have set our stones having in mind an Haute Couture process. Some diamonds, citrines, pink sapphires, and tsavorites are “embroidered” on the bezel. Other diamonds are “hemmed” with a subtle line on the dial. On the Grand Bal version, we decided that the oscillating weight of the “Dior inversé” caliber will be open worked and set with diamonds, because it was the best way to evoke plumetis, embroideries, and lace effects.

Describe the purpose behind the pyramid structure details on this watch.

 As Monsieur Dior wanted to be an architect and “built” his Bar suit in 1947 having in mind a double pyramid structure with fitted shoulders, a cinched waist, large hips, and a large skirt, the idea of a pyramid structure for this watch was obvious for us.

The beauty and functionality of the Dior VIII watch means that it is very versatile, able to transcend both daywear and eveningwear looks. Give us an example of an outfit that you would wear with this watch.

 This collection can be worn for any occasion: with a black Dior “Bar Suit” or a little black frock during the day or, more casually, a pair of jeans for the core range, a colored cocktail dress for the baguette versions, and a Grand Bal version with everything.

Click through the gallery to discover the DIOR VIII Watches.

Photos: Courtesy of Dior Time Pieces

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