Dating back to its founding in 1755, Vacheron Constantin has made watchmaking excellence a continuous quest throughout its centuries-long history. Just consider the elite members of high society, politics and Hollywood that have donned the maison’s work. From Elizabeth Taylor to Marlon Brando, Vacheron Constantin has dotted the most infamous wrists with timepieces that capture the moment, while still being timeless.
This legacy is perhaps best captured by the Kalla Haute Couture Secret Diamond Ladies Watch. In particular, Vacheron Constantin made a diamond ladies bracelet watch in 1947 for Princess Elizabeth, which she would later gift to Lady Diana when she married Prince Charles.
Good enough for the British Royal Family, the maison has also evolved the secret diamond ladies watch over the decades. Earlier in 2022, Jennifer Garner donned one at The Adam Project premiere.
Jennifer Garner wears the Vacheron Constantin at The Adam Project New York Premiere: Métiers d'Art Kalla Haute Couture à Secret in 18K White Gold and Diamonds.
The Kalla Watch is a unique piece of craftsmanship that meets at the intersection of functionality, women’s fashion and luxury and the team at Vacheron Constantin took the time to tell us more all about it.
The diamond ladies watches conceal the watch itself. Why was this necessary during the original development of the piece?
The idea was to create a kind of “jewel telling time”. Such creations – combining watchmaking and jewelry with a secret opening – finds its origin in the heritage of the maison. We have numerous examples of such creations, especially during the Art Deco period, when Vacheron Constantin designed notably exceptional pendant watches based on this combination. The Kalla Haute Couture secret piece is consequently the contemporary expression of this secret way of telling time in a jeweled creation.
Do you have any fun facts about the diamond ladies bracelet watch?
In the ‘80s, Lady Diana wore a diamond set watch to a film premiere with Prince Charles. This watch was offered to the Princess by the Queen as a wedding gift. The watch was originally designed for the Queen by Vacheron & Constantin in 1947.
Did Lady Diana’s wearing of the watch start a trend?
Our maison has a long and strong history when it comes to watches dedicated to the feminine universe. We have countless examples of jewelry timepieces – wristwatches since the beginning of the 20th century. The Kalla collection, nevertheless, has been a cornerstone moment in this history. The Lady Kalla, launched in the early 1980’s, is a perfect example of “high jewelry telling time” pieces. This collection has been particularly successful during two decades and the Kalla Haute Couture à Secret carries out this tradition today.
Princess Diana visits Argentina and dons the Vacheron Constantin watch gifted to her by Queen Elizabeth.
How does the Vacheron Constantin Kalla Watch embody the present while still evoking this piece’s storied past?
The Kalla Haute Couture à Secret is a contemporary creation paying tribute to our past. Its most interesting aspect is certainly the choice of a very exclusive diamond cut: the flame cut, an officially certified cut by the GIA, which gave us the possibility to present a highly innovative timepiece from the design point of view, while at the same time being faithful to our history and legacy.
Now— a time when watches or bracelets are the norm for women— why is the Kalla Watch still a special piece to wear?
Well, I think that the flame cut diamonds – modern and spectacular – are making this creation very unique, and on the other side the hidden dial makes it even more special!
Look close for the hidden dial.
The Kalla Watch is stunning. Can you tell us about its design development?
As said before, the Kalla Haute Couture à Secret is the modern expression of the Kalla collection, created in 1979 with the Kallista – a unique and extraordinary timepiece with 140 carat of emerald-cut diamonds – and the present model can be seen as the continuity of this legacy of exceptional high jewelry creations, showcasing one important aspect of Vacheron Constantin watchmaking art: jeweled timepieces dedicated to the feminine universe.
This interview has been edited and condensed.