In 1890, Alexis Van Der Bauwede (1873-1950) from Bruges created the brand of the same name. At the time, this itinerant watch and jewellery maker, specialised in handling clocks and chimes, crisscrossed Flanders at the wheel of his Bugatti. From one town to the next, he installed and repaired the complex movements of cathedral and city hall clocks, which sometimes weighed up to 27 tons.
Despite being a watchmaker by trade, Alexis was highly versatile. He visited individuals door to door and sold his jewellery creations crafted in honour of big occasions. In 1920, he created his first jewellery set, called the ‘Cubes Diamants’ (Diamond Cubes), for a Russian countess and lover of exceptional objects. This was the beginning of a long story…
At the age of 24, Alexis’ son, Michel Van Der Bauwede (1906-1965) became the first successor to take on what was subsequently to become a tradition. He was fascinated by miniaturisation and quite naturally focused on pocket watches. Parallel to this, he developed the jewellery side of the business in which he subsequently specialised.
After demonstrating his talents across Flanders, Michel Van Der Bauwede moved to Lille and opened the first Van Der Bauwede boutique at 34, Rue Esquermoise. Recently renovated by the “Monuments Historiques” (Historical Monuments), this magnificent Flemish house dating back to the 18th century provided a setting for the jewellery it housed in its walls and display windows. The brand remained there for a good 50 years.
There was no indication that Pierre Van Der Bauwede (1933-2010) would become an even more famous jeweller than his father and grandfather. Drawn to medicine, he joined the family business when Michel passed away. Thanks to his skill in the realm of science and physics in particular, Pierre Van Der Bauwede specialised in precious stones and diamonds, which earned the brand considerable international renown. His second field of expertise as “State Gemmology Expert” led to him invent a new diamond cut christened the “VDB Diamond Cut”.
Born on May 31st 1959, in Lille, Maxence Van Der Bauwede, the fourth scion of the family, moved to Geneva at the beginning of the 1980s, with the aim of giving the brand fresh momentum and developing it on the international front. Initially working as a designer in a Geneva workshop, he created many pieces for the greatest jewellers in town prior to taking over the family business. Today, at the head of his company, Maxence continues to perpetuate the tradition and values that were instilled in him – such as discipline, precision and excellence – but the brand would not be what it is without his daring and his originality!
In the Van Der Bauwede dynasty, talent is passed from father to son. In this year, Maxence became the inventor of a worldwide exclusivity – Prescia – a new material made of high-tech ceramics combined with gold and laser-sculpted from silicates. This is how the “Magnitude” line made of Prescia and yellow gold was born. In keeping with the life of modern women and in harmony with their universe, Maxence Van Der Bauwede thus signed his first collection.
In 1990, Maxence Van Der Bauwede opened the brand’s first boutique in the rapidly evolving city of Geneva. Following its founder’s wishes, “aesthetics reign supreme”. Today, Van Der Bauwede is inaugurating its new boutique at the heart of Geneva at number 3, Rue de la Tour-Maîtresse, while taking the opportunity to unveil its new concept. It presents its collection within a luxurious, spacious and exclusive setting benefiting from the welcoming context of a pedestrian-only street in the making, which invites passers-by to enjoy a serene interlude.
On October 30th 1991, Van Der Bauwede officially launched the creation of a new diamond cut called the “VDB Diamond Cut”. Thanks to many years of research in optics and physics, Pierre Van Der Bauwede managed to create a rectangular diamond cut with the same value as an ordinary diamond but with the particularity of being far more luminous. Featuring 57 facets like a brilliant-cut diamond, the “VDB Diamond Cut” completely reflects the luminous rays it receives – to the intense enjoyment of its admirers.
Marketing & Communication Director Stéphanie Van Der Bauwede is guiding the new architectural concept of franchised Van Der Bauwede Genève boutiques. Entirely in keeping with the quintessence and the history of the brand, the VDB franchises are developing on an international scale. 2012 saw the opening of two flagship stores in Russia in the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. In 2014, a third boutique was inaugurated in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, and will soon be followed over the coming months by others in Asia and the Middle East.