Gone are the days when Chanel was only known for its quilted leather bags or Première watch whose case evokes the octagonal design of the Place Vendôme. Actually, it has been more than 30 years since Chanel first added watches to its repertoire, and since 2005 the Parisian couture house has even been unveiling tourbillons.
As time went by, Chanel continued to show its expertise in signifying the house’s dedication to haute horology, which was proven when, in 2016, Chanel launched a breakthrough by introducing its first in-house movement with the Calibre 1, which was encased in Chanel’s first men’s watch: the Monsieur de Chanel. The second in-house movement, the Calibre 2, was unveiled in 2017 and used in the Première Camélia Skeleton, a women’s model.
This year at Baselworld, Chanel introduced its third in-house manufacture, the Calibre 3, which is housed inside the Boy.Friend watch which was first launched in 2015. It took three years to develop the skeletonised movement, which has been designed to look beautiful when viewed from every possible angle. We love the new movement’s openwork, which shows off a series of interlinked, vertically aligned circles contrasting with the watch’s octagonal shape.
The timepiece comes in an 18ct beige-gold case and bezel, while a version studded with brilliant-cut diamonds is also available, both sporting a 55-hour power reserve. The watch comes paired with shiny black alligator straps and is water resistant to 30m. Chanel also presented many selections of novelties in its watch collection. For 2018, Chanel is featuring the Première Rock Gold, with a new twist: a triple-row steel chain bracelet interwoven with golden fabric and issued in a limited-edition series of just 1,000 pieces.
There is also a new take on the Monsieur de Chanel, which returns as a one-of-a-kind pocket watch fitted with a new version of the Calibre 2, the Calibre 2.2, and a clock in a limited-edition series of five pieces. These new models come with a gold-relief engraved lion either in beige gold or black-coated white gold. Other styles featured at Baselworld were the new J12 pieces: J12 Untitled, a set of 12 unique timepieces. Each watch is decorated with an abstract number composition from 1 to 12 using ceramic marquetry. When put together, the 12 pieces form a polyptych.
The new Code Coco also deserves attention since it’s such a chic and stylish watch to wear. Even though it was unveiled just last year, the Code Coco is fast becoming an iconic timepiece for Chanel thanks to its design, which incorporates many of the House’s codes—the quilted motifs, the clasp, into its watches. This year, Code Coco comes in steel and black ceramic, as well as a limited-edition full-diamond pavé version.
Another release from the label was the new Mademoiselle Privé collection, which has thus far been a canvas on which Chanel has painted a host of Métiers d’Art, from enamelling to engraving to gem-sculpting. This year, for the first time, the Mademoiselle Prive is equipped with an in-house movement in the form of the
Calibre 2.1 Camelia Skeleton. We love how its ethereal geometry traces a Camellia flower: it looks so technical yet so beautiful.
In becoming a showcase for fine watchmaking, Chanel has written a new chapter in its creative history. Merging aesthetic qualities and technical skills, Chanel demonstrates one principle: technique in the
service of beauty.