Thirty years ago Chanel made its first move into watchmaking, and it debuted with a collection that before long would become an instantly recognisable icon. Chanel’s Première watches immortalised both the shape of the stopper of the brand’s much-loved Nº5 perfume and its home on Paris’s Place Vendôme with their graceful octagonal cases, bezels and dials. The two outstanding new additions that joined the collection at Baselworld 2017 both honour that legacy while taking the collection in daring new directions.
The Première Rock Red, in a limited edition of just 1,000 pieces, is a thing of dazzling contrasts. On the one hand there’s a gracefully understated white mother-of-pearl dial housed in an octagonal steel case. On the other there’s the startlingly eye-catching triple-row steel chain bracelet, interwoven with red-leather ribbon.
The elegant shape of a camellia flower is artfully picked out by the open-worked movement of the new Première Camélia Skeleton. The wheels of the Calibre 2, the second in-house movement Chanel has produced, form the petals of the flower in stylish deep black. The watch comes in three limited editions, set with a choice of rubies, brilliant-cut diamonds and baguette-cut diamonds.
Another timely entry for Coco Chanel
A charming, playful and rather unexpected example of Chanel’s artistry, the Mademoiselle J12 features a playfully illustrated Coco Chanel on its dial. In black, white and silver, her lacquered, rhodium-plated hands move around the dial, acting as the hour and minute hands. The Mademoiselle Chanel character is printed on a sapphire glass plate affixed to the dial. The rest of the watch, from dial to bezel to case to bracelet, comes in a choice of black and white versions, both of them limited to 555 pieces, in ceramic and steel with a lacquered dial.