Over three decades ago, Chanel began its foray into the world of watchmaking — in which time the maison has not looked back, nor slowed down. We round up some of our favourite watches from the brand.
The fashion powerhouse has over the last few decades come out with some of the most memorable, distinct and aesthetically provocative watches for women, inspired by aspects of the French brand’s history as well the life of its founder, Mademoiselle Coco Chanel.
As we have some fun wearing four of Chanel’s classics – the Code Coco, Boy.Friend, J12 and Première – we’re reminded of why they are among the most hotly coveted accessories for both fashion-forward and timeless dressers alike.
Chanel’s Code Coco is stunningly distinct, edgy but also an elegant timepiece inspired by the clasp of the iconic Chanel 2.55 purse created in 1955. An ultra-chic watch worthy of succeeding the trendy Boy.Friend, the Code Coco is made in stainless steel or ceramic, and comes with a rectangular black dial that flows seamlessly into a quilted bracelet, and a rotating clasp/ metal bar that conceals or shows the time that closes with a click – as you may have guessed, just like the quilted 2.55 bag.
Launched in 2017, Chanel this year presented three new versions: The first is of which is all about extravagance with an XXL steel strap that wraps around the wrist like a cuff, the second comes with embossed black leather with a quilted motif, and last but certainly not the least the So Black version that’s crafted entirely in black.
The Boy.Friend is a timepiece of understated elegance. Launched in 2015, the line celebrates masculine dressing – a style Mademoiselle Chanel embraced long before the rest of the fashion world caught on the trend in a big way. If the watch’s rather provocative name was anything to go by, you’d know that the Boy.Friend was designed to shake up classic, feminine codes, making the watch appealing to either gender. Its octagonal case is a seeming derivative of Chanel’s earlier classic, the Première, as well as the bottle cap from the Chanel No. 5 perfume.
The watch comes in three sizes – small, medium and large – made in beige gold (a material unique to Chanel), white gold or steel. Its dial is available in either black or opaline, and free of numerals or indices and instead features an extended centre decorated with a delicate guilloché pattern, or fully paved with diamonds.
The J12 watch stands as yet another testament to Chanel’s insatiable desire to shake things up. . This playful watch, executed in ceramic, is both artistic and innovative, representing some of the maison’s most technically impressive timepieces. First launched in black in 2000, the watch was three years later crafted in white ceramic in 38mm and 33mm versions. In the process, the J12 came out with a myriad of iterations featuring an impressive suite of complications, starting with a chronograph, then a tourbillon and a GMT, to name a few.
This year, as the cult classic celebrates its 20th anniversary, the J12 was given subtle refinements such as a wider dial opening, and a more refined bezel, dial and numeral indicators, which this time around is also presented in ceramic. This year’s J12 is also equipped with a specially designed, COSC-certified 12.1 calibre automatic movement, which offers an impressive 70 hours of autonomy. The J12 comes primarily in black and white – two colours dear to Mademoiselle Chanel.
Its case shape is patterned after the aerial view of Paris’ glitzy Place Vendôme, and incidentally the cap on the bottle of its famous Chanel No. 5 perfume, the delicately sophisticated Première watch that made its debut in 1987 conjures up not only images of the brand, but of Paris itself. Technically speaking, the Première would come to house Chanel’s first in-house movement, the Calibre 1, and not long after to mark the watch’s 30th anniversary, encased its second manufacture movement, which had a touch of Coco Chanel’s favourite camellia flower. While other – and arguably – more buzz-worthy watches came to join Chanel’s family of watches, the Première, would remain an integral part of the Chanel watches suite.
Photography Ricky Lo
Styling Tasha Ling
Hair Jean Tong @Aten
Model Vika D
This story first appeared on Prestige Online Hong Kong.