Covering daytime and evening wear, in public or in private, Chanel has rarely been as present for women as it has been during Baselworld 2014. With three ranges, the firm is playing a finely-jewelled, delicate score that nicely interprets the Chanel spirit for today.
The firm unveiled a new J12 just for women only a few weeks ago. Almost fifteen years after its launch, the model that opened up the way for ceramics in watchmaking has donned a guilloché dial, a small seconds hand and a date window at 6 o’clock. There are eight versions on offer, in black or white ceramic, steel or beige gold, featuring jewelled variations with the diamond on the flange rather than the bezel – a subtle, innovative aesthetic approach that allows the timepiece to retain its contemporary air whilst continuing to enhance it further.
At Baselworld, Chanel has unabashedly added to this approach with high-end watches that celebrate technology and jewellery alike. A flying tourbillon now adorns the J12. Positioned at 6 o’clock, it is the work of Renaud and Papi, who have created this “Comet Flying Tourbillon” exclusively for Chanel. There are two limited editions of fifty watches each, featuring jewelled flanges and dials. A third edition of twelve watches boasts a jewelled case and strap, while a fully jewelled model, available in a limited edition of just five timepieces with the same 38mm diameter, is adorned with over seven hundred diamonds.
After twenty-five years of existence, it’s still a feminine icon. The Première, the first watch created exclusively for women by Chanel in 1987, draws inspiration from the octagonal shape of the bottle lid on the brand’s No. 5 perfume, as well as of Place Vendôme itself. It’s still unique – now triply so.
The Première’s “Camélia Flying Tourbillon” has a manual movement developed by Renaud and Papi and a 40-hour power reserve, and now comes with a white gold bezel studded with 42 baguette diamonds and 52 brilliants – as well as 47 pink sapphires on the frame. Only twenty of these watches are available, on an alligator or satin strap.
Secondly – and in almost complete contrast – comes the Double Tour Première. Here, the movement is quartz rather than mechanical, the gold yellow rather than white, and the strap is double tour rather than single. This watch is now part of the regular collection. Lastly, there’s also a “Triple Tour” variation, featuring a new steel strap interwoven with black leather to be curled around the wrist, reminiscent of the legendary chain on the classic Chanel bag.
A very private collection
So much for straps, jewelled cases and movements – what’s left in watchmaking art for Chanel to transform? The dial, of course! And that’s the focus of the “Mademoiselle Privé” collection.
Enamellers, engravers, metalsmiths and jewellers have come together to bring life to this very exclusive collection, which places Mademoiselle Chanel’s iconic flower, the camellia, centre stage: compositions using Maki-e (a Japanese technique that consists in applying metallic powders and decorative materials, such as gold or pearl glitter, on the lacquer before it dries), jewel setting and embroidery. The decorations produced by Lesage with gold and silver threads, using the “needle painting” technique, have met with universal acclaim. Last year, the Mademoiselle Privé Camélia Brodé model won an award in the Craftsmanship category at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
Lastly, the Coromandel watches recall the seventeenth-century lacquer screens that adorned Mademoiselle’s apartment at 31 rue Cambron. The firm is offering seven sets of unique twin watches mirroring each other, in “Grand Feu” enamel and sculpted mother-of-pearl, with a discreet 37.5mm diameter.