Debuted in the first half of 2015, the CHANEL Boy.Friend bears Chanel’s well-known silhouette on its skin in an easy-to-wear “everyday” style. The rectangular octagon shape – as a tribute to the legendary N°5 bottle and to the Place Vendôme in Paris – started its world-domination with the Première collection in 1987. The Boy.Friend collection includes pieces in different sizes: on the larger scale they are 28.5mm-wide and 37mm-tall while the one size smaller pieces are 26.7mm by 34.6mm. They shine in the colours of 18K beige and white gold with or without diamonds and they have an opaline dial with a fine guilloché finish highlighted by an oblong shape devoid of numerals. A semi-matt Alligator mississippiensis strap with a pin or triple-folding buckle completes the look.
The 2016 the newcomers share the same sizes, plus one smaller size emerged, too: 21.5mm by 27.9mm. By keeping the same strong lines, they play around with new materials, decorations and motifs. For example the Steel Boy.Friends appeared with a black guilloche dial with or without diamonds. Beyond the black leather strap now a matching special steel bracelet is also offered with a cool tweed pattern.
The tweed fabric originates from Scotland from the 18th century and it is woven from wool. It was a typical informal outerwear used for example in the 1900s during shooting and hunting expeditions. Coco Chanel borrowed the masculine and not too glamorous fabric and created the first iconic CHANEL pieces out of tweed during the 1920s. According to the stories she was inspired by Hugh Grosvenor, the 2nd Duke of Westminster (nicknamed Bendor) with whom she had a rather interesting relationship. Karl Lagerfeld, the current creative director of Chanel frequently uses tweed (made by Maison Lesage atelier) in his creations.
A limited, but generously sparkling batch of Boy.Friend Arty pieces was also introduced. Diamonds are set in 5 different patterns on the 5 flavours of Arty, called “Sans Titre/Untitled 1-5”, all of which are fitted with white satin straps. Unlike the others, the Arty is operated by a hand-wound mechanical movement.
CHANEL has made high-tech ceramic truly fashionable and stylish since 2000, when the J12 collection was introduced. The fresh J12-G.10 black and white models are now spiced up with a touch of a “military” look by having interchangeable NATO straps – a fun twist to these feminine items!
Still, our favourite is the 1,200-piece limited edition J12 Collector Mirror. It is a 38mm high-tech ceramic and steel watch with a self-winding mechanical movement. It has a mirror dial with a white lacquered centre and white numerals.
Among other cult objects by Coco, her Coromandel screens have served as inspiration on numerous occasions for the Maison.
She surrounded herself with her beloved furniture, such as the folding Chinese Coromandel screen. Coromandel is made of wood, coated in dark lacquer and decorated with beautiful and delicate paintings. “I’ve loved Chinese screens since I was eighteen years old…I nearly fainted with joy when, entering a Chinese shop, I saw a Coromandel for the first time…Screens were the first thing I bought…” (Quoted in “Chanel Solitaire” by Claude Delay – Gallimard – 1983 p.12)
This year’s Mademoiselle Privé timepieces are unique pieces, all 18k beige gold with a black onyx dial and with 5 slightly different bird decorations. The birds, boughs, leaves and flowers are in sculpted beige gold and mother-of-pearl. Each dial has a tiny, invisible trembler spring to add a little moving or flying effect to the birds.
MONSIEUR de CHANEL
The Maison already presented a few haute horlogerie timepieces earlier, such as the J12 Skeleton Flying Tourbillon, the Premiere Openwork Flying Tourbillon or the Rétrograde Mystérieuse Tourbillon with movements designed exclusively for Chanel by the Renaud & Papi Manufacture (APRP SA).
However, they have never shown a piece designed for men. As CHANEL says “build from a desire ground up” they created the MONSIEUR de CHANEL with the first haute horlogerie calibre made in-house.
Although it happened in 2011, it was revealed just recently that CHANEL acquired a stake in the business of Romain Gauthier, an independent watchmaker from Le Sentier, Switzerland. The friendly meeting of the fashion Goliath and the master watchmaker David is actually quite beneficial for both: it gives Romain Gauthier greater stability, and for CHANEL access to haute horological know-how and implementation capabilities that are well-regarded among connoisseurs.
With MONSIEUR de CHANEL the House just made a definite step towards capturing the heart of aficionados: simple, elegant design with the unmistakable codes of Chanel, and clever time display provided by an ingenious movement that is also pleasing to the eye. Hours are visible through an aperture framed once again with the octagonal shape, which jumps instantly and in sync with the retrograde minute hand. The latter covers an unusually wide 240° area, surrounded by angular Arabic numerals. The hand can be adjusted in both directions. Omitting anything unnecessary it is rather minimalistic, but intrepid.
The Calibre 1 has its personality in itself, yet it is inseparable from MONSIEUR de CHANEL as “it was designed to bring this exact watch alive”. The dark anthracite coloured DLC coating gives the two snail-finished barrels a completely new meaning. The calibre’s layout is in harmony with the watch face by having circles biting each other to dominate on both sides. The circular bridge holds the entire gear train watched over by CHANEL’s lion motif in the main plate – the same which rules the crown, too.
Photo credits: Loupiosity.com.
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