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"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." - Confucius

Couture O’Clock Capsule Collection, the J12 Automaton Caliber 6, the Pink Edition, new Première watches, and high jewellery watch creations – Chanel unveiled its latest horology pieces at Watches and Wonders 2024.

UPDATE – Chanel also participates at the Only Watch auction 10 May, 2024 – with a unique pair of black and white highly resistant ceramic Mademoiselle J12 LA PAUSA, featuring the silhouette of Mademoiselle Chanel, with the self-winding Caliber 12.1.

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s long career and the extensive heritage served as inspiration to the new watchmaking creations of Chanel. Maybe there is no other fashion house with so strong design codes and symbols. Many shapes and motifs are recognisable even for those that are not particularly interested in fashion: the intertwined CC logo, the black and white colours, two-tone shoes, pearls, camellia flower, her beloved lion, the tweed, the diamond quilted lambskin leather, gold chain straps combined with leather and more. 

Under the direction of Frédéric Grangié (President at Chanel’s Watch and Fine Jewellery) and Arnaud Chastaingt (director of the Chanel Watchmaking Creation Studio) the department mixed these signature elements with couture motifs, inspired by the iconic rue Cambon atelier. In 1910, Coco Chanel opened a hat boutique at 21 rue Cambon under the name Chanel Modes. In the 20s Chanel expanded to occupy up to five buildings, from 23 to 31 rue Cambon. Serving as a personal residence, a boutique, and a couture atelier the address has been central to the functioning of the House ever since. 

Tools used by couturiers and seamstresses, such as pincushion, scissors, needles, thimbles or safety pins are reoccurring, playful parts of the novelties. 

Couture O’Clock capsule collection 

The Couture O’Clock capsule collection is pretty extensive – incorporating limited edition jewellery creation and Code Coco, Boy·Friend, J12 or Première watches. 

Right at the entrance of the booth, a special unique piece welcomed us: an automaton combining a clock and a music box, created in collaboration with Reuge, the premier manufacturer of music automatons. The ‘Musical Clock Couture Workshop’ base is covered with a marquetry of 245 pieces of onyx trimmed with 18K yellow gold. The time is displayed on tape measure, marking it with a little pearl. Five bespoke ceramic couture torsos are standing in the centre under a glass dome and a 18k gold diamond-set chandelier. The busts are detailed with leather ribbons and gold and diamond jewels decoration. A exquisite key on a diamond-encrusted gold chain necklace can bring the automaton to life. The five couture busts are turning around to the melody of ‘My Woman’ by the South African/British singer, Al Bowlly. 

A secret watch necklace perfectly matches the one-off table clock. Hanging on a yellow gold chain, a couture dummy snow-set with 132 brilliant-cut diamonds hide a black-lacquered watch dial inside. The Bust long necklace couture is a limited edition of 20 pieces.

Chanel Bust long necklace couture
Chanel Bust long necklace couture

The capsule collection includes a few limited edition J12 timepieces too. The J12 was first launched in 2000, since then the brand has been making the high-tech ceramic really fashionable and stylish. There are many variations: new designs, the creation of matte surfaces, limited editions and exceptional pieces. The Maison plays extensively with the black and white contrast and the J12 comes mostly in black or white ceramic. 

The novelty J12 White Star Couture watch is a 38mm steel piece, set with 22 baguette-cut white ceramics and 55 baguette-cut diamonds and housing the Caliber 12.1 self-winding Manufacture movement inside.

The matt black Mademoiselle J12 Couture watch’s dial features the silhouette of Mademoiselle in a black and white suit (inspired by a photo taken about Coco Chanel in the atelier). In the back, a disk is in constant movement animates golden motifs of safety pins and couture dummies.

The J12 Couture Workshop Automaton is equipped with the Caliber 6, the new, 355 components movement designed and assembled by the Chanel Manufacture in Switzerland. At the touch of a button, a Mademoiselle figurine starts to move against a decor that is meticulously articulated on 5 levels.

Among my favourites were the Mademoiselle Privé Pincushion collection, containing a cuff bracelet, a long necklace and a ring. Inspired by the pincushion, the working tool of dressmakers, the creations are crafted in gold, diamonds, mother of pearl and onyx, under a convex crystal. 

Chanel releases every year high jewellery collection too, embodying the traditional French savoir-faire jewellery creation process. The Bobbin Cuff Couture is inspired by these works and depicting a spool of thread. The unique 18k yellow gold cuff reveals a dial set with diamonds hidden underneath an emerald-cut ~17.51ct yellow sapphire. The whole piece is embellished with a graphic design of interlocking lines interspersed with diamonds.

The time of the Lion

The symbol of the lion has been an important one in the history of Chanel, ever since Gabrielle Chanel – born under the sign of Leo – embraced the symbolism, and drew inspiration from and identified with the qualities of the powerful animal. Many former and current creations are inspired by the lion found in Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment at 31 Rue Cambon and other lion objects, like a lion clock in her suite in the Ritz. 

The design of the Secret Lion cuff recalls the style of Coco’s beloved Byzantine costume jewels. She wore frequently her iconic cuff bracelets, designed by Fulco di Verdura and Suzanne Gripoix. The new black and gold cuff features an muscular lion in 18K yellow gold on an onyx plaque, which slides to the right to reveal the time. 

On the Seated Lion sautoir a lion carved in 18k yellow gold sits on his pedestal of baguette-cut diamonds, guarding the black lacquer dial of the watch. The art deco style yellow gold necklace is decorated with diamonds, hand-faceted onyx beads and onyx tube beads set in gold. 

Monsieur Superleggera Intense Black Edition

Chanel has a serious interest in haute horlogerie – the company acquired a stake in the French Bell&Ross in 1998 and the business of Romain Gauthier, an independent watchmaker from Le Sentier, Switzerland in 2011. Some complicated timepieces, like the Première Flying Tourbillon have movements designed exclusively for Chanel by the Renaud & Papi Manufacture (APRP SA).

The Parisian luxury brand has acquired a 20 percent stake in the high-end watch brand F.P. Journe in 2018. They also have a stake in Kenissi, a manufacturer that also provides watch movements for Rolex’s sister brand Tudor. 

The Monsieur Superleggera Intense Black Edition is powered by the Caliber 1, a manufacture manual-winding mechanical movement with two integrated complications – instant jumping hour and 240° retrograde minute (the hand goes over a 240-degree arch, from 0 to 60 minutes), launched first in the Monsieur de Chanel timepiece. The Superleggera model was presented in 2021.

The new, all black edition ceramic model echoes the sleek and technical design of modern racing cars, giving the watch a high-end, sporty aesthetic. The dial reflects a racing car speedometer, with different textures and matt finishes. The elements are inspired by the Touring Superleggera, an Italian coach builder creating limited edition cars since 1926. 

The Edition Intense Black comes on a textured nylon strap and it is a limited edition of 100 watches.

Chanel Monsieur Superleggera Intense Black Edition

Photo credits: Chanel. Loupiosity.com
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