Chanel: the art of fine watchmaking



Being tasked with explaining the origins of Chanel watches was not going to be easy, especially with a timeline spanning almost 30 years from its inception in 1987. Think of Chanel watches and the first thing that comes to mind. mind is probably theJ12(which, by the way, is one of their most successful watches to date and a favorite among both men and women).


The other one that would instantly come to mind would probably be the rectangular one, which is the same shape as the beveled stopper on thefrom Chanel. #5. Yes, that would be thePremiereare you thinking about.

That’s more or less, right? No.


If there’s one thing that’s always constant at Chanel today, it’s that drive to continually innovate in everything they do, from 3D-printed gowns (F/W15 Haute Couture) to moisturizing skin creams made with only 10 ingredients (La Solution 10). The same goes for their watches, manufactured in their facilitiesG&F Châtelain watch manufacturein La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland, a city that is synonymous with fine watchmaking.

And that’s not all. Chanel also works closely with master watchmakersRenaud & daddy(APRP SA), the advanced research and development arm of Audemars Piguet. In other words, Chanel has shown that in addition to being great in form (and which we all know and love by now), they are also serious about function, meaning what goes on inside the watch and earning the12th Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prixfor the best women’s watch in 2012 for theDebut Flying Tourbillonit’s actually recognition for that. Another thing I didn’t know before, at Chanel, their watches are first designed with a specific style and movement in mind, and once the ‘outside’ has been decided, they move on to the inside, even investing heavily in R& D just to ensure it works before form and function come together beautifully in the watch.

However, achievements and accolades aside, her watches represent Chanel’s vision of time, which is closely aligned with Coco Chanel’s personal philosophy of always “living in the moment” and experiencing every nuance of the here and now.

Which was something I only really understood when I flew to Switzerland for #BaselWorldRecently. Standing alone in her own pavilion among hundreds of watch racks scattered across many aisles, it was clearly a sight to behold, one that encompassed all the codes Gabrielle Chanel loved so dearly.

The watches on display (which will be released later in the year) were pieces that were created to continue in that spirit; one of creating watches for every woman, one that focuses on beautiful watchmaking and, most importantly, one that allows her, like Gabrielle Chanel, to savor each moment as it happens in the here and now. And so begins my journey into a world that, while not entirely new to me, I still have much to appreciate, learn and understand, and it’s a year-long journey that I hope you’ll take with me.

Images: Chanel

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