Code Coco chic

CHANEL watch bal­ances style with in­no­va­tion

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - LIFE - ALEESHA HAR­RIS ahar­ris@post­

Full dis­clo­sure: I’m what you’d call a “watch per­son.”

De­spite smart­phones hav­ing ren­dered watches for lit­eral, time­telling pur­poses all-but ob­so­lete, I still con­sider a time­piece to be an un­err­ingly el­e­gant ad­di­tion to any arm. The very fact that wear­ing a watch as a prac­ti­cal ne­ces­sity is no longer a re­quire­ment means that, these days, those who opt to wear a time­piece are ex­plic­itly choos­ing to do so. For them.

And it’s the per­sonal rea­sons be­hind an in­di­vid­ual de­cid­ing to wear a watch — whether nos­tal­gia, style, pres­tige or per­sonal his­tory — that can be so fas­ci­nat­ing

“I never wear a watch,” a stylish friend once told me, prompted to do so after she ad­mired the del­i­cate, two-tone time­piece adorn­ing my wrist. “Well, why not?” I asked her. “I don’t know,” she said after a se­cond-span­ning pause. But I do.

For a per­son to wrap a watch around their wrist in 2018, it has to be unique. It has to be some­thing spe­cial. It has to do more than, well, sim­ply tell time. So, to put it bluntly, my friend doesn’t wear a watch be­cause she prob­a­bly hasn’t found the right one yet. For her.

Cre­at­ing a style that stands out is in­creas­ingly im­por­tant for brands to re­main rel­e­vant in any re­tail space, but es­pe­cially in the watch world. Un­like men’s watches, which are of­ten cel­e­brated sim­ply for the move­ments and tech­nol­ogy con­tained in­side an oth­er­wise aus­tere cas­ing, a women’s watch must be many things — el­e­gant, unique, func­tional, whim­si­cal — but, above all else, it must tell a story. And that’s where a de­sign like the Code Coco watch from CHANEL comes in.

At first glance, the watch looks less like a time­piece and more like a glint­ing piece of jew­elry. The watch fea­tures a wide, cuff-like bracelet with de­tail­ing rem­i­nis­cent of the French fash­ion house’s iconic quilted pat­tern first fea­tured on the 2.55 hand­bag first de­buted by Made­moi­selle Chanel in Fe­bru­ary 1955. The tiny squares com­pris­ing the flex­i­ble bracelet catch the light and im­me­di­ately at­tract the eye. An­other nod to Gabrielle Chanel and her cov­eted hand­bag cre­ation, the face of the watch also fea­tures a func­tion­ing, clasp-mech­a­nism clo­sure, the very same one that can be found on the orig­i­nal 2.55 hand­bag de­signs.

First re­vealed in 2017, the Code Coco de­buted ear­lier this year at Basel­world coated in a new ma­te­rial, one that fur­ther ex­plores the his­tory of watch­mak­ing at CHANEL. That ma­te­rial, is high­tech ce­ramic. CHANEL was one of the first fash­ion brands to work with the ma­te­rial via its watch­mak­ing head­quar­ters, G&F Châte­lain de La Chaux-de-Fonds, in Switzer­land, when it in­tro­duced its best­selling J12 watch de­sign in 1999. To date, the uni­sex watch is, in its many in­ter­pre­ta­tions, still a top time­piece for the brand.

The unique ce­ramic ma­te­rial, which is com­prised of zir­co­nium diox­ide and yt­trium “pow­der,“has proven to be more re­silient than other ma­te­ri­als such as stain­less steel and is scratch­proof, light­weight and in­cred­i­bly hard. In inky, pig­mented black, the ma­te­rial makes the time­piece ap­pear more el­e­gant, re­fined and more jew­elry-like than a metal coun­ter­part thanks to a lus­trous shine pro­duced by pol­ish­ing. And, oh, how it sparkles. Dur­ing a re­cent visit to the CHANEL Bou­tique Joail­lerie lo­cated in Place Vendôme in Paris, that same friend who ad­mired my sim­ple time­piece slipped one of the Code Coco watches onto her wrist. Twist­ing the Made­moi­selle lock closed, it set­tled into place with a sub­tle, sat­is­fy­ing click. As the sales as­so­ciate and I chat­ted fur­ther about the fea­tures of the watch, I turned to look at my friend and paused when I no­ticed her face. She wore a small smile, eyes firmly fixed down­ward at the Code Coco watch on her wrist. As she moved her arm back and forth, the tiny geo­met­ric grid of smooth ce­ramic caught the bou­tique light­ing, cre­at­ing a sparkling dis­play.

I’m pretty sure she’d just found her watch.

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