As the watch industry shifts its focus to women, Chanel proudly goes the other way and presents the Monsieur, its first timepiece created for men.
In 2000, Chanel struck gold with the J12, a stunning allblack timepiece, which, engineered in high-tech ceramic at the French label’s G&F Chatelain manufacture in La Chaux-de-fonds, was touted as incredibly robust. Its make, despite having picked up headlines across the industry (an all-black ticker was uncommon then, let alone one in high-tech ceramic), was not the only big deal. “I wanted a timeless watch, in a brilliant black, and indestructible,” said Jacques Helleu, Chanel’s late artistic director and designer of the J12, whose goal was for the look of the timepiece to reflect the spirit of “certain masterpieces in the world of automobiles”. Not only was the J12 Chanel’s first automatic watch, it was the house’s first foray into an uncharacteristically masculine design.
Then, in 2015, Chanel unveiled the Boyfriend, which, like the J12, exuded a subtle mannish charm. The polished timepiece – in beige gold (a feminine alloy developed by Chanel), white gold or, most recently, steel – had an elongated, octagonal case that was shaped after the stopper on the iconic No. 5 perfume bottle as well as Place Vendôme in Paris. Its design also recalled the brand’s classic Première timepiece, but in a tough-girl kind of way. “The Boyfriend is a watch designed for women with the stylistic influences of a man, and, really, there’s nothing sexier than that,” said Chanel’s international watch director Nicolas Beau.
This year, in a string of firsts, Chanel presents a new timepiece which doesn’t just dabble in macho ideas, but also embraces men 100 per cent. Aptly named the Monsieur, it is the brand’s breathtaking horological debut for the boys. What’s cool? The watch boasts a technically-complex double complication – a jumping hour and the retrograde minute – which is possible thanks to Calibre 1, a 170-part movement that took five years to build at the G&F Chatelain manufacture. And in place of the typical 180-degree retrograde minute is a wider 240-degree scale, which is more challenging to assemble.
Like all of Chanel’s creations, the Monsieur effortlessly manifests the house’s most treasured codes: the jumping hour window takes on the shape of Place Vendôme (complete with a digital-looking number display); the emblematic lion, and the colours black and red grace the handsome Adlc-coated Calibre 1; and, last but not least, the mystical comet finds its way onto the movement’s balance wheel.
Taking apart the Monsieur.
Named Calibre 1, the 170-part, Adlc-coated movement comes with a three-day power reserve.
Sketches of the Monsieur.
Only 300 models of the Monsieur – 150 in beige gold and 150 in white gold – have been produced. 18k beige gold with ivory opaline and alligator strap.
The Monsieur is designed by the Chanel watch creation studio in Paris. 18k white gold with ivory opaline and alligator strap.
The lion is one of Chanel’s most famous emblems and is stamped on the Calibre 1.