BOY MEETS GIRL
Continuing with its tradition of borrowing from the boys, Chanel gives its iconic Première watch a masculine touch with the new Boy.Friend timepiece. By Lydianne Yap
Discovering Chanel’s Boy.Friend watch
If there’s one thing that sets Chanel apart from other fashion labels, it would be its penchant for taking design cues from menswear. Founded by Gabrielle (or Coco, as she is better known) Chanel in 1909, the brand rose to prominence in the 1910s for its simple and pared down aesthetic that expanded the boundaries of women’s fashion. Incorporating traditionally male stylistic elements in its prêt-à-porter collection, Chanel presented jackets and pants in relaxed silhouettes — a huge departure from the extravagant dresses with cinched waists popular then. Most notably, Chanel introduced jersey, a fabric more commonly used for men’s underwear at that point, to women’s wardrobes.
Naturally, when Chanel launched its wristwatch division in 1987, infusing it with a slight boyish flavour came with the territory. This first became apparent with the launch of its now hallmark J12 timepiece collection in 2000. Drawing its inspiration from sailing and the sea, the first J12 horologe was sporty with a masculine edge, featuring a sleek black ceramic case. The successful line went on to introduce variants including the J12 in white ceramic, the J12 Chromatic and gem-set versions.
This year, Chanel channels its spirit of infusing male elements into otherwise classically female pieces by revisiting its very first watch creation — the now iconic Première timepiece. Conceived as a feminine ladies watch in 1987, the original Première presented an octagonal case shape that was both reminiscent of the brand’s signature N°5 perfume bottle stopper and the architectural geometry of Place Vendôme in Paris.
An extension of the Première family, this new timekeeper keeps in line with the design codes of the collection with its instantly recognisable octagonal case shape and sleek aesthetic. It is, however, given a different name: Boy.Friend. One might hazard a guess that this stems from the watch’s decidedly more androgynous aesthetic, which is vastly different from the Première’s traditionally ladylike appearance. The ticker is also bigger compared to most of the delicate and dainty Première pieces. It is available in two sizes: Large, which measures 37mm by 28.6mm; and Medium, which spans 34.6mm by 26.7mm.
The Large version of the 18k beige gold timepiece is fitted with a manualwinding mechanical movement that offers a small seconds complication, displayed via a counter at the six o’clock position on an opaline dial. Devoid of markers or numerals, the dial is decorated with a fine guilloché finish for a touch of sophistication and elegance. Completing its look is a semi-matt Mississippiensis alligator strap with pin or triple-folding buckle and a single onyx cabochon nestled on its crown. This watch comes with a power reserve of around 42 hours and is water-resistant up to 30m. It is also available in 18k beige and white gold versions set with 66 brilliant-cut diamonds totalling about 0.92ct on its bezel and another 48 brilliant-cut diamonds weighing approximately 0.28ct on its buckle.
Besides the obvious size difference, the Medium model also offers different functions from its heftier counterpart. Powered by a high-precision quartz movement, the 18k beige gold watch showcases a date window at the six o’clock position instead of a seconds indicator, like that of the Large model. Apart from that, the Medium version is fairly similar to its bigger sibling in terms of aesthetics. Its minimalist opaline dial is decorated with a fine guilloché finish and free of hour markers and numerals, while its crown is set with a single onyx cabochon. The watch is water-resistant up to 30m and comes paired with a semi-matt Mississippiensis alligator strap with pin or triple-folding as well. The timepiece is also crafted in 18k beige and white gold variants, each set with an additional 64 brilliant-cut diamonds on its bezel (about 0.71ct) and another 48 brilliant-cut diamonds (approximately 0.28ct) on its buckle.
From top: Boy.Friend in 18k beige gold (Large size); Boy.Friend in 18k beige gold with diamonds (Medium size)
Opposite: Boy.Friend in 18k white gold with diamonds (Large size)