It might raise a few eyebrows: using the words “Chanel” and “Watch Connoisseurs” in the same sentence. Yet those who raise their eyebrows might not be as intimately familiar with the brand’s offerings as they should. Chanel has always had a high-end approach to men’s watches. While their ceramic J12 might not have been the big seller the brand was hoping for, the watch itself was on point.
In 2016 Chanel launched the Monsieur de Chanel, a very serious Haute Horlogerie watch featuring a jump hour display. The strength of this watch is two-fold: first of all its houses an impressive movement. Developed by Romain Gauthier, it has the DNA of an independent. Where the dial is pleasantly straightforward, the movement shows a circular architecture that is just stunning! Different from anything else out there, it utilizes a very high-end finish with various textures. The monochrome colors of the movement naturally highlight the synthetic rubies and the combination of this all makes you feel that you have a special watch in your hands.
The movement is not only beautiful but also comes with a power reserve of a generous 72 hours. While you might initially think that the minute hand makes a full circle, it is actually a flyback hand. This was created so that it would never block the view of the sub-seconds below it. The jump hour display is also instantaneous. This means that the moment the flyback minuted hand hits sixty, the hour changes instantly, and the minute hand flies back to the zero position.
Another strength is the design of the watch which is very Chanel. It is crafted in the “less is more” style favored by Coco herself. That not only gives the Monsieur de Chanel a very strong profile but also makes it timeless. These are two very important aspects that influence the way this watch will age, and I reckon that it will age well.
This year it was joined by a black dialed version with a platinum case, priced at $63.000,-. Although in essence the same watch, it looks more strict then the silver dialed versions of 2016, which was available in white ($36.000,-) and “beige” gold ($34.500,-). With a diameter of 40mm, the watch sits nicely on the wrist and is neither too large nor too small. Either version is worthy of the watch connoisseurs attention, and apart from its typical Chanel-style, it wouldn’t stand out among a collection of watches by brands of the likes as Audemars Piguet, Piaget, and Jaeger-LeCoultre.