The Monsieur de Chanel, or, Why is Chanel Making a Men’s Watch?
The title is a trick question, actually. Chanel has been making men’s watches for quite some time now. That is, unless you see such imaginative and strong pieces as the J12 Flying Tourbillon, the Rétrograde Mystérieuse Tourbillon and the boldly styled J12 Chromatic 41mm as the exclusive domain of feminine wrists.
When Chanel say that they are creating a men’s collection, what this really means is a collection that is cleaner and smoother in style with a higher focus on mechanics. A more masculine watch, to be sure, but as mentioned before, Chanel’s entire family of watches has always held watches that display exceptional gender versatility.
The Monsieur de Chanel, launched last week at Baselworld 2016, has as its first model a jumping hour with retrograde minutes and running small seconds, in a 40mm gold case. Its double-barrel hand-wound movement is treated with an anthracite finish, while its openworked bridges are modern and simple in the same way that we saw in the highly geometric movement of the J12 Skeleton Flying Tourbillon.
Although the Monsieur de Chanel doesn’t draw from the same overtly feminine pool of emblems that characterise its siblings — the camellia, Gabrielle Chanel’s personal design affinities, Oriental metiers d’art — its aesthetic outlook is still strongly rooted within the heritage of the maison.