Amidst the OTT stands and non-stop bustle of Baselworld, the Chanel booth provides a haven of monochromatic peace. And for those that fear the pop-up home is a case of style over substance, the technical and aesthetic delights that lie within completely eradicate all such thoughts. In recent years, Chanel’s movement partner, Romain Gauthier, has added to the stable of complications that were originally created by APRP, and new families such as the Boy.Friend, Code Coco and Monsieur have ensured design is both original and forward-focused. But increasingly, it is not only the brand’s watch collections that draw the crowds back to the maison, but also its beautiful, innovative and true-to-house-style mantle clocks.
Past years have seen the likes of the Mademoiselle Privé Coromandel Glyptic table clock. Based on designs incorporated into the beloved Coromandel screens that line the walls of Gabrielle Chanel’s Rue Cambon apartment, a black obsidian cabinet sits atop a base of beige gold set with 132 diamonds, the dial features a flower motif of semi-precious stones and gold and is framed by a bezel of 176 diamonds. The movement is L’Épée-made, key-wound and has an 8-day power reserve. As beautiful an object as it is, the mechanism and functions are simple, a reflection of the overall elegance of the piece.
For 2018, however, Chanel went all out, delivering a masculine-style table clock that would be equally at home in the collection of a more avant-garde brand such as MB&F – incidentally another L’Épée partner. The Monsieur de Chanel Chronosphere Clock, again displays just hours and minutes, but in a unique and exciting way. As with all calibres from the maison, this mechanical, manual-wind movement was designed by the company’s internal Watchmaking Creative Studio before being realised and manufactured by L’Épée.
The time is read via two rotating discs on a central globe – the top denoting hours, the bottom showing minutes – both scales use the font that was specially developed for the Monsieur wristwatch. The trains are coated in palladium, while the plates of the 2.5Hz movement are treated with black PVD.
The movement is housed in a transparent glass sphere which sits on the backs of four lions, each resting one paw on an orb. Significance to the House of Chanel abounds in this piece from the overall silhouette – which is based on a glittering crystal ball atop a three-lion base found on a coffee table in Coco’s Paris apartment – to the use of the lions that represent her zodiac sign of Leo. The lions have been cast in bronze and treated with a matte-black PVD finish. Only five examples of the clock are available, POA.
Chanel-designed, L’Épée-made manual-winding movement; hours and minutes on two rotating discs; 7-day power reserve; 2.5Hz, black galvanic treatment and palladium finishing
Glass sphere; base of four bronze lions with a matte-black PVD treatment