In addition to making costume, fine and high jewelry collections, Chanel has improved and developed over the years their watch collections after the success of the J12 ceramic watch that became an icon of the house. In 2016, Chanel unveiled their first in-house caliber propeling them to the beginning of a legitimate reputation in watchmaking.
Coco Chanel once said that fashion is “not something that exists in dresses only,” and this certainly pertains to the house’s Watch Collection. While Coco never made any watches herself, the house has maintained her spirit and brand in their watch collection.
Chanel’s first watch collection debuted in 1987. The Premiere Watch was inspired by the Place Vendome, where their jewelry designers and craftsmen are housed. This square has cut corners, which give it an octagonal shape drawing a direct parallel to the cap of the iconic Chanel N°5 fragrance. Chanel designers drew inspiration from this, creating a unique face which also has cut corners. This watch exudes femininity and has since seen new editions with diamond and pearl accents. Following the success of this collection, Chanel opened their first watch boutique in Paris.
Keeping in line with Chanel’s desire to produce top quality items and a fortiori watch components, they purchased Chatelain in 1993, a watch assembly company based in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland. Being located in the heart of the watch manufacturing valley, acquiring Chatelain gave to Chanel the legitimacy to continue developing watches.
Chanel’s next major, commercial success came in 2000 with the launch of the J12 Watch Collection. This unisex collection is sleek and sophisticated. Keeping in line with innovation, Chanel used ceramic as the core material. Speaking of success it was not only commercial. In 2012, Chanel received the Geneva Grand Prix d’Horlogerie (GPHG) in the Ladies Watch Category for their Premiere Tourbillon Volant Watch. This watch was inspired by the original Premiere, both having a rectangular face, though this one is larger. It is also encrusted with 3.9cts of diamonds along the face, edges of the face and dial. This watch has a camelia in its center set in the function of a tourbillon. Coco’s favorite flower, as the tourbillon. This motif, as well as sun and moon symbols, can be seen throughout Chanel’s jewelry and watch collections.
Chanel’s most innovative and technologically advanced piece is their Monsieur de Chanel. This was introduced in 2016, as the brand’s first dedicated men’s watch. But the most impressive part, is that the movement was produced in-house. This revolutionary watch was unveiled at Baselworld, to many excited consumers.
These constant technological advancements are part of why the watches can be seen as so expensive to many consumers. Their constant strive for excellency, both in design and quality, deem the prices worth it.
Chanel watches can be found costing anywhere from $3K-$160K. Most of their collections have something $4K and under, such as the Code Coco Collection, Premiere Collection, J12 Collection, and Boyfriend Collection. The most expensive watch we are currently seeing on their website is the J12 Flying Tourbillon Watch for $160K!
Overtime, Chanel has made a worked hard on building a name for themselves in the watch world. This should come to no surprise as, just like their other categories, they take pride in their quality and design. Coco would surely love and be proud of these watches!