|Famous for||For popularising the use of ceramic in watchmaking. Its J12 is recognised as a modern classic|
The epitome of French style, for more than 100 years Chanel has held the fashion world in thrall. Known for simplicity and elegance in design, the house that brought you the little black dress delivers timepieces with both beauty and brains.
Chanel has always been known for signature styles – from the skirt suit to Chanel No. 5 – and it was with this dedication to longevity and continuity that the Premiere watch collection was launched in 1987. In a nod to that classic house fragrance, the face of the Premiere takes the shape of the glass stopper of a Chanel No. 5 bottle, which, in turn, was based on the shape of the Place Vendome in Paris, where the Chanel boutique is housed.
Chanel’s second big foray into watches produced yet another classic: 2000’s J12, a watch that set the standard for the latest material in the industry – ceramic. It was designed by Jacques Helleu, the brand’s artistic director who worked with the company for 40 years until his death in 2007, and cemented its reputation by using one of watch-making’s hottest materials – ceramic. The iconic J12 design can be seen above with a skeletonised dial and flying tourbillon hidden by the star at six o’clock.
However, it wasn’t until Chanel started drafting in the services of such notable watch names as Renaud et Papi, that it started to be taken seriously by the watch industry. Since then it has produced timepieces that illustrate its knowledge of both fine watchmaking and fine jewellery, such as the Premiere Tourbillon Volante. It has also taken advantage of the Maison’s couture expertise and used skills such as embroidery on watch-dial decoration, something which is notoriously difficult to do.
For nearly 30 years, Chanel has been creating beautiful watches for women that remain true to watchmaking tradition, proving this historical fashion house continues to evolve.