Earlier this year, in Baselworld 2016, i was whisked away into a back room of the Chanel exhibition space to see a video about a top secret project: the Monsieur de Chanel men’s watch — that would appear on the market later in the year. The watch is here and it has a lot to offer, but the question is, are men ready for a Chanel watch that retails for $34,500? I think the answer is “yes” — for the right watch, and Chanel may just have gotten this one (like its J12 and certain other complicated watches before it) right.
While I was sworn to secrecy then, the watch is out and coming to stores this month. The classically elegant Monsieur de Chanel timepiece — designed especially for men and housing an all-new in-house-made movement — was five years in the research, design and development stages. It represents the brand’s first Manufacture high-horology movement — and it’s an impressive one.
The manual-wind Caliber 1 offers Jumping Hour and Retrograde Minute indication. There is a large opening at 6:00 where the the digital hour display appears. Above it, in a circular arc on the upper portion of the dial, sits the retrograde minutes, and there is a nicely nestled subsidiary seconds dial between the hour and minute displays for harmonious balance in design and function.
Every hour, the minutes count their way from 0 to 60 and at the end of the 60-minutes the hand flies back to the zero position to start its march again. At the same time, the digital hours jump ahead — together forming a beautifully orchestrated dance that celebrates the change of the hour every hour.
The Calibre 1 consists of 170 parts, and instead of incorporating the complications as added modules, the brand has integrated them into the bottom plate — offering a thinner movement and a final case that fits elegantly beneath the suit jacket.
The 40mm watch is offered in two renditions: the brand’s proprietary Beige Gold case with ivory opaline dail and in a white gold case with white opaline dial. Thiis year, just 150 of each are being made. The watch also features a lion-head crown (the brand’s emblematic symbol and a sign of strength), domed sapphire crystal, sapphire case back for viewing of the movement.
With the jump hour and retrograde minutes complications, and the elegant appeal of the design, Chanel may well have opened the doors for a new wave of male customers.
40 mm diameter – 10.4 mm thickness
18K Beige gold case and crown or 18-karat white gold case and crown
retrograde minute counter, jumping hour window and small seconds counter
18K gold plated hands
black alligator strap
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds 3-day power reserve
Water resistance: 30 meters
Gold weight: 48.80 g
Calibre I. Heure sautante instantanée minute rétrograde – first in-house manual- winding mechanical movement with two integrated complications: instant jumping hour and minute retrograde on 240° ; 170 components;30 rubies
Frequency: 28800 vibrations / hour (4Hz)
2 fixed barrels in series, spring torque 700 g.mm
Anti-shock system to protect balance
Movement diameter: 32 mm or 14’’’3/4
Movement thickness: 5.5 mm