Chanel : Inside the private world of Mademoiselle

Mademoiselle Privé Coromandel 

Case : white gold set with 524 snow-set diamonds (3,27 cts), hand-engraved back Diameter : 37.5 mm Movement: mechanical self-winding, 42-hour power reserve Functions : hours, minutes Dial : yellow gold base, champlevé, grand feu enamel, miniature painting, pure gold spangles (24 cts) Strap : black alligator strap, white gold folding clasp set with 80 brilliant-cut diamonds Water resistance : 30 m Edition : one-of-a-kind creation

At Chanel, the Mademoiselle Privé watch collection explores the world of Gabrielle Chanel, the symbols that inspired her or the objects she loved to surround herself with, by highlighting the artistic crafts applied to watchmaking such as engraving, enameling and gemsetting. In the Coro-mandel series, splendid grand feu enamel dials evoke the lacquered decors of the Coromandel partition screens that adorned the fashion designer’s Parisian apartment on the Rue Cambon. After various bird motifs, ships are the stars of the paintings entirely hand-crafted by Anita Porchet, one of Switzerland’s most reputed enameling artists. Using the champlevé technique, the contours of the main elements of the painting are first engraved with a burin or chisel in the metal base plate, in this case made of solid gold. Then come the various phases of enameling involving successive layers and firings. Against deep black backgrounds with shimmering bluish reflections, the artist creates miniature paintings by applying small touches of color with a brush, proceeding in an extremely progressive manner. Her expertise enables her to reproduce particularly luminous and detailed scenes. For the latest models in the Coromandel series, the paintings are enhanced with gold paillons or spangles incrusted in the enamel. Cut to measure and meticulously placed one by one, they are in particular used to form the leaves on the trees which appear to quiver in the light. At the end of the process, the dials are smoothed down and protected by a layer of transparent or flux enamel, a technique invented in Geneva and that gave rise to the term “Geneva enamel”. Each work is a unique piece of art that calls for up to three weeks’ work.

Each bearing the artist’s signature, the dials of the Mademoiselle Privé Coromandel line are swept over by cleverly cut-out hands and framed by cases lit up by snow-set diamonds. Stones of varying diameters are positioned one after another by a master-gemsetter who seeks to cover the entire surface so as to conceal every inch of the metal. The cases thereby feature a variable number of stones, between 600 and 650 on average, which means that each is unique, like the dials themselves. These exclusive watches are exclusively sold through the Chanel Joaillerie boutiques.


The Première watch, thus named because at the time of its launch in 1987 it was the first watch creation from Chanel, returns to center-stage having lost nothing of its identity. The instantly recognizable octagonal case with its beveled crystal evoke the shape of the bottle stopper created for the famous N°5 fragrance, and that of the famous Place Vendôme overlooked by the Ritz Hotel where Gabrielle Chanel was a long-term resident and of which a suite now bears her name, as well as that the flagship Chanel Joaillerie boutique.  In its modernized version, the case is elongated, the glass slimmed down, the chain-type model has fuller and rounder links, and the pure dials are either black-lacquered or in white mother-of-pearl – a choice of colors that the founder of the Maison described in these terms: “Black encompasses everything. White too. They embody absolute beauty”. The new collection is more versatile than ever with a range extended to comprise 14 models interpreted in two sizes in steel and yellow gold versions, with or without diamonds set on the bezel. The ultra-feminine offer is complemented by white gold versions fitted with luxurious bracelets adorned with snow-set diamonds.


White, a big favorite with Gabrielle Chanel, established itself in watchmaking with the appearance of the J12 White in 2003, soon after its exact opposite, the J12 Black. Together, they have given shape to a powerful collection that is both innovative and yet respectful of the Chanel spirit. It has become a reference in the field of high-tech ceramic watches and an emblem of 21st century creativity. To celebrate its tenth anniversary, the White model appears in a virtually immaculate version with the white color code applied to even the hands and numerals. The subtle contrasts stem from a play on materials and shimmering reflections. Christened White Phantom, the 33 or 38 mm-diameter anniversary watch is issued in a 2,000-piece limited edition, while the commemorative inscription J12 WHITE 10th ANNIVERSARY LIMTIED EDITION is engraved on the steel case-back.



Case : white gold, diamond-set bezel, onyx cabochon crown Dimensions : 20 x 28 mm or 16 x 22 mm  Movement: quartz Functions : hours, minutes Dial : black lacquered Bracelet : white gold with diamond snow setting Water resistance : 30 m



Case : yellow gold, diamond-set bezel, onyx cabochon crown Dimensions : 20 x 28 mm or 16 x 22 mm  Movement : quartz Functions : hours, minutes Dial : black lacquered Bracelet : yellow gold Water resistance : 30 m


J12 White Phantom

Case : white high-tech ceramics, engraved steel back (anniversary inscription) Diameter : 38 mm   Movement : mechanical self-winding, 42-hour power reserve Functions : hours, minutes, seconds Dial : white, tone-on-tone hands and numerals Bracelet: white high-tech ceramics Water resistance : 200 m

Brice Lechevalier is editor-in-chief of GMT and Skippers, which he co-founded in 2000 and 2001 respectively. He has also been CEO of WorldTempus since it joined the GMT Publishing stable, of which he is director and joint shareholder. In 2012 he created the Geneva Watch Tour, and he has been an advisor to the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève since 2011. Also closely involved in sailing, he has published the magazine of the Société Nautique de Genève since 2003, and was one of the founders of the SUI Sailing Awards in 2009 and the Concours d’Elégance for motor boats at the Cannes Yachting Festival in 2015.

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