Chanel: The art of design

Chanel Mademoiselle Privé Camellia Skeleton – Caliber 2.1
CASE : 18K white gold, bezel set with 60 brilliant-cut diamonds

DIAMETER : 37.5mm

MOVEMENT : Camellia Skeleton Caliber 2.1, mechanical manual-winding. 48h power reserve

FUNCTIONS : hours, minutes

DIAL : upper auxiliary plate in black onyx or set with 242 brilliant-cut diamonds and an 18K white gold skeleton
camellia set with 185 brilliant-cut diamonds

CASEBACK : sapphire crystal

STRAP : black satin


Chanel Haute Horlogerie creations exude a fresh, creative approach that could be the envy of many traditional watch Maisons. One of the reasons behind this is that the brand has only recently joined the watchmaking circle, while having acquired exceptional experience in designing objects. This means that creative and aesthetics take pride of place over technical prowess or purely horological complications. This is achieved through close cooperation between the Chanel Creative Studio and the Haute Horlogerie department of the Manufacture G&F Châtelain. One of their most recent creations, the Mademoiselle Privé Camélia Skel- The art of design eton watch, once again demonstrates the validity of this principle. In this delightfully dainty model, the movement serves the design and not the other way around. This new version of Caliber 2 which originally equipped the Première Camélia Skeleton watch in 2017 now includes a baseplate and an additional auxiliary bridge in order to adapt to the gently round case shape. And like its predecessor, Caliber 2.1 has been structured so as to be part of the exquisite camellia, Gabrielle Chanel’s favorite flower. From barrel to balance wheel, its various elements contribute to breathing life into this gold and diamond bloom asymmetrically placed on the right-hand side of the dial, much as one would pin a brooch to the lapel of a jacket or to an elegant little hat. Moreover, the brightly sparkling front is matched by an elegant black-clad back. Its understated charm accentuates the organic construction of the delicate mechanism by highlighting the stepped going train cleverly arranged so as to reveal only the shape of the camellia. For even greater aesthetic pleasure, Chanel offers two versions of this exceptional timepiece. The first is extremely graphic with an auxiliary plate in onyx that accentuates the shining contours of the flower. The second is a more jewelry-oriented interpretation featuring an extravaganza of light and luxury. Playing with chiaroscuro effects and geometrical dynamics, the jet-black decor has been generously replaced by diamonds in a circular setting that creates an incomparably powerful composition. Two camellias, one watch, exquisite haute horlogerie – and above all, the quintessence of Chanel elegance on the wrist.


Certain objects almost naturally tell stories. In the case of a watch, that can of course mean the story of time, perhaps that of its wearer, and sometimes much more besides – opening a window onto an exceptional destiny. In this instance, the latest Boy∙Friend Skeleton Caliber 3 by Chanel carries us into the extraordinary life of Mademoiselle. A feat that confirms the incredible talent of the brand designers. Firstly, because this model proves that it is possible to create beautiful watches without sacrificing individual identity on the altar of horological tradition; and secondly because, like Gabrielle Chanel in her day, they powerfully subvert codes in order to create emotions and instill life into objects This new creation was thus initially intended as a unisex watch – in the same way as Mademoiselle began plundering men’s dress codes from 1913 onwards. A watch that Mrs lends to Mr or vice versa, a piece of jewelry… or whatever you wish to call it. Freedom is the ultimate chic, as the entire avant-garde spirit characterizing the brilliant tomboy pervades this new creation. And each glance reveals a little something of her life and work. The gaze is first caught by the style and colors of the movement that is openworked and appears to be floating in mid-air. Blackened by an ADLC treatment, some of the circles of the main structure and the small seconds have been coated with a beige gold border achieved by a galvanic treatment. This two-tone effect is a real technical challenge as well as a subtle reminder of the favorite colors of Mademoiselle, who lived in a “beige-plastered, blackshuttered” villa in the heights of Garches. Nontraditional finishes, yet so very beautiful! One then notes the understated architecture of Calibre 3. While following the vertical line of the caseband, the various movement elements nonetheless add a soft and delicately rounded touch to the overall effect. The barrel, the chapter ring and the seconds thus overlap in three pure circles, within which the other components are revealed in a discreetly elegant manner. Everything is a question of details and getting things just right. A modern, disruptive, smart vision of watchmaking – and above all a true lesson in design.

Review overview