HAUTE AMBITIONS
World of Watches|Autumn 2021
CHANEL’s introduction of its latest watch collection reflects the coming of age for the brand
KELVIN TAN

Since the introduction of CHANEL’s first watch back in 1987, the House of Creation has introduced several important additions, not only to its watch collection, but also to the worlds of horology, style and fashion. To further the brand’s goals, CHANEL has operated a Watchmaking Creation Studio at the Place Vendôme for the past eight years and this powerhouse of imagination has yet to disappoint. With the immeasurable amount of savoir-faire in hand, CHANEL goes from strength to strength as a uniquely innovative watchmaker that is, today, one of the indisputable key players in the industry.

2021 sees yet another groundbreaking line-up of watches being brought out by CHANEL. To better understand the creative force behind this year’s collection, CHANEL presents us with an in-depth interview with Arnaud Chastaingt, the director of CHANEL’s Watchmaking Creation Studio. In the interview, Chastaingt explains the creative thought processes and inspirations behind each of the new additions to the collection as well as the driving force behind the Watchmaking Creation Studio of the House of CHANEL.

J12 ELECTRO BOX (EACH PIECE IS UNIQUE - UNIQUE BOX)

MOVEMENT CHANEL Automatic calibre 12.1, COSC certified with power reserve of 70 hours

CASE 38mm matte black highly resistant ceramic and steel with black ADLC, steel fixed bezel with black ADLC with 46 baguettecut monochrome sapphires (~6.37 carats), steel non screw-down crown with black ADLC set with 1 brilliant-cut sapphire (~0.16 carat) and 50m water resistance

DIAL Matte black dial

STRAP Matte black highly resistant ceramic bracelet with steel triple-folding buckle with black ADLC

IN EACH SET ARE TWELVE J12 WATCHES, EACH PIECE UNIQUE WITH UNIQUE BOX.

The first CHANEL watch was created in 1987. In 35 years, CHANEL has established itself in the world of watchmaking with all the audacity and freedom of a House of Creation. For the past 8 years, you have been managing the Watchmaking Creation Studio located on the Place Vendôme. Before unveiling your new creations, how would you sum up the collection you presented in 2020?

The year 2020 was marked most notably by the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the J12 watch with creations such as the J12∙20 and the J12 Paradoxe. That same year, High Watchmaking was a particularly inspiring field of expression for me. Projects such as the “Mademoiselle Privé BOUTON” collection, the J12 X-RAY watch and the “Coco O’Clock” collection allowed me to really highlight my vision of CHANEL High Watchmaking and to illustrate the creative facets that define it. In 2021, for the first time, we have chosen a transversal theme and thus a story that can be read across the entire watch collection.

J12 ELECTRO WATCH (LIMITED EDITION OF 1255 PIECES)

MOVEMENT CHANEL Automatic calibre 12.1, COSC certified with power reserve of 70 hours

CASE 38mm black highly resistant ceramic and steel, sapphire caseback, steel unidirectional rotating bezel with neon rainbow coloured indicators, steel screw-down crown with black highly resistant ceramic cabochon and 200m water resistance

DIAL Black lacquered with neon rainbow coloured indicators

STRAP Black highly resistant ceramic bracelet with steel triplefolding buckle

Before opening this new chapter, could you tell us about the forthcoming highlights of the J12 watch for 2021?

This year marks a new stage in the watchmaking history of the J12 watch. As you know, the Calibre 12.1 has been equipping the iconic 38 mm format of the J12 since 2019. This movement is available in 4 different finishes. Rhodium-plated for its simplest appearance or coated in black for limited editions, the Calibre 12.1 also comes with its oscillating weight, set with round diamonds or baguette diamonds on exceptional pieces. For 2021, the Calibre 12.2 will be added to the collection. A new self-winding mechanical movement will now equip the 33 mm format of the “J12” collection.

Creatively speaking, how will we discover CALIBRE 12.2 in 2021?

With a unique launch! The J12 33 mm Calibre 12.2 Edition 1 marks the introduction of this new arrival in the adventure with KENISSI. This Edition 1 celebrates the birth of this movement that will be a milestone in the history of the J12 watch. For the occasion, we made the graphic choice of tone-on-tone. White or black is the monochromatic signature on each of these two creations. A facetted sapphire ring sets the rhythm and illuminates the bezel. While the dial design remains intact, I focused on the elegance of the unique color and light contrasts. In black or white, this Edition 1 is punctuated by a diamond set on its crown.

At the same time, there’s a new addition to the “J12 Calibre 12.1” collection. What is it?

Indeed, in 2021 the J12 38 mm Calibre 12.1 now exists in a jewelry version. A bezel set with brilliant-cut diamonds adorns the black and white designs in the collection. For an even more precious result, their dials are set with 12 diamond hour-markers.

This year, you have chosen to illustrate “Le Temps CHANEL” with a transversal theme. Can you present this collection to us?

It’s a year rich in color for “Le Temps CHANEL”! For 2021, I’ve chosen to tell a story and recount our creations via a universe that really inspires me. It’s an immersive capsule collection whose graphic codes are borrowed from the world of ELECTRO music culture.

How has this musical movement inspired you?

In the 1990s, this musical movement imposed a radical, eccentric visual universe, reflecting the nightlife and the atmosphere in which it evolved. Electro music went beyond the musical field alone, generating a veritable aesthetic culture. The performance is global, sensorial, graphic and goes beyond just the sounds. Indissociable from the places in which it unfolds, ELECTRO culture developed as a movement of artistic expression in its own right. It is quite fascinating and very inspiring!

How did you translate this inspiration?

I imagined this capsule collection like a DJ line-up, inviting our classics to take turns on the stage while borrowing the codes of this universe. The confrontation between black and color sits at the heart of this story. Color illuminates black. The depth of the color of the black underline, the union is radical, and the contrast is graphic. Rhythmed by the dance of the hands, “Le Temps CHANEL” vibrates to the sound of ELECTRO music. For this collection, the J12, PREMIERE, CODE COCO and BOY-FRIEND are revealed in a graphic, vibrant and hypnotic ambiance.

PREMIÈRE ELECTRO BOX (LIMITED EDITION OF 5 SETS)

MOVEMENT High precision quartz

CASE 23.6 x 15.8 x 6.2mm steel with black ADLC treatment and onyx cabochon with 30m water resistance

DIAL Black-lacquered with neon pink, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange or red CHANEL logo

STRAP Triple row steel chain bracelet with black ADLC interwoven with neon pink, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange or red leather

In each set are seven PREMIÈRE watches

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