Karla Alindahao , CONTRIBUTOR
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Chanel may have taken its time to release its first men’s watch, but the exquisite Monsieur de Chanel was certainly worth the wait.
At Baselworld 2016, the French fashion house debuted the Monsieur—the only watch in its portfolio with an in-house movement, consisting of 170 components. Called the Calibre 1, its mechanically winding movement is quite the horological masterpiece.
Consider these high points: The 40mm Monsieur took five years to develop. It’s a jumping hour watch, with the hour indicator at the six o’clock position. The hours are displayed in Arabic numerals within an octagonal window, which is a nod to Place Vendôme (Chanel’s spiritual home in Paris) and the bottle stopper of Chanel’s iconic No. 5 perfume. Directly above the jumping hour, is the timepiece’s running seconds function. And directly above that is a retrograde minutes function—in a 240-degree display.
Chanel Monsieur de Chanel Watch_Baselworld 2016_02
Bienvenue Monsieur: Chanel’s first men’s timepiece, Monsieur de Chanel, features jumping hours, running seconds, and retrograde minutes.
On the caseback, the Monsieur is just as handsome—in fact, a complex contrast to the timepiece’s elegant silvered opaline dial. There are two circular and skeletonized bridges in glossy and matte black, which is the predominant color of Monsieur’s ADLC-coated movements. And a single black barrel is responsible for the piece’s three-day power reserve.
The Calibre 1 is Chanel’s first in-house movement, replete with 170 components.
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Beyond all that, the typography on the Monsieur is exclusive to the watch. You will also find a lion at the crown, buckle, and movement. This will be the seal of Chanel’s all in-house timepieces going forward.
So how did one of the world’s most prestigious fashion houses pull this feat off? Apparently, Chanel invested on renowned independent Swiss watchmaker Romain Gauthier back in 2011. So under the design and direction of the maison, Gauthier supplied components for the timepiece as needed.
The Monsieur will be available in June 2016. The white gold version is priced at $36,000 (limited to 150 pieces); while the beige gold version is $34,500 (also limited to 150 pieces).