Watches

Chanel’s latest timepieces celebrate Coco Chanel’s workshop

Revealed at Watches & Wonders in Geneva, Chanel's latest watch collection is a spectacular ode to its founders visionary craftsmanship and her legendary atelier. We take a closer look

12 April 2024

By Kim Parker

Only the house of Chanel could elevate the humble dressmaker’s pin or bobbin into a haute timetelling motif. Inspired by its founder’s atelier in Paris’ rue Cambon and the dressmaking tools used by her talented seamstresses there to create her iconic silhouettes, the maison revealed an extraordinary collection of whimsical timepieces at the Watches & Wonders 2024 in Geneva.

Chanel musical automaton
Chanel’s one-of-a-kind musical automaton plays ‘My Woman’ by Al Bowlly, with a few turns of a bejewelled key.

Entitled ‘Couture O’Clock’, the pieces were a mesmerising blend of complex watchmaking, gem-setting and storytelling, all in Madam’s signature monochrome palette with flashes of gold. Pride of place in Chanel’s booth was given to a fantastical automaton, the Horloge Musicale Atelier Couture, created as a tribute to the busting atmosphere of Madame’s atelier.

Beneath a smooth glass dome and tiny bejewelled chandelier crafted from 18k gold and pear-cut diamond tassels, five miniature dressmaker’s mannequins can be made to spin around on a quilted onyx base with a few turns of a golden, gem-set key (this can be worn separately on a pendant necklace). The tune to which the busts ‘dance’ is ‘My Woman’ by Al Bowlly, a song which Coco Chanel apparently liked to hum.

Chanel new button ring watch
Chanel’s new button ring watch

Elsewhere, the everyday tools found in Chanel’s atelier have become precious time-telling symbols in themselves. Inspired by a pin cushion, the quilted onyx dial of the Privé Pincushion Ring, which is limited to just five pieces, bears a clutch of delicate gold ‘pins’ tipped in diamonds and mother of pearl, plus a pair of tiny golden ‘needles’ for hour and minute hands. The motif also features on a statement cuff watch as well as pendant necklace watch (the sautoir watch is back with a bang – you heard it here first).

Chanel new J12 watch
Chanel’s signature scissors now feature as time-telling hands on the new limited-edition J12 ceramic watch.

On the new J12 Couture 33mm watch, which is limited to just 55 pieces, the ribbon-looped scissors which Chanel wore in her workshop have become hour and minute hands, ringed by white diamond baguette hour markers and a matching diamond baguette bezel.

the Chanel Bobbin Cuff Couture
The new Chanel Bobbin Cuff Couture

Meanwhile the Bobbin Cuff Couture elevates the simple spool of thread into a unique jewelled secret watch cuff, set with rows of brilliant-cut diamond ‘threads’ and a central yellow, emerald-cut sapphire of over 17 carats, hiding a watch face beneath it. A tape measure, thimble and further mannequins have received similar treatment, resulting in a collection that is fascinating to behold.

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