The Première watch has been Chanel’s shining star since its creation in 1987. Now 35, the watch has stood the test of time with its classic appeal and is still adorning the wrist of a new generation of tastemakers
Fresh off a star-making turn in the lead role on The Idol, actress Lily-Rose Depp is the latest face for the Première Édition Originale watch. The actress absolutely embodies Chanel’s mix of rebelliousness, authenticity, and youthfulness in her first campaign as ambassador for the timepiece. It serves as a modern and elegant celebration of the Chanel watch.
Coming from a maison so rich with heritage, it is of little wonder that the Première watch has become the legend that it is. The timepiece borrows its design from something that was already iconic, namely the octagonal shape of the stopper of the N°5 perfume bottle for its case. Encased in black lacquer and borrowing the interlaced leather and chain strap of Chanel’s iconic quilted bag for its bracelet, the timepiece stood out in a watchmaking industry that had been ruled by masculine codes until it arrived.
The Première Édition Originale watch was conceived in 1987 by Jacques Helleu, artistic director at Chanel, who had joined the Maison thirty years earlier and a Chanel devotee since he was 18. “I fought to make a design that was strong, that was unique, that – more than just launching a single collection – would become an eternal reference,” says Helleu, who brought the maison into the realm of watchmaking with it.
When the Première watch was launched in 1987, Chanel opened two dedicated boutiques – in Paris at 40 avenue Montaigne and in Geneva at 43 rue du Rhône – where the model was showcased. This was followed by another in place Vendôme in 1990. In 2022, Chanel Watchmaking and Fine Jewelry has found itself another new home in the completely redesigned townhouse at 18 place Vendôme. So it’s apt that the Première returns to the spotlight once again.
“The Première was the first page in our watchmaking history. It was born out of an absolute freedom of creation and it initiated a vision, the “Allure of Time” as measured by Chanel. In 2022, I wanted the Premiere to find its place again and to put it at the heart of our collection. This creation is our DNA and a Chanel code through and through. Far more than a watch, the Première is a lesson in style,” says Arnaud Chastaingt, director of Chanel’s Watchmaking Creation Studio.
With the Chanel DNA embedded in its design, the Première watch is certain to be the must-have fashion accessory on the wrist of the stylish.
The latest addition to the line is the Première Ribbon watch (HK$47,900). Much like a little black dress, this steel timepiece set with diamonds is set to be an essential piece of wrist candy in many wardrobes. The understated design exudes quiet luxury. It stands perfectly as piece on its own or can be used to match with other jewellery pieces.