Watches and Wonders 2024: Couture meets horology as Chanel presents new Premiere and J12

Chanel captures the playfulness and elegance of couture in its latest timepiece collections, writes Gloria Fung

Few other names in fashion exude such a strong influence to the point where they manage to take ownership of the simple colour palette practically. Show up in a black tweed jacket and a simple white tee and chances are, people will start asking if you’re wearing Chanel. 

Gabrielle Chanel took the colour black at a time when women’s fashion was light and colourful and somehow managed to reinvent the bold shade to represent a no-nonsense and handsome version of feminism. 

Chanel accessories have always been an integral part of the house; pearls are draped on the lapel frames and necklines while chains are transformed into belts and used as purse straps, creating designs that are at once utilitarian yet chic. 

This same desire to mesh function with fashion aptly inspires the house’s timepieces. As soon as the house launched its all-white and all-black J12, it somehow instantly claimed these colours as its own within the watchmaking world and, without a doubt, aided the rise of the monochromatic timepiece. 

The brand continues to find inspiration from its design pillars, drawing upon its strengths as a fashion house first and foremost to create timepieces that speak to the refinement traditionally reserved for Haute Couture.  

Chanel Mademoiselle J12 Couture

At this year’s Watches and Wonders, Chanel presented a range of timepieces that continue to pay homage to its original muse and founder. New renditions of the Premier and the J12 speak to the whimsy and playfulness often discretely expressed in fashion. 

The new Premiere Ribbon Couture continues as an extension to the collection that takes on the octagonal shape inspired by Place Veodm, the square Coco Chanel’s permanent suite at the Ritz Paris overlooked. This year’s rendition in gold features a double wrap strap that mimics measuring tape in black and gold, a nod to the Chanel atelier and the house’s high fashion origins. A Coco Chanel charm hangs from the timepiece’s crown. 

Chanel Première Ribbon Couture

The Mademoiselle J12 Couture sees a suited Coco Chanel in the foreground while a disc with a golden safety pin, spools, hangers and couture mannequins oscillate in the back. 

Chanel J 12 Couture Automaton

Another rendition of the ceramic timepiece J12 Automatic Calibre 6 depicts a playful comic depiction of Coco Chanel in her signature black tweed suit, scissors in hand, snipping away in her atelier. The 355 component movement powers the time and minutes, setting the Coco Chanel automaton in motion. 

Also see: Watches and Wonders 2024: IWC unveils highly accurate Portugieser Eternal Calendar

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