The phrase ‘fashion watch’ is often used in certain spheres as an insult. This is retribution. Where high fashion is concerned, there’s been a relatively recent trend of sincerity; they’re taking watchmaking seriously. In fact, many of the very high end fashion brand’s first attempts at considered offerings are more interesting than their traditional Swiss peers. Chanel approached the space in 2016 very cautiously and with intelligence, they got a little help from some guy called Romain Gauthier.
Together, the two created Chanel’s first masculine watch and first complicated Chanel in the form of a jump hour. But it wasn’t a collaboration above-the-table, this is technically Chanel’s first ever completely built in-house movement. What I find particularly delectable here is the contrast between the front and the rear. See, I’ve previously been on record as saying that Gauthier makes some of the most intimidating watches of any modern independent. We see here a symmetric, gracefully modern take on the jump hour when on wrist, and you simply don’t anticipate the brutalist finishing or architecture we’ve come to expect from RG when you flip it over. But when viewed from the front, this may be the most approachable Gauthier movement ever.
The details are considered too. The font here was designed for just this watch, so as to be in perfect harmony with that bizarre octagonal hour window shape. The calibre 1, as Chanel have termed it, is anthracite ADLC (Amorphous Diamond Like Carbon) with various finishing techniques. One of its bridges and the crown feature a small lion engraving. This will be used henceforth to mark completely in-house movements by Chanel. Why? Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel was born a Leo. This beige gold was limited to just 150 examples. Iconoclast perhaps, but a roaring start one might say.
This ref. H6596 comes very lightly worn indeed. The case shows almost nothing. Unfortunately, no box or papers though. It comes from a well-regarded Malaysian retailer.
Find this Monsieur de Chanel here from S Song for 25000 USD.