Though Mademoiselle Chanel never designed any watches herself or indeed lived to see a dial bearing her name, the new Chanel Mademoiselle Privé Coromandel and Mademoiselle Privé Decor watches are all infused with the spirit of Gabrielle.
Using the dial as a blank canvas, these models make an art of decorating the face of the watch with themes close to Chanel's heart. A visit to Chanel's apartment, above the shop and ateliers on rue de Cambon, reveals the richness of her taste and her very modern approach to decoration. The entrance to her apartment is via a small interior room clad in black Chinese lacquer screens known as 'coromandels', named after the coast in India from which they were shipped to Europe.
It was these dark, lustrous wooden screens, with their inlaid golden decorations, that inspired the three Mademoiselle Privé Coromandel watch dials, each of which depicts a different Asian boat theme. The dials are decorated with 'grand feu' enamel using what is known as the 'Geneva technique'. Gold is applied to give the delicate misty feel of the original panels in rue de Cambon. All three watches are presented in white gold cases set with 524 diamonds using the random 'snow-setting' technique, and each is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement.
The Mademoiselle Privé Decor watches refer to three different themes present in Chanel's life. The 'Moon and Comet' watch, with its midnight blue, sparkling aventurine glass dial, tells the time with a shooting star and a moon that sweep across its face. Decorated with 72 diamonds, it is a sparkling reference to Chanel's romantic side and love of astrology. The 'Pétales de Camélia' dial is a shimmering composition of diamonds and opals, all arranged to mimic the fleshy leaves of the camellia, Chanel's favourite flower. The 'Camélia Orgami' interprets the flower with a Japanese nuance and adds colour by way of purple sapphires and one ruby burning bright amongst the diamonds. Each watch is white gold with a self-winding mechanical movement.
Only one of each of these watches will be produced for collectors of the rare and the exceptional.
The Chanel Mademoiselle Privé Coromandel dial watches are made using the ‘grand feu’ enamel painting technique and inlaid with gold. All three of this models have white gold cases decorated with over 600 diamonds set in a random ‘snow-setting’ pattern.
This Chanel Mademoiselle Privé Coromandel watch, like the other two, has a mechanical self-winding movement and the dial reflects the Asian theme of the black lacquer screens that Mademoiselle Chanel so loved.
Three Mademoiselle Privé watches have been made to reflect themes close to Mademoiselle Chanel’s heart. On the “Moon and Comet” a sun and a comet move across the aveturine glass dial to track the hours and minutes, astrology being a subject that fascinated this couturier.
Mademoiselle Privé Origami re-interprets Chanel’s favourite flower with a Japanese twist and is set with purple sapphires, diamonds and a single ruby in the centre of the bloom.
This Mademoiselle Privé Petales Camelia watch model refers to Chanel’s favourite flower, here picked out in shimmering diamonds and moonstone. Like all the Privé watches, it has a mechanical self-winding movement.
The Chanel Mademoiselle Privé watch with Coromandel dial, like the others in this trio of one-off timepieces, is inspired by the Chinese screens, or Coromandels, found in Madame Chanel’s rue de Cambon apartment.