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.