Style / World of Watches (WOW)

Chanel Première watch is Glamour Distilled

Revisiting the 1980s with the Chanel Première Original Edition

Apr 19, 2023 | By Kelvin Tan

Conceived back in 1987 as the Maison’s inaugural watchmaking creation, the Première watch was the born from the genius mind of Jacques Helleu, Artistic Director at Chanel. Devoting himself to Chanel since the young age of eighteen, he was coming into his fourth decade at the Maison.

Icons Together

From the moment of its creation, the Première watch rose as a shining star and proved to be an unstoppable icon for Chanel and for the world of watches. The octagonal shape of the stopper of the legendary Chanel N°5 perfume bottle is the main inspiration behind the shape of the case. The stopper was, in turn, a design idea taken from the outline of Place Vendôme in Paris as seen by Gabrielle Chanel from her suite at the Ritz.

Dressing this recognizable shape in black lacquer was just the first step. Bringing it all together was the interlaced leather and chain strap of the iconic quilted Chanel bag. Its form was chosen to perfectly partner said case as the bracelet of the watch. The bracelet is flexible and comfortable to wear and ends in a superbly refined clasp befitting of the whole setup. As a whole, the completed Première watch took the watchmaking world by storm and, finally, women had a watch that could match the masculine giants of horology.

Place Vendôme

Free from the norm and exuding the charm and aura of femininity, the watch represents the first of its kind that is genuinely intended for women and not simply a scaled-down version of a men’s watch. The Première is an elegant watch made for women and dedicated to every woman who lives in the present and seizes the moment.

Grand Comeback

Back in 1987, Chanel opened two boutiques exclusively for the launch of the Première. They were located at 40 avenue Montaigne, Paris and at 43 rue du Rhône, Geneva. Subsequently, in 1990, another boutique opened at Place Vendôme. During these times, the Première watch appeared with all the freshness and charm of a jeune première across all variations. The symbol of ingenuity and elegance continues today. With Chanel Watchmaking and Fine Jewelry now at its new home in the redesigned townhouse at 18 Place Vendôme, the Première returns to the spotlight, in a subtly streamlined version. Nevertheless, contemporary, unique and full of personality, the watch fully retains its radiant persona even though 35 years has passed since its arrival. After all this time, Chanel is letting us in once again into the grand world of the Première — the Chanel Première Original Edition. Crafted with the same level of passion and skill, but with the latest in technology and savoir faire, the Première Original Edition is a watch with an incomparable provenance and timeless appeal.

Effortless Luxury

Every single aspect of the Chanel Première Original Edition points to undeniable opulence. The elegant silhouette and sleek shiny lines bring together a watch that simply exudes class, style and desirability. The main star of the watch, its case, is crafted with solid stainless-steel, coated with yellow gold. One may set the time with a matching crown, also coated in yellow gold and set with a prominent onyx cabochon that mirrors the deep stark black lacquered dial which seems to have a mysterious depth. The golden hands stand out against this dial to legibly tell the time.

Within the watch is a highly accurate and precise quartz movement for convenience. It is protected from the elements, by the case, for up to 30 metres of water resistance. Another key highlight is the bracelet of the watch. Made specifically to complement the design of the case, the steel bracelet is also coated in yellow gold and interlaced with a black leather strap. The interplay between black and gold offers the watch a rich and grand aura with just a hint of playfulness, thus justifying the Chanel Première Original Edition’s icon status.

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