March 20, 2016
by Ariel Adams
The signature complications of the Chanel Calibre 1 are large-window jumping hour display, small seconds dial, and 240-degree retrograde minute hand. This is a rather wide arc for a retrograde minutes hand, which here has been designed so that the minute hand never overlaps the subsidiary seconds dial. Time is read by first reading the “digital” hour indicator window at the bottom and then tracking the minute hand along the 0-60 scale. It takes a short time to get used to it, but in reality such display formats can be even more ergonomic to read than traditional analog hour and minute displays.
Chanel even designed a totally new font for the Chanel Monsieur watch. Modern and clearly inspired by electronic digital numerals, the font is used for both the dial text as well as for the jumping hour numerals. It serves as a nice complement to the traditional Chanel logo font. Another new iconographic design is the lion’s head-style logo, which, according to Chanel, will be used for this and future Chanel Monsieur men’s collection watches moving forward. Even though the Calibre 1 movement is fully integrated, Chanel mentioned that future models with additional complications or features will arrive in due course. This means that the Chanel Monsieur is really the start of a new strategy for Chanel’s watch department, and that the company feels their future for men’s watches is more about serious mechanics and complexity versus trendy looks and pop design.
At 40mm wide in either 18k white or “beige gold” (a Chanel alloy which is a bit more pale than rose gold), the round Chanel Monsieur case has a polished front and rear bezel with a brushed middle case. It wears comfortably and with a classic feel that is mostly unlike previous men’s watches from the brand. Chanel watch branding is really most readily observed in the frame around the jumping hour indicator and the ardillon-style buckle which hearken to the angled-edge square look of the Chanel Premiere’s case. Such a look was originally borrowed from the bottle cap of Chanel No. 5 perfume, that itself was borrowed from the aerial view of the Place Vendome in Paris, France.
Since the Chanel Monsieur is a men’s watch, I felt it was fitting to take pictures of it along with a pair of Chanel leather boxing gloves. Pretty cheeky items, right? For me, the Chanel Monsieur is a beautiful surprise that I was not expecting from the brand, but that I seriously appreciate. I’m not personally in a place where I can easily spend this amount of money on a timepiece, and if I were, there would be a long list of items vying for my funds. With that said, if circa $35,000 were not a big deal for me, I’d seriously consider the Chanel Monsieur as beautiful and modern dress watch with a novel character and some serious horological street cred. Price for the Chanel Monsieur in 18k beige gold is $34,500 and in 18k white gold is $36,000. chanel.com