February 7, 2017
by Ariel Adams
One of the most interesting new high-end men’s watches of 2016 is getting a new member of its collection family in a platinum case with an attractive grand feu enamel dial for 2017. The Monsieur de Chanel (“Chanel Monsieur” as I prefer to call it) is easily among the most ambitious and appealing haute horology watches produced just for men from Paris-based Chanel. They like to remind watch collectors that the concept, case, and movement were “dreamed from the ground up” and produced specifically for this particular watch collection. In other words, it’s the most effort Chanel has ever put into a specifically men’s watch collection for serious enthusiasts, and I think it is a beautiful creation.
I spend a lot of time discussing the technical and artistic elements of the Chanel Monsieur watch when debuting it hands-on here last year during Baselworld 2016. Reference that article to read all about the movement and its complications. I will remind you that celebrated independent Swiss watchmaker Romain Gauthier (who also has his own brand) is the one who is responsible for actually producing the Calibre 1 mechanical movement components inside of each Monsieur de Chanel watch – which is then assembled by Chanel. This is a good thing for picky watch collectors who want to make sure the engine in their otherwise pretty timepieces are of a high quality and offer prestige value.
The Calibre 1 movement is manually wound running at 3Hz with 72 hours of power reserve. Design and finishing are beautiful – and of course, you can view it through the exhibition caseback. Note that Chanel did not provide images of the caseback of the new platinum Monsieur de Chanel, so the caseback images are of last year’s 18k beige gold model. The movement offers just the time with two interesting complications. First is an instant-jumping hours indicator (located at 6 o’clock) and second is a retrograde minute indicator that follows a 240-degree arc around the dial. It’s very slick. The most traditional element on the watch is the subsidiary seconds dial. What you have is an attractive dial that is both legible and technically interesting.
For 2017, what is new are these black dials, which are produced from grand feu enamel – and they should look lovely. Last year’s debut Monsieur watches had silver-toned dials, so adding a black dial is a valuable addition to the collection. What is also new is the platinum (65 grams of it) case for the Monsieur de Chanel. The 2016 versions came in 18k beige and 18k white gold. The case is 40mm wide and 10mm thick, allowing it to wear very comfortably on the black alligator strap.
There is a growing appreciation of high-end watches from fashion houses that might traditionally be associated with women’s items. I think I’ve largely helped this trend by trying to point out the inherent quality and good design of the best of these watches. The Chanel Monsieur should have what it takes to remove potential bias some men might have from wearing a Chanel item on their wrist. As I continue to say, if you need just one persuasive argument for wearing a men’s watch from a brand like Chanel, it is that a lot more women will give your watch a thumbs up… always a valuable point for those who value positive watch choice feedback. Price for the 2017 version of the Monsieur de Chanel in platinum is $63,000. chanel.com