Chanel has just paid a very nice tribute to the artisans of haute couture, the seamstresses, by dedicating to them a collection of 5 watches inspired by their essential work accessory, the needle-stick. The timing of this presentation could not have been better chosen, in the midst of Paris Fashion Week. Chanel thus celebrates a meeting point between fine watchmaking and haute couture through these 5 pieces which are distinguished by their size (a diameter of 55mm) and the execution of their dials.
The Pique-Aiguilles surprises with its diameter of 55mm:
I really liked these watches for several reasons and the first of them is that they renew Chanel’s offer while remaining faithful to the spirit of the brand and its vision in terms of watchmaking. The diameter and the volume (the glass is very domed) are in fact consistent with the objective assigned to this collection: it is a question of creating watches that tell stories thanks to dials that are real stage settings, such as three-dimensional still lifes that would have been organized in sewing workshops. Chanel does not offer us simple watches in this way and I almost want to say that the display of time becomes almost secondary. The hands indicate the passage of time but their thinness (they also symbolize sewing needles) makes them very discreet in order to leave the most unobstructed view possible on the dial.
The Tweed Décor Needle Pick showcases the seamstress’s delightful tools:
I felt that Arnaud Chastaingt, director of watchmaking creation at Chanel, took great pleasure in defining these 5 dials and this pleasure is contagious. The chosen themes are: a lace of camellias, a composition of iconic bags, a throw of jewelry, a diamond embroidery and a jacket being made. It is therefore the different parts of the Chanel universe that are revisited and this is what largely explains the success of these watches.
The Pique-Aiguilles Décor Perles plays on the contrast between pearls and diamonds:
At first glance, they appear totally out of step with the rest of the collection given their size and extremely detailed dials. Chanel is generally rather adapted to a minimalist approach and a refined elegance. And yet, each Mademoiselle Privé Pique-Aiguilles model is resolutely Chanel thanks to these links with the professions and creations of the House. I particularly appreciated the Pique-Aiguilles Décor Dentelle which combines three decorative techniques (engraving, enamelling and transfer) to achieve a sumptuous set dial. Likewise, the Pique-Aiguilles Décor Tweed seduced me thanks to its theme and the extreme precision of the details. The tools of the seamstresses in sculpted gold are remarkably executed and reinforce the effects of relief and the feeling of being in a theater setting. Each model has its own personality and accurately transcribes the universe from which it is inspired. It should be noted that the dials of the Pique-Aiguilles Décor Dentelle and the Pique-Aiguilles Décor Tweed were made with the Cadraniers de Genève, the company that belongs to FP Journe. Let’s not forget that there are links between Chanel and FP Journe since Chanel has held 20% of the capital of FP Journe since 2018. The production of these dials is a fine example of synergy.
The impressive setting of the Pique-Aiguilles Décor Borderie:
Once put on the wrist, each model of Mademoiselle Privé Pique-Aiguilles is even more spectacular given the difference between the size of the case and that of a woman’s wrist. Even my wrist seemed ridiculously small, but women have the ability, much more than men who stay within a very limited diameter range, to wear very small or very large watches without it seeming ridiculous. The Mademoiselle Privé Pique-Aiguilles pieces are undeniably exceptional pieces and will therefore be worn in very specific contexts such as for example to attend a fashion show… In any case, comfort has not been forgotten since I rediscovered the effective double folding clasp available from Chanel which holds the watch perfectly even when moving the wrist. Each model has a yellow gold case but the lower part is made of titanium in order to lighten the whole and to have a completely hypoallergenic material in contact with the skin.
The precision of the details of the Matelassé Decor Needle Pick:
I was initially disappointed to learn that the 5 pieces were powered by a high-precision quartz movement. I had considered a more noble movement for these watches, the prices of which are distributed around 200,000 euros depending on the model. But on second thought, this is the best solution. The crown is discreet and housed under the base of the dial so that it is difficult to manipulate. In addition, the size of the parts does not make them everyday watches. Thus, a quartz movement is the most practical, reducing the need to manipulate the crown.
The surprising relief effects of the Lace Decor Pique-Aiguille:
The main thing is elsewhere. The advantage of the Mademoiselle Privé Pique-Aiguilles collection is its unique atmosphere and its ability to recreate genuine miniature paintings. She places Chanel in a more descriptive than pure approach and I really appreciated the audacity and the excessive character of these watches when the house is more recognized for its elegance with restraint.
Each model is distinguished by its curved glass. Their name is not usurped because we find the shape of the needle cushion.
Note that each model in the collection is water resistant to 30 meters and is available in a limited edition of 20 pieces. Thanks to the Chanel Press team for the presentation.