Turning heads since 1987, the Première watch by Chanel is a cult classic for those in the know. With its case resembling the octagonal N°5 perfume bottle stopper and its chain strap reminiscent of the classic quilted bag, this iconic watch is just waiting to be worn
When Jacques Helleu, then artistic director of Chanel, conceived the original Première watch back in 1987 it kicked off the House’s now-proud watchmaking tradition. Choosing the octagonal shape of the the N05 perfume bottle’s stopper for its case, dressing the dial in black lacquer and borrowing the interlaced leather and chain strap of the iconic quilted bag for its bracelet, the timepiece surprised the watchmaking world with its feminine codes. For the very first time, a watch intended for women was not a scaled-down version of a man’s, but an elegant creation wholly dedicated to them. Fast forward 35 years and Chanel has now unveiled the Première Original Edition reedition, catapulting the iconic timepiece back into the limelight.
Crafted from the same steel case coated with 18k yellow gold and black-lacquered dial, the steel chain bracelet once more comes interlaced with a black leather strap. Instantly recognisable by its unique shape, which in turn recalls the outline of place Vendôme which Gabrielle Chanel would view from her suite in the Ritz, there are no numerals, indices, second hand or date display either. Instead, under the bevelled glass, you’ll simply find two pared-back hands finished in gold, and a crown set with an onyx cabochon.
“The Première was the first page in our watchmaking history,” says Arnaud Chastaingt, director of Chanel’s Watchmaking Creation Studio. “It was born out of an absolute freedom of creation and it initiated a vision. In 2022, I wanted the Première to find its place again and to put it at the heart of our collection. Far more than a watch, the Première is a lesson in style.” Available at Chanel boutiques nationwide and online
- Words by Naomi Chadderton