This season, Chanel has revisited another icon in the design lexicon of Mademoiselle Chanel, the quilted pattern, also known as the “matelassé,” in its new “Signature de Chanel” collection. Unveiled during Couture Week in Chanel’s private salons that face the newly renovated Colonne Vendôme, the new High Jewelry collection pays homage to the classic quilted motif associated with one of Chanel’s most iconic handbag lines.
The new Signature de Chanel includes 11 mini collections, among them two secret luxury watches that complement Les Éternelles de Chanel collection, a line of high jewelry watches introduced last year at Baselworld. The two new secret watches presented in Paris last week will be featured in Chanel’s Baselworld 2016 novelties lineup.
The Signature Diamond Secret Watch is a luxury jeweled white gold cuff with an elongated quilted design, subtly suggesting Gabrielle Chanel’s favored “marinière” stripes on a matelassé base. A centered 5.26-carat briolette diamond sits atop a hidden round dial contoured with round diamonds on a perfectly supple bracelet that feels like a lamé.
The Signature Morganite Secret Watch also features a supple cuff in white gold with a 43.66-carat pink morganite cabochon in the center of a quilted bracelet composed of rounded squares set with bespoke sparkling diamonds. In both models, a concealed mechanism enables the wearer to lift the center stone to reveal the watch dial.
Variations on the same quilted motif are featured in two white gold diamond-set watches both with a quartz movement. The “Signature de Saphir” watch combines 28 square-cut diamonds (3.1 carats) with 858 brilliant-cut diamonds (22 carats) and 12 baguette-cut diamonds, creating what the house called a “coherent disorder” that results in a luminous play of light. “The idea was to create a different rhythm with the setting of the stones,” the Maison Chanel said. “The metal setting disappears so the quilted motif can emerge with the interplay of different cuts of stones catching the light.”
The “Signature Duo” watch, set with 668 brilliant-cut diamonds (13.5 carats) is completely articulated, a technical prowess that allows the bracelet to hug the wrist softly like a strand of silk ribbon.“The Signature Duo watch was inspired by a 1932 bracelet that was mounted on a spiral spring and wrapped around like a ribbon,” the Maison Chanel explained. “There is no clasp here, the piece is mounted on spring, because the philosophy of Gabrielle Chanel was that jewels mustn’t confine the woman.”
Beyond pure geometry, the color palette of the collection limited to white, blue and grey from diamonds, pearls, mother of pearl and Sri Lankan sapphires, contributes to its graphic impact and identity.
“We rarely show our clocks because they are quickly acquired by collectors,” said the Maison. Still, this year, the presentation included the “Signature de Nacre” clock in white gold set with 789 brilliant-cut diamonds (38.5 carats) and carved mother-of-pearl on a pivoting dial. “Grey mother-of-pearl is rarely seen in our collections,” added the Maison. “There are probably two artisans left in all of France who are able to carve mother-of-pearl to give it a matelassé effect that is harmonious both in color and shape.”
Finally, the “Signature White Tie” bespoke watch in white gold set with 301 brilliant-cut diamonds (7.7 carats) and carved mother-of-pearl completes the collection of watches. “Elegance is in the line,” Mademoiselle Chanel was quoted as saying, suggesting that the simple line is what gives allure to a woman’s silhouette. Here, the lines are shaped in curves and volumes, adding precious sensuality to a geometric elegance.
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