Last year, Chanel released their first watch with a proprietary movement, the Monsieur de Chanel, in a 40 mm diameter 18K white or so-called “beige” gold case, with ivory opaline dials, and retrograde minutes and jumping hours displays.
The timepiece is a departure from previous Chanel watches because it is both aesthetically different and technically more complicated than past Chanel watches which were strictly luxury fashion watches up until Baselworld 2016 when the original watch debuted.
The movement, Chanel caliber 1, was developed mostly in-house, according to Chanel, although it is known that they also used high-end watchmaker Romain Gauthier was contracted to develop some of the components.
The manually wound caliber has 30 jewels and a power reserve of 72-hours. The balance wheel bridge is connected at two points which are more robust and will make the watch more resistant to shocks. The black treatment of the bridges, with alternating frosted and brushed finishes, looks pretty good, although the bridges are not beveled and polished which I think would really add to the luxuriousness of the movement, and better justify the price.
This year, ahead of Baselworld 2017, Chanel will be releasing a special edition of the Monsieur de Chanel in a platinum case, with a black “grand feu” enamel dial.
The special edition will be limited to 100 pieces and will retail for $63,000. That is quite a sum, especially when you consider the original models retail for $34,500 (beige gold) and $36,000 (white gold). A grand feu dial and platinum case should not almost double the price, but I guess the watch is limited enough where Chanel thinks they can sell them priced like that.
Chanel did a great job with the Monsieur de Chanel and its Caliber 1 movement, and the retrograde minutes display with a full 240° arc is impressive. However, I am baffled by the steep price increase over what is essentially the same watch as what was introduced last year with a new dial and platinum case that should be only marginally more expensive to produce.