Nicolas Beau, International Business Development Watch & Fine Jewelry Director at Chanel, talks about the latest creations, endeavours and brand growth
Mr Beau, which new collections or movements have you been launching this year?
Nicolas Beau: This year we have been celebrating at Baselworld the international reveal of a new version of our iconic J12, which, 19 years after its creation, has been redesigned by Arnaud Chastaingt, our Watchmaking Creation Studio Director, and equipped with a new automatic movement, the Calibre 12.1 manufactured by Kenissi, a Swiss manufacture in which Chanel recently acquired a stake. And of course Baselworld was once again an opportunity to showcase our savoir-faire in proposing new creations: Beige gold and leather oversize cuff versions for Code Coco, which was created in 2017; new mini-size version for our timeless icon created in 1987, the Première watch; for Boy.Friend a very couture-centred allure thanks to straps made of tweed, the emblematic motif of the House and an ultra-contemporary interpretation with a graphic tweed effect on the dial served by the grand feu enamel technique; and, last but not least, The Edition Noire a totally black and limited edition of the Première, the Monsieur de Chanel, the J12 and the Boy.Friend.
Are you increasing your attention to men’s watches?
We’re delighted to observe the real passion that high watch-making creations like the Monsieur de Chanel watch have met with since their presentation at Basel in 2016. And that’s why in 2019, we are happy to enrich the Monsieur de Chanel Collection with a Black Limited Edition of 55 pieces with a case in black high-resistance ceramic.
Do you have any new ceramic colours or materials this year?
J12 will definitely remain iconic, staying true to its origin with the black and white high-resistance ceramic, a pure integration of savoir-faire at Chanel since the creation of the watch in 2000. The Première collection is back in its original colours: the black and yellow gold. The Boy.Friend collection is enriched with new tweed designs through three interpretations of the emblematic House motif. [And, we have] Édition Noire, an exclusive collection highlighting the Première, Boy.Friend, Monsieur de Chanel and J12 watches, which dresses them in an intense black, one of Mademoiselle Chanel’s favourite colours.
What else can you share with us about the direction at Chanel?
After more than 30 years of watchmaking, Chanel set itself the mission of exploring all the facets of beautiful watchmaking. From ultra-feminine precious watchmaking with the Première watch to the feminine and masculine Fine Watchmaking with the Première Flying Tourbillon and the J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse respectively, passing by the more day-to-day watches such as the black or white J12 classics. Our in-house calibres express our vision of Fine Watchmaking, with technology at the service of aesthetics. They have a unique look, with their black aesthetic, their design and their specific finishes.
The Calibre 1 was designed according to new guidelines with circular bridges that echo the shapes of the wheels. The Calibre 2 takes the perfect form of a camellia: the movement was conceived out of respect for the geography of the flower. The wheels are thus arranged behind the petals to disappear in the background.
The Calibre 3 is a skeleton dedicated to the Boy.Friend watch. Architecturally, the relief and the design of the intensely black movement are emphasised by beige gold beveling. Our stake in the new Swiss manufacture Kenissi now allows us to play a role in the design and making of automatic movements in larger series and of greater quality. Our priority is to reinforce our position as an independent and major player in prestigious watchmaking.
CHANEL’s watchmaking creations highlight the savoir-faire and creativity of the House. Both contemporary and timeless, every CHANEL collection – J12, Première, BOY•FRIEND, Mademoiselle Privé, MONSIEUR DE CHANEL and CODE COCO – conveys a unique Allure and expresses a unique vision of time. Made in Switzerland in CHANEL’s La Chaux-de-Fonds workshop, the timepieces are sold worldwide in the CHANEL boutiques and in a very selective distribution network.