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Chanel's Watch That Switches to a Bracelet

By Caroline Suganda


Amongst the shows and after parties of the last Par- is Fashion Week, some of fashion’s crème de la crème gathered to celebrate the launch of a new watch.

What’s so special about it? Its fastening doesn’t involve any leather strap, deployant clasp, or link bracelet, but an iconic handbag clasp borrowed from fashion. While a timepiece masquearading as a piece of jewellery is not new, this number comes with, literally, a twist of fashion.

"The Chanel woman doesn't conform to any standards. She's not afraid to be herself." - Lucia Pica, Chanel's Global Creative Designer for makeup and colour.

And who is she? She is Chanel’s Code Coco, so named because of the three different codes of the house that have inspired the design of this watch. According to a credible watch blog, A Blog to Watch, this latest timepiece is “admirable in the sense that it rep- resents the French brand’s unwillingness to abandon its roots as a couture fashion house for the sake of watchmaking snobbery.”

The first code is an iconic piece of hardware, the Mademoiselle lock, which is the watch’s clasp. The lock, often found on the French brand’s Classic 2.55 handbag, is a design that has never been altered since its birth in 1955.

"The Code Coco is far more than jewellery and far more than a watch." - Stella Tennant, Scottish model.

The black lacquer dial, which houses a quartz movement, is divided into two equal segments by a metal bar. On the lower half is a petite dial with simple hour and minutes hands, sans number or markers. On the upper half is the second code: a 0.05-carat princess-cut diamond, Gabrielle Chanel’s favourite cut of diamonds.

The interesting thing about this watch is that, the dial itself is the clasp. Twist it and the single square diamond and watch hands will disappear, hidden behind the clasp. At this point, the watch is still safely secured on the wrist; it’s an alternative way to wear the watch purely as a bracelet. To fully unbuckle the watch, gently push the bottom part of the dial to release the catch.

"The Chanel woman is a woman who assumes her identity and this is what makes her modern." - Kim Young-Seong, Chanel's Artistic Director textiles and ready-to-wear of the fashion studio.

As the watch is released from the wrist, it becomes even more apparent that its shape is far from a typical watch: a long, rectangular watch dial at one end, and a corresponding cut-out to match on the other. Connecting these two fastening systems is a malleable, stainless steel body of square grids reminiscent of the house’s quilting known as matelassé — this is the third code.

The unexpected design of Code Coco may feel a little unfamiliar, but the rebel spirit and design language of the timepiece is quintessentially Chanel. While the watch is an obvious female magnet, my first friend who bought the Code Coco turns out be a guy. He was told by the staff at Chanel boutique in Paris (where he purchased the watch during Paris Fashion Week) that he is their first male customer to acquire this watch. He said that the watch, which he stacked among other bracelets, is actually “a joy to wear.”

"At Chanel, we play freely with the codes of the house. One code always leads us to another." - Virgine Viard, Chanel's fashion studio Director.

Taking a closer look, and having it resized to fit my wrist, this bracelet-watch proves to be the answer for someone who is high on the arm party, but not used to wearing a watch. 

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