Boundary-breaking Chanel watch is tweaked for a new generation

The Boy.Friend Skeleton appeals to both men and women with its distinctive octagonal silhouette

Chanel's Boy Friend Skeleton watch
(Image credit: Josh David Payne)

Chanel’s first venture into watchmaking more than three decades ago marked a timely new direction for the fashion house. Its ‘Boy.Friend Skeleton’ watch – first introduced in 2015 and recently rethought to appeal to both women and men of a new generation – builds on its illustrious history, intertwining the threads of couture and technical accomplishment, and imbuing the brand’s timeless archive with horological expertise.

Gabrielle Chanel was fascinated with traditionally male embellishments and she often assimilated them into her clothing, breathing seductive new life into tweed and jersey. The ‘Boy.Friend Skeleton’ also plays with established design codes, translating a typically masculine case architecture into a chic watch for women.

Instead of the conventional softened silhouettes, a distinctive octagonal shape looks back to the brand’s first foray into watchmaking, redrawing the lines of its 1987 ‘Première’ watch, which itself was originally inspired by the angles of the Chanel No. 5 perfume bottle stopper. Nodding to the original, it puts the hypnotic, vertically-aligned circles of the in-house black-coated mechanical movement at its heart, juxtaposing its curving form against a sharp edging of baguette-cut diamonds.


This article originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of Wallpaper* (W*263) (opens in new tab)

Hannah Silver joined Wallpaper* in 2019 to work on watches and jewellery. Now, as well as her role as watches and jewellery editor, she writes widely across all areas including on art, architecture, fashion and design. As well as offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, Hannah is interested in the quirks of what makes for a digital success story.

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