Relaunched Chanel Première watch draws on classic design codes

This year’s updated Chanel Première watch sees Arnaud Chastaingt rethink traditional references

Gold Chanel Première watch 2022
The Chanel Première watch, left; and right, the original campaign in Le Journal d'Une Montre, 1987
(Image credit: Chanel)

‘In 2022, I wanted the Première to be definitely timeless,’ says director of the Chanel Watchmaking Creation Studio, Arnaud Chastaingt. ‘I wanted to preserve the spirit and aesthetic of the original Première.’ First appearing in 1987 and conceived by Chanel artistic director Jacques Helleu, the Chanel Première marked the house’s first venture into watchmaking, reflecting the classic codes of the house with its octagonal shape and interlaced leather and chain strap.

‘We instantly recognise all the codes of the house, with its black lacquer dial and gold octagonal case inspired by the stopper of the No.5 perfume bottle and the outline of Place Vendôme,’ Chastaingt adds. ‘I chose a slightly softer and more luminous shade of gold to perfectly match the gold-colour chain of the house’s iconic bag. I wanted Première to remain true to itself: resolutely in tune with the times.’

Chanel Première: ‘a lesson in style’

gold Chanel watch

(Image credit: Chanel)

The updated design stays faithful to the original spirit of the watch, which was created especially for women, its feminine bracelet design making an elegant foil for the minimalism of the dial, which eschews numerals and indices. Helleu was keen to make a simple and strong statement with the original design: ‘I fought to make a design that was strong, that was unique, that – more than just launching a single collection – would become an eternal reference,’ he commented at the time.

‘This creation is our DNA and a Chanel code through and through,’ Chastaingt adds. ‘Far more than a watch, the Première is a lesson in style.’ 

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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.