I wouldn’t call myself a watch person. I lust after timeless (yes, bad pun intended), chic yet discreet luxury timepieces like the century-strong Cartier Tank and Rolex Cellini, but by and large, I’m happy with my eight-year-old, $25 Casio bracelet watch because it does the one thing that I want my watch to do: tell time without the need for an instruction manual. I still get nervous at watch events where the pros use terms like “moon-phase” and “chiming function” (see point 3 in link) as casually as fashion people do terms like “disrupt” and “yaaas”. But with the new Chanel watch, the Code Coco, disrupting how watches are designed and worn, I’m totally yaaas-ing over it and seriously thinking of getting one – and I’m not alone.
Mucking around with Bagaholicboy’s Chanel Code Coco watch during Paris Fashion Week
At its press preview during Paris Fashion Week in September, I spied it on the wrist of our favourite bag blogger Bagaholicboy and pried it off thinking it was on loan to him, only to be told flatly that it was in fact his. He had liked it so much when he saw it at the brand’s Rue Cambon store that he immediately bought one. I’ve had people like the perennially best dressed Charmaine Seah-Ong – co-founder of branding agency Elementary Co. and a member of the Female Collective – message with interest after seeing our Instagram post on it. (To Charme’s husband Derek, now you know what you need to do come Christmas.)
The Chanel Code Coco watch calls for a close-up and here’s why
So just what about the Chanel Code Coco makes it so desirable that even non-watch geeks geek out over it? If you ask me, it’s a matter of its out-of-the-box design that also happens to look the way an all-purpose watch should: chic, elegant and discreet while still being able to punctuate/complete an outfit.
For starters, it’s a bracelet-style watch that’s just over 2cm-wide throughout and etched with cool checks inspired by the famous quilted motif of the 2.55 handbag, so it doubles as a modern looking, mid-sized cuff. The metal is so supple that the watch lays entirely flat when not worn – a pretty impressive technical feat. That it debuts in steel also means that it’s not too expensive a timepiece-meets-jewellery: the one with a plain bezel costs $7,500 while the one with a full diamond bezel goes for $13,800. Already in at the brand’s Watches & Fine Jewellery boutique at Ngee Ann City, both feature a single brilliant-cut diamond on the dial – not bad for $7,500 no?
The Chanel Code Coco watch with a full diamond bezel
But here’s the part that I find really clever: the clasp – designed to mimic that on the 2.55 handbag – sits across the dial. If you’re scratching your head over how that exactly works, refer to the image above and read my instructions below (and no, you won’t need them when you get the watch – it’s pretty intuitive once you’ve got it in hand):
1. Unlike most watches, it wraps round from the underside of your wrist.
2. A cut-out on one end of the strap is meant to overlap the other end, where the dial sits. Click it close and the latter will peek through perfectly.
3. Now you’ve got the 2.55-esque clasp blocking the dial. It’s meant to – just like when you leave the clasp of your 2.55 handbag open. Twist it, and you’re all ready to tell time (unless, uhm, you’re the sort who needs indexes, to which, I’d recommend these handsome, classic timepieces instead).
And that’s really as complicated as the watch gets.
If you need more convincing of the Code Coco’s design genius, it also seems to suit a whole suite of personalities and styles, as the gallery of celebrities who attended its launch party or are part of its branding exercise below ought to attest. (G-Dragon! Liu Wen! Click already!) I know they were probably seeded with the watch, but you cannot deny that it somehow seems to work on every one of them.
Now, anybody care to get me something from Christmas?
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