News flash: the Premiere, the very first watch by Chanel turns 35. But it’s hard to put an age or decade to it. You see, when the maison ventured into watchmaking in 1987, its then-artistic director Jacques Helleu didn’t set out to create just another timepiece.
Chanel, after all, is the Parisian luxury house that defined chic as equal parts ease and elegance, and liberated how women dressed. So instead of adapting from men’s watches, which was the norm then, he designed it entirely with women in mind.
Left: On right arm: Premiere Original Edition 18K yellow gold-coated steel watch; Coco Crush mini 18K yellow gold ring (top) and matching 18K beige gold ring. On left index finger: Coco Crush 18K beige gold ring with diamonds (top) and Comete Chevron 18K white gold ring with diamonds. All Chanel Watch and Fine Jewellery. Fantasy cotton tweed jacket, cotton pullover and cotton poplin romper, Chanel. Septum ring (worn throughout), model’s own
Right: Premiere Original Edition 18K yellow gold-coated steel watch and Coco Crush 18K yellow gold bracelet, Chanel Watch and Fine Jewellery. Taffeta jumpsuit, Chanel
Premiere Original Edition 18K yellow gold-coated steel watch (on right wrist) and Coco Crush 18K yellow gold bracelet (on left wrist), Chanel Watch and Fine Jewellery. Silk faille top with sequins and silk faille pants, Chanel
Left On right arm: Premiere Original Edition 18K yellow gold-coated steel watch and Coco Crush mini 18K beige gold rings with and without diamonds. On left index finger: Coco Crush mini 18K yellow gold ring. All Chanel Watch and Fine Jewellery. Tweed jacket, cotton-blend blouse and calfskin pants, Chanel
Right: Premiere Original Edition 18K yellow gold-coated steel watch, Chanel Watch and Fine Jewellery. Guipure lace jacket, cotton top, and metal and lambskin choker with resin, Chanel
Its demure yet graphic bevelled octagonal case – inspired by the stopper of the brand’s N°5 perfume bottle – gave it the quality of a piece of jewellery. Its bracelet? The same interwoven leather-and-chain strap synonymous with Chanel’s quilted handbags (its flexibility meant that one could wear it fitted or loose). Its modern finish: an 18K yellow gold coat contrasting a black lacquered dial.
At its heart, this ticker – aptly named the Premiere – was not only about telling time, but also about doing so with plenty of personality and panache. It had no indices, but what it was really meant to be a marker of was bonafide style – and that transcends time.
Clock its revival: the Premiere Original Edition, launched recently to celebrate the watch’s legacy (or, should we say, perennial youthfulness?). The only update made to it is invisible – improved durability – but besides that, it remains what the Premiere has always been intended to be: an elegant, time-telling companion to fashion-forward women.
Photography Stefan Khoo Photography Assistant Alif Videography & Editing Pang Jia Wei Styling Damian Huang Styling Assistant Danessa Tong Hair EC Tan/Kizuki+Lim Makeup Keith Bryant Lee, using Chanel Model Julie/Misc Management
This article is adapted from a story that first appeared in the Nov 2022 Party Edition of FEMALE