chanel chocolat

The Chocolat by Chanel: sinfully glutton

While attending a press conference in Geneva, an adorable Chanel timepiece caught my eye. Its polished squares in the shape of chocolate slabs were captivating. Flashback...

By Joel Grandjean

This year, Chanel was the talk of the watchmaking world with the introduction of the Monsieur de Chanel, its first watch dedicated to men. For the occasion, the brand also presented an in-house caliber true to its name that was developed after several years of extensive research and development at Chatelain (La Chaux-de-Fonds), a workshop owned by Chanel. And yet, I was nostalgically drawn to the fleeting vision of a model equipped with a digital liquid crystal display that is today deliciously outdated. As the saying goes, the heart has its reasons.

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A journey with the seven deadly sins

Back when the late Jacques Helleu was in charge of Chanel design and was the supreme guardian of the brand's aesthetic codes, this watch would not have so easily been overshadowed by the supremacy of the J12 whose white and black ceramic has become a fashion emblem in Swiss watchmaking.

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The watch had all the appeal needed at the time it was revealed. First of all, it had been the first - and maybe the last - digital watch ever launched by Chanel. It also had a ceramic version that was seen as avant-garde at the time because of its high tech features.

Back then, giving in to luxurious temptations did not happen as often as today. On the contrary, those who entertained such thoughts felt guilty. And so, the Chocolat, a much sought-after piece that falls under the deadly sin of gluttony due to its reinterpreted "Matelassé" motif and its melty polished links with sweet curves, was an invitation to the other six deadly sins - sloth, lust, wrath, pride, envy and greed.

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In face of such temptation, the Chocolat by Chanel was made in different versions of the deviances. The first was an 18K white gold piece subtly set with 240 diamonds of a total weight of 3.70 carats. The second was an 18K yellow gold piece entirely set with diamonds. And the third came in a ceramic high tech piece or a steel or diamond-set steel piece that was more accessible but no less appealing.

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These versions all featured timeless-like hyphens, the short digital lines on display that are the common denominator of each version which also display time in analogue through sapphire glass cut in a way to perpetuate the iconic "Matelassé" motif, in all transparency. Those watchmaking chocolatey antidepressants are to die for. Yum...!

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