Art & Timewear



Watchmaking and fashion


Although appreciating technical aspects, women still want style. Haute couture draws on its knowhow while watchmakers take inspiration from the catwalks.


The fashion houses have understood perfectly that they need to differentiate themselves from the watch houses. Chanel took up the challenge in 1987 with its now-cult Première watch and has since upped its timewear ante by calling in specialists Renaud & Papi to develop its complications. But never forgetting the codes dear to Mademoiselle Chanel!


Embroidery, marquetry and New Look inspiration
After equipping its Première with a Camellia Flying Tourbillon, Chanel has now given its J12 a Comet Flying Tourbillon calibre. The applied arts being an integral part of haute couture, the Mademoiselle Privée line showcases the expertise of such ateliers. Lesage, which embroiders Chanel's dresses, has decorated a dial with a camellia in silk thread, and for 2014 Coco Chanel's favourite flower has been reinvented using the maki-e technique: a floral motif created in yellow-gold grains on a black lacquer ground. Dior's big horological success is its inverted rotor weight, which being visible on the dial is ideal for showcasing the house spirit. After feathers and fishnet, the Dior Grand Soir N° 27 Origami dresses up in mother-of-pearl marquetry set with spinels. Retro lovers won't resist the steel and mother-of-pearl watch inspired by the Bar suit and named Dior VIII Montaigne for the street where the fashion house first opened in 1946. "Everything goes with grey, so it's the recommended colour for accessories," said Christian Dior.


Synchronised with the season's clothes
Every house has its icon. At Burberry the every-fashionable trench coat has inspired a watch:
the Britain Limited Edition Trench Ceramic designed by creative director Christopher Bailey, which appropriates the brand's raincoat vocabulary from sandy colour to the shape of the crown. Fashion may not be their first craft but the watchmakers do respect trends. Light and minimalist, the pared-back design of Richard Mille's RM 07-01 goes marvellously with the all-white look that has taken over the streets. When Prada breathes a touch of street art into its collections, Hublot dresses its ladies-only Big Bang Pop Art in the colours of Andy Warhol's portraits. And at De Grisogono, the Allegra's leather-thong strap offers a selection of lovely colours to match your every look.


Tempt the ladies, that's the watchmakers' goal. And how better than through a beautiful muse? Last autumn Audemars Piguet launched its worldwide advertising campaign aimed at women, with top model Anouck Lepère proclaiming the new slogan: "There are exceptions to every rule." At Chaumet, French actress Marine Vacth, revealed by the film Young & Beautiful, embodies brand values: natural yet sophisticated. She notably showcases an automatic steel watch.