A handful of luxury watch brands such as Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Rolex and Hublot are already immortalised in Hip-Hop lyrics by Jay Z, Gucci Mane and Ayo & Teo but for the rest there’s mounting competition from the likes of Chanel and Louis Vuitton for a place on the wrists of ladies who want more than just pretty things. Add to this the boom in online luxury goods sales and the result is high-end watchmakers are finally waking up to e-commerce.
Compare Instagram numbers of Chanel (29.2-million followers) and Louis Vuitton (26.2-million) with the more popular watch brands like Rolex (8.8-million) and Hublot (3.1-million) to illustrate the point. A recent video post of the new Chanel J12 UNTITLED has almost a quarter of a million views. When they launched the Première Camélia Skeleton with in-house Calibre 2 movement at Baselworld last year it received 324,114 views, while the pretty pink Hublot Spirit of Big Bang moonphase got 18,434. Slightly more niche I agree and some might say comparing apples with oranges. I’m sure you get my point though. Numbers, I concede are not always what they’re cracked up to be. It’s the size of the purse and meaningful engagements that count at the end of the day.
According to Chanel, the exquisitely finished wheels and bridges for the Calibre 1 and Calibre 2 were produced by independent watchmaker Romain Gauthier, whose manufacture is part-owned by Chanel. The Boy.Friend, with its 37mm by 28.6mm octagonal 18K beige-gold case alluding to that of the emblematic Première, was originally revealed in 2015 featuring an ETA 7001 manual-winding movement. This year, the collection is updated with the most refined, manual-winding Calibre 3 skeleton movement with a magnificent interlinked circular bridge designed by Gauthier.
Just as Coco Chanel reinterpreted elements of a gentleman’s wardrobe, the design of the Boy.Friend stays true to the brand DNA. The graphic, black ADLC-coated construction of the Chanel manufacture movement underscores its masculine design elements, which are complemented by a shiny black alligator strap. The estimated retail price is R600,000. For a slightly more feminine touch, the Boy.Friend Skeleton is also available with 66 brilliant-cut diamonds gem-set on its bezel.