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Stitch in Time: CHANEL’s new Haute Horlogerie collection

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A pincushion and a sharp pair of scissors are indispensable tools of any seamstress’s trade, and that was also the case for couture visionary Gabrielle Chanel. As she worked at her rue Cambon ateliers, the scissors suspended from a ribbon around her neck were ubiquitous, along with the pincushion she wore, cuff-like, on her wrist.

Arnaud Chastaingt, director of the CHANEL Watchmaking Creation Studio.

It was these humble tools that Arnaud Chastaingt, director of the CHANEL Watchmaking Creation Studio, turned to as inspiration for Mademoiselle Privé Pique-Aiguilles: a collection of five exquisite watches that take their cue from the world of couture.


“I’ve always been fascinated by objects whose structure is the product of a practical need,” Chastaingt says.


chanel-watch--5His Mademoiselle Privé Pique-Aiguilles watch references an essential dressmaking accoutrement: a metal cuff worn on the wrists of seamstresses to hold a dome-shaped cushion, thus enabling them to keep pins easily at hand. “The large surface of the cushion and the random patterns of the needles that punctuate it make it an ideal space for expression, like a vast, circular blank canvas,” Chastaingt says.


Five design styles have been imagined for the collection: a watch that captures the delicate lacework of camellias, a composition of iconic CHANEL bags, a dial evoking black tweed strewn with jewels, a pattern of embroidered diamonds, and the crafting of a jacket at the pattern stage.


More than a beautiful accessory, each Mademoiselle Privé Pique-Aiguilles watch is a wearable story, weaving together CHANEL’s inimitable touch with the art of fine watchmaking. “In the end, whether in haute couture or haute horlogerie, the magic is the same!” Chastaingt says.

This story is from Magnifissance Issue 120

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