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Even though Chanel’s main focus is on fashion, you can’t deny that the house has produced some of the watch world’s most recognizable and desirable timepieces—probably because of the way the design of these watches reflects the history of the celebrated maison.
Take, for example, the octagonal case of the classic Première, launched in 1987, which reflects the shape of the stopper on a bottle of Chanel N°5 perfume. Or the way the crisp, white ceramic materials of the J12 (introduced in 2000) conjures up images of the sporty Coco Chanel herself, standing on the deck of a yacht.
Chanel’s latest piece of arm candy carries on in this grand tradition. Called Code Coco, the design of this haute jewelry/horology hybrid is inspired by another design detail — the clasp of the iconic Chanel 2.55 bag.
Created in February 1955, the luxurious leather 2.55 purse was closed with a front lock called “the Mademoiselle Lock.” There are all kinds of romantic anecdotes about the importance of this piece of hardware: That Mademoiselle Coco stashed letters from her lovers inside the bag or that it’s an obscure reference to the fact that Chanel never married.
The Code Coco watch also has an aura of mystery. At first glance, it looks like a bright, shiny bangle. The bracelet features a geometric grid pattern (another nod to the quilted leather of the 2.55), and the jet black, rectangular dial is set into the strap like a gemstone, partially concealed by a metal bar shaped like the 2.55’s clasp that clicks open to reveal a sparkling diamond and the hour and minute hands.
The Code Coco—launched during Spring/Summer 2018 Fashion Week in Paris—may have its roots in tradition, but it is a thoroughly modern timepiece. The 38.1 mm by 21.5 mm face is a flattering size, and the case is streamlined so it sits on the wrist like a loose bangle, making it perfect for stacking with other bracelets (although it's also a stunning standalone piece).
The timepiece comes with two bezel options: stainless steel or studded with 52 brilliant-cut diamonds. Both dials are black-lacquered and set with an additional 0.05-carat, princess-cut diamond. The Code Coco is powered by a practical and high precision quartz movement and is water resistant to 30 meters.
The Chanel Code Coco starts at $5,000 for the single diamond version and $9,100 for the diamond-set bezel. If you really want to sparkle, there’s a limited-to-five-pieces edition made of white gold and totally encrusted in diamonds available for a cool $956,000. Available now at chanel.com.