Designed to portray the life of Gabrielle Chanel, the latest jewellery watch from the workbenches of Mademoiselle Privé carries an air of sophistication and elegance, all the while paying avid attention to even the most minute of details. The work of master artisans — enamellers, engravers, carvers and stone-setters — the Mademoiselle Privé Coromandel 'Flying Birds' timepiece is a study of intricate beauty. Here's what you need to know about the collection:
Chanel's love for exotic orientalism is exhibited all around her house with Coromandel panels — a screen with origins from ancient China — covering the walls of her Rue Cambon apartment. A miniature jewelry birdcage was also found on her coffee table. This love of hers has been replicated in these horological specimens, with the unique and exclusive pieces of the "Coromandel Collection" portraying the decorative patterns of Coromandel panels, along with flying birds in sculpted gold.
Enamel and sculpted gold meet for the first time on the onyx dials; the various layers of painting being applied in a black enamel base and then fired before the branches, leaves and flowers are then sublimated with 18 carat beige gold (a Chanel creation) which brings light to the scene. The gold is shaped, engraved and oxidized to provide a lifelike appearance to the motives. For an added touch, the dial comes alive with the birds "flying" according to wrist movements, similar to the 'tremblant' technique that was used in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The miniatures in sculpted gold go through a long and delicate process to ensure precision and perfection. First, the beige gold branch is cut with a jeweler's tool before being shaped and etched to imitate the designs of its bark. Next, the motif is completed by beige gold guilloché leaves and mother-of-pearl camellias (another of Chanel's iconic symbols). Only then are the birds fixed on very tiny trembler springs that give more complexity to the timepiece to allow for the vibration of the bird on the dial. A total of 3 weeks is needed to engrave the elements, fix the bird and test the bird trembler spring on each dial.
The Chanel Mademoiselle Privé Coromandel 'Flying Birds' jewellery timepiece is powered by a quartz movement housed within an 18 carat beige gold case set with diamonds, and finished with a black alligator leather strap featuring a folding buckle set with 80-brilliant cut diamonds (~ 0.49 carats). Injected with a personal touch from Coco Chanel's life, haute horology has never been so très chic.