While Chanel started the year with the J12 in rainbow colours inspired by electronic dance music, its latest is sleek and stark in black and white. The Monsieur Marble Edition is a variation of the Monsieur Edition Noire from 2019, retaining the same steel and ceramic case – and the in-house Caliber 1 movement – but matched with a dial in glossy black marble with white veining.
I liked the original Monsieur de Chanel when it was launched in 2016. Even though Chanel is a primarily fashion house, the Monsieur was proof it made excellent watches for men. Its design was thoughtful, and the movement attractively executed in both style and construction.
The subsequent Monsieur in black ceramic had all the same qualities, but an monochromatic look that made it more appealing. And the new version is even more appealing, because the marble dial looks good.
Even though the only change is the marble dial, its natural grain goes well with the design of the Monsieur, so the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Price wise, however, the new Monsieur is harder to digest. At just under US$37,000, it costs almost US$10,000 more than the original version in ceramic, which was a reasonable-enough proposition considering the design and movement. The Marble Edition is unquestionably beautiful – I’d want one – but the price is steep.
Black and white
Each dial is made of one piece of marble carefully cut into three to form each section of the dial, allowing the grain of the marble to continue across the dial from minute track to recesssed seconds. According to Chanel, each of the 55 pieces of marble used for the dials were individually selected for their “unique character and graphic”.
The dial layout preserves the symmetry of the original Monsieur, and also the numerals in a custom font designed specifically for the model. Also notable is the retrograde minutes, which sits on a 270-degree scale, instead of the narrow scale of under 180 degrees found on most retrograde displays.
The case remains identical to the original Monsieur in black ceramic. It’s actually a steel frame with external components made of ceramic, so the bezel is steel with a ceramic inlay on top, and the steel inner case is secured to a ceramic outer case that also incorporates the lugs.
Inside the Caliber 1, an attractive movement that is Chanel’s first in-house calibre. Designed with Chanel’s typical sharp eye for detail, the movement is laid out in a series of circles in varying sizes, with both the barrel and balance bridges echoing the circular motif.
But it’s more than just a snazzy design, the Caliber 1 features twin barrels and a free-sprung balance. More importantly, the time display mechanism is integrated into the base calibre, instead of being a module, which helps explain the thinness of the watch.
Key facts and price
Chanel Monsieur Marble Edition
Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 10.85 mm
Material: Steel covered in ceramic
Water resistance: 30 m
Dial: Black marble with white veining
Movement: Caliber 1
Functions: Jumping hours, retrograde minutes, and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours
Strap: Alligator-patterned calfskin with folding clasp
Limited edition: 55 pieces
Availability: From boutiques starting July 2021
Price: US$36,700, or 53,800 Singapore dollars
For more, visit Chanel.com.
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