Essentially a dressed-up version of the Monsieur in black ceramic, the Monsieur Superleggera Edition takes inspiration from the J12 Superleggera, a chronograph named after the ultra-light racing cars of the mid-20th century.
Like the J12, the Monsieur Superleggera has an obvious automotive theme in its design, with its time display redesigned to resemble a speedometer.
I’m a fan of the Monsieur de Chanel in its earlier iterations, including the original model in “beige” gold and more recent version in ceramic and marble. They were all clean, stylish, and mostly monochromatic – and equipped with a sophisticated, attractive movement.
The Superleggera Edition has the same movement, but the style is the opposite. It has a techno-automotive style that tries a bit too hard for my tastes.
While the texturing and scales have a clear automotive inspiration, they don’t add much to the visual appeal of the watch. Ironically, the inspiration for the new Monsieur, the J12 Superleggera of 2005, actually looks more streamlined, despite being a chronograph.
Still, the Monsieur Superleggera probably like a fancy bodykit for a car – it’ll divide opinions. Anyone who finds the plainer Monsieur boring would applaud this.
Italian for “super light”, Superleggera was an Italian coachbuilder that specialised in lightweight automobile bodies comprising a tubular steel frame cover in thin, aluminium-alloy panels. Perhaps the most famous automobile with a Superleggera coachwork is the Aston Martin DB5 of James Bond fame.
Now the phrase is sometimes used for lightweight race cars, and also automobile-inspired products. The Monsieur Superleggera more or less lives up to its billing in tactile feel – the Monsieur in ceramic is a large but lightweight watch – but also in construction, since the case is actually a steel frame clad in black ceramic.
The case is identical to that on the standard model, but the dial is entirely new. It’s a multi-part affair, with large frames for each indicator, while the recessed surfaces are finished with a hobnail guilloche coated in glossy black nickel. On either side of the minute scale is an open-worked panel that reveals a little of the movement’s base plate.
The back reveals the best thing about the watch, the Calibre 1. It’s a large, hand-wind movement with an unusual display – 240-degree retrograde minutes and jump hour – and refined construction. The time display is integrated into the base plate, while the rear has an open-worked layout with all of the key components arranged in a circle.
Key facts and price
Chanel Monsieur Superleggera Edition
Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 10.85 mm
Material: Steel covered in ceramic
Water resistance: 30 m
Movement: Caliber 1
Functions: Jumping hours, retrograde minutes, and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours
Strap: Nylon strap lined in red calfskin with folding clasp
Limited edition: No
Availability: From boutiques starting September 2021
Price: US$40,750, or 57,800 Singapore dollars
For more, visit Chanel.com.
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