Chanel MONSIEUR. SUPERLEGGERA EDITION WATCHJune 8, 2023
Paris-based Chanel watches has just debuted a new version of their high-end men’s Monsieur watch collection. The new piece is the first novel Monsieur wrist watch in at least a few years and is known as the Chanel Monsieur Superleggera Edition watch. This “super light” model is the first Monsieur piece to be sporty in theme and is among the less common Monsieur watches in ceramic (most of the version are in either gold or platinum). The first Chanel Superleggera was part of the J12 Chronograph collection (originally introduced in 2005) and included a ceramic and aluminum case. For the Monsieur Superleggera Chanel focuses more on sporty style (as opposed to light weight construction) and solid materials by using matte black ceramic and steel for the case construction.
I was the first person to debut the original Chanel Monsieur Superleggera Edition watch back in 2016 here when Chanel first introduced it in precious metal. The piece debuted with a price around $40,000 and has had jewelry versions produced which cost more than $100,000. That makes this type of product a little bit different from your standard luxury fashion house timepiece. What makes the Monsieur the most special for watch hobbyists is the movement inside of it. Produced for Chanel by Romain Gauthier (of the R. Gauthier watch brand), the movement (known as the Chanel Calibre 1) is a beautiful manually-wound mechanical mechanism which combines a jumping hour display (at 6 o’clock) with a 270 degree retrograde minute indicator (and traditional subsidiary seconds dial). The entire point is to be visually stunning while also offering a movement worthy of even the most seasoned connoisseurs. The movement operates at 4Hz with 72 hours of power reserve and features a combination of modern lines with traditional watchmaking craftsmanship and hand-decoration.
Chanel created the Monsieur Superleggera Edition dial to be unlike most other Monsieur models – even if the dial information layout is the same. Not as classic as other Monsieur versions, this model’s face is partially skeletonized on the periphery with a view of some of the hour indicator disc, as well as some new textures and automotive instrument panel-inspired visuals. The matte black ceramic middle case (steel bezel, crown, and caseback) is 42mm wide, sandwiched with sapphire crystal over the dial and movement. Attached to the case is what I imagine to be an excellent strap produced from black calfskin leather and black nylon (with bright red inner-lining). With the Monsieur Superleggera, Chanel really went for a strong masculine look that is nevertheless as refined as something you’d expect from the famed French house of fashion.
Chanel Monsieur Superleggera Edition watch mentions that there is guilloche machine engraving work on the dial – for the black textured sections. Most of the time such components would be stamped to shape, but here Chanel prefers the more traditional (and arguably more precise) guilloche machine engraving process to create these dial components. Doing this is less about visual style (since the desire textured effect can be achieved in a few ways) and more about Chanel doing its part to connect this – and other Monsieur watches – to the world of haute horology where materials and techniques are as important as aesthetics and style. Chanel has a slew of “watch enthusiast grade” products, and they have good reason to especially want their more elevated products to sit on par with complicated products from the more boutique or traditional names in mechanical watchmaking. Chanel can claim (for example) that in addition to their Monsieur Superleggera watch, companies like Breguet also feature the rarefied art of guilloche rose engine engraving.
In my opinion, the Chanel Monsieur Superleggera Edition watch is as beautiful as it is handsome, and exactly the type of male-focused produced I like to see from the Chanel brand. Less than a month ago I focused on another excellent Chanel men’s watch with the no longer made Chanel J12 H3131 here. I easily anticipate plenty of people of men who can’t get into the Chanel brand because they primarily associate it as being for women, or who take issue with the busy nature of the dial. Nevertheless given the exclusive nature of this low-production timepiece and the strong global brand following that Chanel enjoys around the world, I fully see the Monsieur Superleggera being a success and look forward to trying one on my wrist.