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Chanel Red Edition Collection: Uncompromising Elegance

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Chanel delivers a new J12 X-Ray Red Edition Rouge, and two Boy.Friend watches, all united by a bold colour and exceptional clarity.

By Ashok Soman

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J12 X-Ray Red Edition Rouge
Image: Chanel
 

Red may well be the next colour to take the world of watchmaking by storm, and Chanel has gotten a bit of a head start with the Red Edition Collection, comprising two Boy.Friend watches and a new iteration of one of our favourite watches, the J12 X-Ray. We have written previously quite extensively on the J12 X-Ray, noting the watchmaking links between the Calibre 3.1 that powers it and the Calibre 3 hard at work in the Boy.Friend. Presented together in a single serving, as the Red Edition Collection is, one can clearly see what we meant. Yes, the pun is intended.

While it is tempting to cast the Chanel Red Edition collection as a Chinese New Year offering, the timing must be purely coincidental. You may recall that Chanel went all-in on big colours last year with the J12 Electro Rainbow, although that was purely about the J12. In any case, red is an important colour for Chanel, when used as an accent. Chanel reminds of this with the following quote attributed to Gabriel Chanel: “If you’re sad or heartbroken, make yourself up, dress up, add more lipstick and attack.”

Chanel The Boy.Friend Skeleton Red Edition
Image: Chanel

In the J12 X-Ray Red Edition Rouge, the absolute clarity of the sapphire crystal case and bracelet gets dressed up by 46 baguette-cut rubies set on the 18k white gold bezel. There are also 12 baguette-cut rubies set on the sapphire dial, and 34 baguette-cut rubies on two of the sapphire crystal bracelet links. A diamond set into the crown completes this brilliant picture. 

The two Boy.Friend watches add a touch of red to the movement, which Chanel has not provided information on but we assume is some sort of coating. The Boy.Friend Skeleton X-Ray Red Edition follows in the transparent style of the J12 X-Ray Red Edition Rouge, with sapphire crystal case and bezel; the strap is red calfskin with alligator patterns. The crown is executed in the manufacture’s proprietary 18k beige gold (beige being another one of Chanel’s signatures), and so is the triple-folding clasp.

The Boy.Friend Skeleton Red Edition brings more 18k beige gold to the party, with case, bezel, crown and folding clasp in the precious material. The strap is in the same material as the other Boy.Friend watch. The crown in both Boy.Friend watches feature five baguette-cut rubies, marking the final splashes of red in the collection. 

Arnaud Chastaingt, Director of the Chanel Watchmaking Creation Studio, explained the use of red as follows: “As a stylistic device, I have used it (red) on three Haute Horlogerie creations. I like the boldness of a movement made up in red, the sensuality of the marriage of beige gold and rubies, the authority of a glossy red strap against a wrist. There is nothing faint-hearted about red! It has an uncompromising elegance.“

Also uncompromising here is the scarcity, with everything strictly limited. The J12 X-Ray Red Edition Rouge is numbered and limited to 12 pieces. The Boy.Friend Skeleton Red Edition is limited to 55 pieces, and the Boy.Friend Skeleton X-Ray Red Edition is limited to 100 pieces.  

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