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Chanel has given male watches a makeover for the era of equality

Time’s up

Chanel has given male watches a makeover for the era of equality. Jack Forster listens out

Chanel has given male watches a makeover for the era of equality. Jack Forster listens out

Jack Forster | November 16th 2018

The Chanel Boy.Friend, an androgynous watch aimed at women, was first introduced in 2015. The name evokes its look, which nods to male dress watches from the mid-20th century. It also recalls one of Coco Chanel’s famous lovers: a British polo player named Captain Arthur Edward “Boy” Capel with whom she had a liaison for over a decade.

The Boy.Friend is a Chanel piece to the core. Most fashion brands, and even many watchmakers, now buy their movements from other factories, but this one was developed by Chanel’s own team. That explains the price tag of $40,600. Developing a movement, particularly for a single watch model, is far more expensive than relying on a generic one. But in choosing to do so, Chanel has designed a wristwatch whose movement is an integral part of the overall aesthetic – the “skeleton” version has its mechanism open to view. The nested circles of the movement contrast with the geometry of the rectangular case: beautiful from the inside out.