Chanel has proclaimed 2022 the year of the ruby, and to celebrate, it’s launching a trio of limited edition watches, all of them set with rubies. The J12 X-Ray Red is lavished with 80 baguette cut rubies. The bezel and crown of the Boy-Friend Skeleton Red Edition is highlighted with rubies, and the crown of the sapphire-cased Boy-Friend Skeleton X-Ray Red Edition is likewise decorated, with the circular bridges of the movement colored red to match. Maison founder Coco Chanel famously loved black and white, and those colors have come to define the brand, but she also had a penchant for red accents, and is said to have declared, “If you’re sad or heartbroken, make yourself up, dress up, add more lipstick and attack.”
Her attack on the fashion front involved deft touches of red to highlight the structure of a jacket and application of the color the lining of one of her iconic handbags. Successive creative directors have kept the tradition alive. “As a stylistic device, I have used red on three Haute Horlogerie creations,” says Arnaud Chastaingt, director of the Chanel Watchmaking Creation Studio. “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.”
The J-12 X-ray Red Edition celebrates transparency, with a movement that is openworked and exposed thanks to transparent sapphire bridges. The synthetic rubies that are a standard component of the mechanical movement are also exposed. There are 12 baguette cut natural rubies to serve as markers on the dial and 46 baguette rubies are invisibly set into the bezel. It is limited to 12 pieces. Case and bracelet are made of transparent sapphire crystal, hence the “X-ray” in the name.
The bezel of the Boy-Friend Skeleton Red Edition is set with 38 baguette cut rubies, and the crown with five baguette cut rubies. The buckle on the matching red strap is set with another 23 rubies – the strap recalls the lining of Chanel’s iconic 2.55 handbag. The red highlights on the bridges contrast with the 18k beige gold case in the same way an application of lipstick would be applied next to skin tone, says Chanel. This one is limited to 55 pieces. The Boy-Friend Skeleton X-Ray Red Edition is made with a transparent sapphire crystal case and bezel. The same red highlights are applied to the circular bridges of the movement, and five rubies are set into the crown. It is limited to 100 pieces. All prices are on request.