Red could be the next color to take over the world of watchmaking, and Chanel has gotten a head start with the Red Edition Collection, which includes two Boy.Friend timepieces and a new version of one of our favorite timepieces, the J12 X-Ray. We’ve previously written extensively about the J12 X-Ray, highlighting the watchmaking connections between the Calibre 3.1 that powers it and the Calibre 3 at work in the Boy. Friend. When presented in a single serving, as the Red Edition Collection does, it’s easy to see what we mean. Yes, the pun is intentional.
While it’s tempting to think of Chanel’s Red Edition collection as a Chinese New Year offering, the timing has to be coincidental. You may recall that Chanel went all-in on bright colors with the J12 Electro Rainbow last year, but that was only for the J12. In any case, when used as an accent, red is an important color for Chanel. Chanel recalls this with the quote attributed to Gabriel Chanel: “If you’re sad or heartbroken, make yourself up, dress up, add more lipstick, and attack.”
The absolute clarity of the sapphire crystal case and bracelet is enhanced in the J12 X-Ray Red Edition Rouge by 46 baguette-cut rubies set on the 18k white gold bezel. In addition, 12 baguette-cut rubies are set on the sapphire dial, and 34 baguette-cut rubies are set on two of the sapphire crystal bracelet links. This brilliant picture is completed by a diamond set into the crown.
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.
Chanel The Boy.Friend Skeleton X-Ray Red Edition. Image: Chanel
Chanel The Boy.Friend Skeleton Red Edition. Image: Chanel
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.