For the Haute Horlogerie Mademoiselle Privé Pique-Aiguilles collection, Arnaud Chastaingt, director of the Chanel Watchmaking Creation Studio, drew inspiration from one of haute couture’s most recognizable accessories: the pincushion. He has interpreted it as a series of five 55mm diameter replica watches displaying some of the maison’s most iconic themes. This challenging project tested the skills of the watchmakers and craftsmen who worked on the collection.
The shape of the clock is eye-catching. Its imposing diameter, the bas-relief engravings that adorn the dial and the strongly domed crystal recall the shape of a pincushion, the sewing accessory that fascinated and inspired Arnaud Chastaingt.
Measuring 55 millimeters in diameter and featuring a pronounced dome-shaped sapphire crystal, this watch makes a bold statement! That’s about the diameter a pocket watch would have, strapped to the wrist. And yet these are definitely wristwatches.
The Mademoiselle Privé Pique-Aiguilles collection is signed by Chanel.
The signature is both metaphorical and physical. The brand name in yellow gold, delicately placed on the edge of the glass, is almost invisible; and yet this extreme discretion does not detract from the identity of the five best replica watches in the collection. Each sphere features an object that is so strongly identified with the Maison that it is not necessary to spell it out. The iconic bag, chain and Byzantine cross so beloved by Gabrielle Chanel, the camellia motif, the iconic little black jacket and a sewing pattern, all reproduced with astonishing realism.
During our interview, Arnaud Chastaingt explained his fascination with this work tool, whose shape perfectly follows his function. It can be seen on the wrists of designers and couturières, as a crude jewel adorned with pins. This collection builds a bridge between the haute couture workshops of Rue Cambon and Chanel’s watchmaking and jewelery workshops. The connection was there all along, waiting for someone to notice.
Watch: Why did you choose the pincushion as a source of inspiration for this collection?
Arnaud Chastaingt: I have always been fascinated by objects whose architecture arises from a functional necessity. The design of the pincushion arises from the need to make it easier for tailors and dressmakers to use the pins and needles they need to carry out their work. Beyond its functional value, I have always loved its bold style. It commands the wrist with authority, but the pins stuck into the cushion also make it very decorative. I see it as a functional piece of jewelry.
The little black jacket, the chains, the lace camellia, the embroidery, the iconic quilted bag: how did you choose these five elements?
The first stage was to transpose a pincushion into a clock. With this extremely generous 55mm diameter at my disposal, I wanted to tell the stories that were key to understanding Chanel fake watches cheap. These five creations illustrate five branches of fashion: leather goods, lace, embroidery, the jewelers who create their fabulous necklaces and other items, and obviously haute couture.
The watch that most closely resembles a pincushion is the embroidery motif. What was your intention?
Interestingly, this is the most abstract model, while the others are more narrative. My source of inspiration was embroidery. I wanted to create the impression of a completely black surface, like a stretch of dark cloth, covered in sequins, which in this case are diamonds. Here, to create the illusion of embroidered sequins, we use the snow setting technique. I then asked our artisans to blacken all the gold beads to represent the black cloth. In this project, jewelery and watchmaking know-how pays homage to the exceptional skills of the fashion industry.
The effect of the motifs is impressive. How, for example, did you create the illusion that the miniature Pearls Motif watch chain is actually strung with leather?
In fact, the biggest challenge for this piece was the braided chain. I had the great honor of working with some notable artisans. They started with gold leaf, which was then etched to produce the chain. The leather-like areas were created with miniature paint, perfectly reproducing its soft suppleness.
For the Lace Motif watch with camellias, did you draw inspiration from an existing fabric?
I started by looking at some lace created by our fashion department and tried to understand how it was constructed before making my own interpretation. I redraw everything. In my camellia design I wanted to find a composition, a balance, that I would not have been able to create if I had simply taken an existing motif.
The little black jacket of the Tweed Motif watch is astonishingly realistic. How did you manage to create the tweed effect without using actual fabric?
Tweed was complex to recreate. I wanted a degree of realism, and tweed as a material is hard to pin down. It is both uniform and irregular; it has a very rigid design, but it is also random. Tweed has a kind of magic. If you try to capture its spirit, you can quickly fall into the trap of creating something too orderly, too rigid. I am not going to reveal all the secrets of its manufacture, but I am very happy with the result.
Each Mademoiselle Privé Pique-Aiguilles piece embodies the spirit of Chanel. A signature is superfluous. Is that why the house signature on the dial is so hard to see?
The Mademoiselle Privé Pique-Aiguilles watch bears the Chanel signature, but not on the dial. For me, discretion was essential, since I wanted to give designs a privileged place. You don’t need a ubiquitous signature to understand where this watch came from. It says “Chanel” at first glance. I opted for a yellow gold transfer placed below the watch crystal, which blends into the design without being distracting. The signature becomes discreetly visible depending on the angle of light and the position of the watch.
A diameter of 55 mm is practically a pocket watch. How do you translate a bulky three-dimensional object into a watch? Did you think about allowing it to be used in different ways?
My intention was above all to translate the visual impact of a pincushion on a doll. I designed this watch with a single focus: style. He was obsessed with creating a bold volume that covered the entire wrist. In watchmaking, the diameter of a watch is often limited by ergonomic considerations. But that was not something I took into consideration this time. The oversized measurements of the Mademoiselle Privé Pique-Aiguilles watch do not affect its wearing comfort. In general, I like to vary the way a watch can be worn, but this time the wrist was clearly the point and I didn’t want to dilute my inspiration. I just borrowed the architecture from the classic pincushion. I insisted that the strap sit relatively low on the back of the watch, so it would fit all wrist sizes.
Speaking of the strap, you chose to make it out of fabric. Is this a reference to the world of haute couture?
Among all the iconic fabrics of the Maison, there is one that Chanel particularly likes: grosgrain. I love the elegance of its texture, its fabric. This collection was completely inspired by the world of haute couture, and I wanted to use this material to make a strap.
The two hour and minute hands were necessary to turn these objects into clocks, but did you consider leaving them off and displaying the time in another way? The time they tell is perhaps more a time of beauty than real time.
No, I didn’t think to remove them, I even designed them. Line by line, they are reproductions of sewing needles. They have exactly the same architecture, they are elongated and rounded. They are very thin, so they do not detract from the designs on the dial. And they are there, without being there. The eye is first attracted by the composition and only later discovers the time. They indicate ‘haute couture time’, and only Chanel knows the secret!
You drew on various watchmaking skills: gem setting, engraving, lacquer, grand feu enamel. Was this a way to pay homage to these artistic crafts?
At Chanel replica, artistic craftsmanship and savoir-faire are ubiquitous and highly inspiring. For me, the Mademoiselle Privé collection represents an infinite field for creative expression. It is a way for the watchmaking arts to pay homage to the fashion arts. I love that idea!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome in creating this collection?
Managing my impatience, as always! But seriously, I would say that the complexity of the dials on these watches was a challenge. In the end, whether Haute Couture or Haute Horlogerie, a word is different, but the magic is the same.