Chanel Première: At 30, Am I Really Older Than You?


Celebrating her 30th this year is Chanel’s very first watch creation, the Première that was launched back in 1987. And as with all things classic and eternal, it has only undergone the smallest of changes, mostly toward the addition of diamonds and precious gems or being released in limited edition colours over the years.


What has changed over the years, is probably the woman who wore it 30 years ago, and the woman who wears it today. It could very well be the same lady or even her daughter as she buys herself a Première today to match her mother’s some 20 odd years ago. The watch’s appeal transcends all ages, appealing to the discerning woman who is ladylike in her demeanour and never out of style. Today, let’s celebrate. Not just for the Première watch, but also for the Première woman who channels it with elegance and sensuality.


At its core, the Première is still one of the most recognised icons of the French luxury house, its distinct octagonal shape mirroring that of the Place Vendome’s shape when viewed from above (it’s intriguing really, when you can see that familiar outline on Google Maps). Besides the Première timepiece, that iconic shape also lends itself to another signature of Chanel, the No. 5 fragrance we all know and love.

Today, the watch extends to 4 distinct lines. There’s the Première Chain – the octagonal face that’s fastened with a chain-link strap. There’s the Première Rock – the chain features an additional leather strap intertwined with the chain links, something similar to the chain-link straps we see on Chanel’s Classic Flap bags.

Then there are two more we see less frequently, the Première Mini and Première d’Exception. The Première Mini has a smaller watch face, and the chain link strap is replaced with a thinner watch strap (the watch crown seemingly disappears as well), while the Première d’Exception is literally all that and more. Pieces from the latter come embellished with diamonds (think of the white gold chain strap that’s covered with diamonds all over) to the ones with the Camelia skeleton that encapsulates the dial equally gorgeously as well.

And with 30 years of experience and expertise, the Première has truly come full circle (well technically, octagonal) with the watch evolving with time, the single row chainlink strap is now available as a double row, with some variations that can be toured around the wrist two or three times.

In other words, it has evolved into a necessary companion that the woman of today wears from day to night, looking beyond its function to just tell time. Because while time is finite, and that would just be placing limits on oneself, the Première woman is instead a purveyor of timelessness, much like the watch itself. In other words, she isn’t old, she will never age, she is the epitome of timelessness.

Images: Chanel

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