After a spate of luxury-watch boutiques opening in London last year – there were 10 in the West End from July until December alone – 2015 has felt somewhat quiet. But consider it the calm before the storm: making a splash this November is Chanel’s revamped watch and fine-jewellery boutique, a New Bond Street refit very much worth the 18-month wait.
Designed by Peter Marino, the architect behind all Chanel’s boutiques, the space has nearly doubled in size and tripled in height, and is filled with specially commissioned artworks, resplendent nods to Gabrielle Chanel’s private homes in Paris, and a lift encased in bespoke glass. Winding between the floors is a staircase with an extraordinary rock-crystal and bronze balustrade created by Goossens, the costume-jewellery atelier Chanel acquired in 2005. Goossens has also produced a Petite Couronne-inspired chandelier, which is suspended over a pair of steel-engraved brass side tables by artist Michael Pohu. Coromandel screens – their forebears adorn Mademoiselle Chanel’s Rue Cambon apartment – form the luxuriant backdrop for a 19th-century red marble fireplace flanked by a pair of 1980s-style bronze andirons by Gene Summers. Elsewhere, a hand-painted Max Kundine coffee table can be found, while André Dubreuil’s black and gold lighthouse lamps decorate the third floor VIP salon.
The expanded boutique will host the full range of Chanel’s watch and fine-jewellery collections, including new Coco Crush designs and a selection of unique pieces from its latest Les Talismans (from €30,000, brooch second picture) and Les Intemporels (from €41,700, ring third picture) lines. But it’s the commemorative creations, exclusive to New Bond Street, that are not to be missed: a beautiful Camélia Solaire suite (price on request) – a necklace, earrings, rings and bracelet – and two one-off diamond-set editions of this year’s Boy.Friend watch (example first picture).
London will now rank alongside Paris as home to one of Chanel’s two largest watch and fine-jewellery stores. “We wanted to give the London market a boutique it deserved,” says Benjamin Comar, Chanel’s international fine-jewellery director. “This will be one of the most fantastic boutiques.”