The diamond set watches that roar in the Sous le Signe du Lion high jewellery collection from Chanel

Chanel’s new collection of ‘Sous le Signe du Lion’ high jewellery, launched earlier this year, focuses on Gabrielle Chanel’s beloved lion, both her birth sign and the symbol of Venice – the city that inspired much of her work with its rich colours and byzantine art and architecture.

Amongst the dazzling jewels that, with long ropes of pearls, roaring golden lions and diamond-set felines, ooze self-confidence, there are four watches. Working the full-maned, roaring lion into jewels is a challenge, but incorporating this animal into watches is a brave move. But the four lion watches and desk clock have made a grand entrance, and each echoes a theme from the jewellery collection.

The ‘Lion Vénitien’ is a secret watch. The diamond-encrusted head of a lion slides to one side to reveal a hidden dial. Move it back and the watch becomes a jewel: an elegant bracelet on a black satin strap.  The ‘Miol Mosaique’ watch takes the form of a cuff bracelet that wraps diamonds all the way round the wrist. The lion’s head nuzzles up next to the dial, as if protecting its precious charge of 1,532 diamonds.

‘Lion Astrale’ strings a diamond lion’s head between two dainty rows of diamonds and is as much a jewel as a watch. But my favourite of them all is the ‘Constellation du Lion’, which features a star, one of the symbols that Gabrielle Chanel used in her 1932 collection of diamond jewels. A lion carved out of rock crystal pounces on the diamond-set star, creating a dramatic scene. It’s like no other watch I have ever seen before. Matched in audacity is the desk clock with a lion carved out of rock crystal with diamond highlights, possessively placing a paw over a diamond-set octagonal clock. I think you have to agree, this is a clock that packs a roar. 


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    Chanel ‘Constellation du Lion’ clock in white gold, sculpted from rock crystal and black jade and set with 2,785 diamonds.

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    The diamond-encrusted lion’s head on the ‘Lion Vénitien’ watch swivels to reveal the hidden watch face.

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    Chanel ‘Miol Mosaique’ watch in white gold, from the Sous le Signe du Lion collection, set with 1,530 fancy-cut diamonds and two pear-cut diamonds.

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    The diamond-set lion’s head on the ‘Lion Astral’ watch from Chanel’s Sous le Signe du Lion collection swivels open to reveal the watch face.

  • Chanel's 'Lion Astral' watch

    Chanel’s ‘Lion Astral’ watch in white gold, from the Sous le Signe du Lion collection, is set with 584 brilliant-cut diamonds, six marquise-cut diamonds and one pear-cut diamond.

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    Chanel ‘Constellation du Lion’ watch in white gold, set with 633 brilliant-cut diamonds and four brilliant-cut black diamonds.

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    Chanel’s ‘Lion Vénitien’ watch in white gold, from the Sous le Signe du Lion collection, is set with 499 brilliant-cut diamonds, one pear-cut diamond and a mother-of-pearl dial on a black satin bracelet.