PARIS — Chaumet has launched a new watch model, the Josephine, in an unusual pear shape, drawing on house codes that pay homage to Joséphine de Beauharnais.
“We didn’t want to launch a round watch, we wanted something that characterizes the house,” said Jean-Marc Mansvelt, chief executive officer of Chaumet, speaking in the salons of the historic Place Vendôme flagship.
He cited the house references: pear-shaped stones and the tiara, which is reflected in the label’s Josephine jewelry line as a curvy v-shape. The house’s new collection features pared-down renditions of that shape, with modern, graphic pieces, along with its signature rings that can be stacked.
The watch comes in gold with graphic facets, and in versions that feature diamond paving, with open bracelets in leather or silk.
“It really is a singular watch. But not everyone will necessarily like it. With Chaumet, we’re not out to please everyone necessarily. Our choice is to offer something distinctive that sets you apart — because you are not wearing what everyone else is wearing,” Mansvelt continued.
The historic jeweler, founded in 1780, was closely associated with Napoleon and Joséphine Bonaparte, having served as her official jeweler, as well as the supplier of Napoleon’s coronation sword.
Mansvelt said the house wanted to offer something different than other watchmakers who offer more classic styles. “The classic debate is whether to target the heart of the market — with a round shape, a certain diameter, and so on,” he said. “I think we are expected to do something else, there is already an enormous amount of wonderful watchmakers that can teach us things — we go to them for that.
Backstage at Chanel RTW Fall 2021
“Why would one be drawn to Chaumet for a watch? I think people would be drawn to Chaumet if it incarnates the house, in terms of its know-how, its exigence, its sense for detail, and also its history,” he said, noting the original nature of the watch.”
Wholesale clients have responded positively to the offer, he said, noting they are the toughest clients, and they know the market the best.
“They found it unusual,” he said, noting that orders were doubled from initial plans.
Looking beyond current temporary store closures and disruption from the pandemic, Chaumet has just opened a new store in an upscale mall in Kuwait, he said.
“We have to concentrate on what’s essential, but it’s important to show that things are being created, that energy is still here, that we want to wear things, and create things,” he added.
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