The Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition is the most masculine watch Chanel has ever produced

The Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition is the most masculine watch Chanel has ever produced

Jamie Weiss

Ever since the launch of the Première watch in 1987, Chanel has been increasingly recognised as a serious watchmaker, largely thanks to its J12 model, which has been a canvas upon which the Maison has demonstrated some serious haute horlogerie in recent years. However, the J12 isn’t the only watch in Chanel’s range that embodies the codes of traditional watchmaking – there’s also the Monsieur de Chanel, which was brought to the fore in 2024 at Watches and Wonders Geneva with the Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition, which is easily the most masculine watch Chanel has ever produced.

The case

Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition outstretched

Before we dive into talking about this watch’s case, we need to break down its name. The “Monsieur de Chanel” bit is straightforward: first introduced in 2016, the Monsieur de Chanel is the brand’s first dedicated men’s watch, as well as the first Chanel watch with a complication. (More on that in a moment.) It’s the suffixes we need to pay attention to.

Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera
Image courtesy of Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera.

“Superleggera” is Italian for “super light”, but it’s also the name of one of the most famous Italian coachbuilders, Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, who was responsible for iconic car designs such as the Alfa Romeo 8C, Maserati 3500 GT and perhaps most famously, the Aston Martin DB5. It’s this rich motoring history that Chanel has drawn upon for the design of the Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition, which features the coachbuilder’s signature at 12 o’clock below the Chanel logo on the dial.

Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition case

“Superleggera” also references its unique case construction, which features a steel inner case clad in matte black ceramic. Ceramic is, of course, super light, but it’s also very scratch-resistant, giving this Monsieur de Chanel a distinctly sporty vibe as well as providing comfort and durability. However, it’s worth pointing out that its cladding makes this Superleggera model slightly larger than the standard Monsieur de Chanel, measuring 42mm in diameter and 10.85 mm thick compared to the standard watch’s 40mm x 10mm. (Being made from steel and ceramic, though, it’s still much lighter.)

That leads us nicely to the last part of this watch’s name, the “Intense Black Edition” bit. Compared to the first-gen Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera from 2021, the Intense Black Edition features more blacked-out design elements, including its steel crown, caseback ring and jumping hours frame. It also swaps out some of the red highlights of the previous model for gold highlights instead, specifically the pointer at 6 o’clock and the Superleggera logo. I know I’m jumping forwards and backwards here (just like this watch’s movement), but bear with me.

The dial

Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition dial

The dial of the Chanel Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition is where its automotive influence is most apparent. Its retrograde minute display resembles a speedometer, and the clous de Paris dial elements evoke elements of a high-end sports car – both interior finishes as well as car grilles. It features a semi-openworked design, with the jumping hours disc visible at either side of the upper minute display subdial – again, emphasising its sporty character.

Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition on wrist

Reading the Chanel Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition might take some getting used to, as you read the minutes, then the seconds, and then the hour in order vertically. To really lean into an automotive metaphor here, it’s like how some high-end sports cars – the Porsche 911 immediately springs to mind – have tachometers mounted in the middle of their gauge clusters rather than speedometers.

The strap

Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition strap

The Chanel Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition comes mounted on a black hybrid nylon strap that’s trimmed with calfskin and has a black calfskin lining and nylon strap, which resembles a car’s seatbelt or racing textiles. Keeping with the all-black theme, a black PVD steel triple-folding buckle keeps this timepiece secured on its wearer’s wrist.

The movement

Chanel manufacture
The Chanel Watch Manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Canton of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Image courtesy of Chanel.

Powering the Chanel Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition is the Calibre 1, designed by Chanel Watchmaking Creation Studio Head Arnaud Chastaingt in collaboration with well-known high-end watchmaker and Philippe Dufour protegé Romain Gauthier, and produced at the Maison’s dedicated watch manufacture in Switzerland.

Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition caseback

The Calibre 1 combines two integrated complications – an instant jumping hour with an unusual 240-degree retrograde minute display, as well as a small seconds indicator. Unlike many retrograde movements, the hand-wound Calibre 1’s retrograde minutes can actually be set going backwards, which is a great quality-of-life feature. Featuring a free-sprung balance beating at 4 Hz, it boasts a robust 72-hour power reserve, courtesy of dual sequential mainspring barrels.

It’s also quite a pretty movement, especially here in Intense Black Edition guise. Its pleasant black-treated mainplate pairs well with the Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition’s case, with its elegant geartrain bringing to mind the interlocked Cs of the Chanel logo.

The verdict

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Time+Tide (@timetidewatches)

I’m a fan. I had called out this Chanel as one of my favourite timepieces I saw in Geneva this year: while Chanel as a fashion house has always been a master of all things black (Chanel’s “little black dress” being the most famous example), I didn’t expect to see a watch as sporty as this come from Chanel. The connection to Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera feels nicely executed, too: this watch’s complication and aesthetic give it a retro-futuristic vibe, marrying a vintage automotive look with a modern, masculine presence.

Chanel Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition pricing & availability

The Chanel Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition is a limited edition of 100 pieces and is available now. Price: CHF 44,650 / A$76,400.

Brand Chanel
Model Monsieur de Chanel Superleggera Intense Black Edition
Reference Number H6823
Case Dimensions 42mm (D) x 10.85mm (T)
Case Material Stainless steel inner case with black ceramic cladding
Water Resistance 30 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial Matte black guilloché with openworked elements
Strap Black nylon strap with black calfskin leather trim and lining, PVD black steel triple-folding buckle
Movement Chanel Calibre 1, developed with Romain Gauthier, manual-winding
Power Reserve 72 hours
Functions Jumping hours, retrograde minutes, small seconds
Availability Limited edition of 100 pieces
Price CHF 44,650 / A$76,400