It’s rare to find a picture of Isabel Marant in which she’s not wearing a watch. The French designer seems to always have one on her left wrist, just below the bracelet sleeve of her cropped jacket or acting as an underline to her pushed-up sweater sleeves. “When my father died, the only one thing that I wanted from him was his watch,” Marant says, noting that the timepiece in most images of her is the one she inherited from him. “A watch is the object that has stayed in my mind from my father. There’s something that makes me really very attached to wearing a watch—it has a lot of meaning, heritage, elegance.”
Today, Marant is launching her first full range of timepieces. The three shapes—square, oval, and circular—come with interchangeable bracelets in metal mesh, leather, and velvet, and will retail from €490. Each has an anthracite face and a minimal yet sophisticated look that won’t distract from your outfit. The shapes are drawn from Marant’s memories of her father’s watch, which she first reinterpreted with a single watch design in 2013. “It was very égoïste in a way,” she says. “The idea was to have another watch I could wear everyday, without wearing the one of my father, because if there is something in my life I really don’t want to lose it’s his watch.”
She hopes her own collection inspires the same sentimentality in customers. “There are many ways to do a watch, but my aim was to do something very classic that you’re never fed up with, that you will keep for your whole life, and that maybe your children and grandchildren will inherit,” she continues. To add to the soul of her timepieces, she named each style with the birthday of someone near and dear to her. The 12.04 square watch represents Marant’s own birth date (April 12), while the 10.05 round and 28.07 oval are for her two business partners.
Even in confinement, Marant continues her own watch-wearing habit. “You are going to think it’s very strange because I wear a watch every day, but I never look at the time. I know exactly what time it is without looking at my watch!” she says, cracking into laughter. “But I like the fact that it’s utilitarian jewelry. I approached it more in the sense of jewelry that finishes your personality and gives you time when you need it.” Isn’t that a romantic thought for this truly bizarre year? A watch that is for you, for now, for later, for your children and your grandchildren. Even though we are speaking over the phone, I can tell Marant is smiling at the thought. “The timepiece transcends time!” she cheers.