The J12 by Chanel, a revolution
Birth of an icon
The vision of the late Artistic Director of Chanel Watchmaking took form in 2000 with the creation of the J12. Strongly inspired by sailing, a passion of the designer, and more specifically by the shape of the sailboats of the America’s Cup, the “class J”, this unisex watch is inseparable from high-tech ceramic. A high-tech material that becomes precious, but most importantly, black! This timeless colour is completed by the opalescence and purity of white ceramic, which joined the collection in 2003.
When technique serves design.
J12 Tourbillon, J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse, J12 Moonphase, J12-XS, Mademoiselle J12, these limited, exclusive, high-watchmaking editions or short-lived series offer an endless field of expression, where limits cease to exist. Imagination rules. Breaking the codes, it is still true to the original aestheticism of the maison. The peak for Chanel: the watchmaking ateliers of the maison adapt to the overly imaginative Creation Studio. It is never the other way around…
The J12 by Chanel, a successful facelift
“A revolution can only happen once. That is why I chose to change everything and nothing at the same time.”
In 2019, at the dawn of its twenties, the J12 went for a true makeover with modifications that are invisible at first glance. A true achievement by Arnaud Chastaingt, this facelift made by the director of the Chanel Watch Creation Studio had a guiding principle: changing everything… But nothing at the same time. “I knew this creative approach would be more like the work of a surgeon than that of a designer”, he says.
This watch is indeed equipped with a finer unidirectional rotating bezel whose 30 notches became 40: this changes the sound of the bezel when you rotate it. Incredible! 200 m water-resistant, this new edition seems to have a more open dial, due to the thinner numbers – now in ceramic. The hands are no exception. More slender, the minutes and hours hands are both as wide. As for the luminescent zone on them, it is black on the black version and white on the white one. Through microscopic work, the typography underwent a complete transformation. Topped with a ceramic cabochon, the crown is far more discreet than before, bringing balance to the whole piece.
With an air of revolution, the heart of the icon beats to the rhythm of a new high-watchmaking automatic movement: the calibre 12.1. This novelty was masterfully conceived with the help of the Kenissi manufacturer, which is partially owned by Chanel. And it is chronometer-certified by the more than relevant COSC. Its power reserve is nearly 70 hours and is accompanied by a perfectly circular openwork oscillating mass – a graphic hallmark of Chanel high-watchmaking – visible through a sapphire case back. As for the 33 mm models, they also receive favourable treatment with the calibre 12.2, which has the same features as the previous version, except for the 50-hour power reserve.
J12 Calibre 12.1 with diamonds
Also available in black and white ceramic, this 38 mm J12 stands out with its different aesthetic: diamond indices delicately punctuate the dial. Precious for more than one reason, it shares its technical features with the Calibre 12.1. Note that it is also available in a 33 mm version animated with a high-precision quartz calibre (€7,300).
J12 Calibre 12.1 – yellow gold bezel
A long-awaited piece, this new J12 Calibre 12.1 adorns itself with yellow gold for the first time. Unveiled in September, the two new versions produce a striking contrast both with black and white ceramic.
The 38 mm case is endowed with a unidirectional rotating bezel in yellow gold. It is coupled with a screwed-down crown, also in yellow gold and topped with a ceramic cabochon. To bring coherence to the whole thing, the hands, indices and bevel are yellow gold plated. Last detail: the oscillating mass is made of yellow gold – for the very first time since the creation of the J12 – and it displays the branded Chanel design. Is a 33 mm version to come? The most impatient ones will have to wait until 2024 for an answer.
2023: the Interstellar collection
Unveiled this year, the tremendous Interstellar capsule collection by Chanel is inspired by science-fiction, space travelling and time travelling. It applies to all the emblematic lines of the luxury brand: Première, Boy·Friend and Code Coco. Even the J12 surprises us with these brand-new declinations that open up a whole new dimension of high watchmaking. Simply magnetic!
J12 Night Star
Also declined in a 33 mm version, the 38 mm J12 Night Star in black ceramic stands out with its steel fixed bezel with black coating set with 46 baguette-cut diamonds. It emphasizes the black glittery effect dial, reminiscing of a night sky scattered with stars and pierced by a comet that turns into a thin and slender hand with a star-shaped counterweight. Punctuated by twelve diamond indices, the dial is animated by the famous Calibre 12.1, chronometer-certified by the COSC.
Click here to read the J12 Night Star 38 mm full technical sheet.
The dazzling dial of the 38 mm J12 Interstellar has an aventurine effect and is decorated with six diamonds. It offers an even more magical show under UV light. The slightly blue luminescence provides infinite depth to the dial. This monochromatic limited edition with a completely black look has a steel with matte black coating fixed bezel. In black-varnished sapphire, it is engraved with a baguette-cut pattern. The shape of the diamonds is the same as the one on its precious counterpart, the J12 Night Star.
Click here to read the J12 Interstellar full technical sheet.
Undoubtedly an instant favourite since it was unveiled during the Watches and Wonders 2023, the 38 mm J12 Cybernetic is one of the flagship models of the fantastically intergalactic line. A true watchmaking feat, this piece is a perfect illustration of the mastery of ceramic of the luxury maison.
Indeed, the pixelated motif of the black lacquered and white-varnished dial extends onto the bezel and seems to be escaping from the watch. The case has an unusual – if not previously unseen – shape for watchmaking. This ultra-graphic black ceramic piece is endowed with a white ceramic insert with rounded right angles. This paradox results from many hours of research and development to make the watch pleasant to the touch. Challenge accepted for this limited edition with a reduced 50-meter water resistance – not 200 meters like the other references – due to the difficulty of sealing different-coloured ceramics together.
Click here to read the J12 Cybernetic full technical sheet.
Shiny and shooting stars, rockets, UFOs, planets, satellites, astronauts, constellations, Coco Chanel in orbit… These polished and rhodiumed elements are experiencing zero gravity on a white dial covered in luminescent coating. Sparkling during the day with its twelve diamonds, and mysterious at night, this miniature décor is brought to life at the heart of the 33 mm J12 Cosmic in white ceramic. 200-meter water-resistant, this infinitely charming limited edition is animated by a quartz movement with out-of-this-world precision.
Click here to read the J12 Cosmic full technical sheet.
Mademoiselle J12 La Pausa, 38 mm
The Mademoiselle J12 La Pausa is doubtlessly a double tribute to Gabriel Chanel. First, it is named after La Pausa. In 1928, the legendary stylist built this Mediterranean villa in the heights of Roquebrune, overlooking Cape Martin.
There, she receives her friends – the Duke of Westminster, Jean Cocteau, Salvador Dalí – in a relaxed atmosphere. Then, the tribute takes the shape of a character representing her on the dial. She is dressed in her timeless striped jersey and fall-front trousers. Time brings Coco Chanel to life as her arms beat the time throughout the hours and minutes. Available with a black or white ceramic background, this skit responds to its evening twin: the Mademoiselle J12 Cosmic.
“I said that black goes with everything. White too. Their beauty is absolute. They are the perfect combination.”
Mademoiselle J12 Cosmic
In a black and white evening gown, Mademoiselle Chanel wanders about a black dial with a slight glittery effect and set with ten fine and discreet brilliant-cut diamonds. Her silhouette is accentuated by a white gold fixed bezel set with 46 baguette-cut diamonds. Limited to 55 copies, this 38 mm model is animated by the Calibre 12.1.
Click here to read the Mademoiselle J12 Cosmic full technical sheet.
J12 Diamond Tourbillon
The centrepiece of the Interstellar collection is the J12 Diamond Tourbillon. The mesmerizing scene that takes place on the white ceramic dial will make you dizzy. It is only enhanced by the white gold bezel set with 34 baguette-cut diamonds.
The completely openwork dial shines a light on a tourbillon lodged in a cage set with 26 diamonds. There, an incredible solitary diamond sits in majesty. This complication results from a creative reflection with this “simple” premise: a diamond put on a tourbillon cage, a watchmaking first. This is a serious challenge in every way: creating a diamond that could be set on the flying tourbillon but that could also be dazzling. The challenge was brilliantly taken up with the invention of a flat 65-facet diamond that is now patented by Chanel.
This brilliant precious stone slightly contrasts with the satin effect of the ceramic. This finish required a long development period to perfect it. This true high watchmaking miniature work of art is animated by the Calibre 5, a mechanical movement with a mechanical winding that offers a 42-hour power reserve.
Click here to read the J12 Diamond Tourbillon full technical sheet.
Click here to read all our technical sheets of the J12 collection by Chanel.