The J12 by Chanel, icon of the 21st century?
The story of the J12 by Chanel deserved to be told. A young collection in the house Chanel – being only twenty years old –, it can nevertheless pride itself in being nowadays an emblematic one, fully integrated in both the watchmaking sphere and general fashion. Because fashionistas have indeed not overlooked its potential and nuances that makes it a model as technical than design.
Conceived in 2000 by Chanel’s artistic director Jacques Helleu, this avant-garde marvel is intended for both men and women. Genderless by definition, the J12 can now pretend to the title of watchmaking icon among those of the 21st century. The English historian and writer Nicholas Foulkes (Nick for friends) understood it too. Specialized in great Houses and luxury items, he tries in the one hundred and sixty pages of his book J12 Instant Éternel to tell everything about the gears and secrets of a watch that reshaped traditional watchmaking with its original – in every sense of the word – look in black ceramic.
The J12 by Chanel immortalized
Very complete, the book shows through photographs by Karl Lagerfeld, Guido Mocafico, Peter Lindbergh or even Man Ray the evolution of a watch that revolutionized watchmaking codes. Faithful to the chromatic shades of the J12, the visuals selected are in black and white. For instance, the picture of Adut Akech, famous Australian-South Sudanese model whose beautiful, slightly iridescent dark skin recalls the nuances of black ceramic and creates a stunning contrast with the white ceramic of the J12 Calibre 12.1 she is wearing. The picture opposes the one of Bella Nong, with her porcelain skin.
We love the raw simplicity of Karl Lagerfeld’s photography: a natural Claudia Schiffer and a Jake Davies sublimated by his J12 black ceramic Chronograph. A timeless read.
Price: 80 euros
The thousand and one faces of the new J12 by Chanel
During the past two decades, the J12 managed to renew itself to answer any technological challenges desired by the Chanel watchmaking workshops. In 2019, the house unveiled an altered edition which modifications, no matter how slight at first glance, are nonetheless obvious. Indeed, the unidirectional rotating bezel is thinner and boasts forty grooves – 30 on previous models. The whole piece actually flaunts more finesse and openness, with a smaller crown and ceramic white numbers on the dial.
Another change and not the least this time, the new J12 (see our technical data sheet) houses the highly precise self-winding calibre 12.1 certified by the COSC (Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute).
2020, the J12 is 20 years old
2020, anniversary of this icon, saw the birth of many interpretations, each as remarkable as the other. Let us exemplify:
The J12-20 Enamel
The J12·20 Enamel version boldly brings together ceramic and craftsmanship. Covered in numerous different patterns, the bezel and black dial embody the know-how of the house’s artisans. Bottle of N°5 perfume, lipstick, iconic tweed jacket, thimble or Coco Chanel herself: all these drawings are realized in black enamel using the champlevé technique – a process in which enamel is applied into multiple incisions on an object, then fired.
The J12 X-RAY
Chanel signs here a first in watchmaking by designing a case and bracelet in sapphire, a highly resistant transparent material. The J12 X-RAY (see our data sheet) is set with baguette-cut diamonds on the bezel, dial, and crown cabochon. As its name indicates, the watch reveals every gear of the skeletonized calibre 3.1, also comprised of some sapphire parts for an x-ray vision effect. Edition limited to 12 pieces.
The J12 Paradoxe
This bichrome variation flaunts a black and white high-tech ceramic case. Creating a perfect colour-separation between the two parts so as to form one unique case of 38 mm diameter (see our data sheet) was another challenge for the watchmaking artisans. And all of this without a hitch!
Consult our technical data sheets of the J12 collection.