At Watches & Wonders 2022, Chanel continues to shine a spotlight on the J12, with an exciting line-up of new releases that include a first in-house flying tourbillon, a new automatic 33mm and fun tributes to Mademoiselle Gabrielle Chanel.
The coveted J12, a staple accessory amongst the fashion elite, was born in 2000, designed by Jacques Helleu as a unisex watch in a then-revolutionary material – ceramic. The watch was revamped in 2019 ahead of its 20th anniversary by the current director of the Chanel Watch Creation Studio, Arnaud Chastaingt, to include a new exclusive self-winding calibre by Swiss Manufacture Kenissi, along with subtle touches that made the watch sleeker and more ergonomic.
J12 Calibre 12.2 33mm
This year’s release marks yet another milestone for the J12. The J12 33mm is presented for the first time with a self-winding movement, the Calibre 12.2 – an exciting new offering for clients in search of a smaller sized J12 option.
The Calibre 12.2 is also designed and developed exclusively by Kenissi, and carries the signature circular oscillating weight, which is visible through the sapphire crystal caseback. The watch is COSC-certified and has a power reserve of approximately 50 hours.
Realised in two versions, the J12 Calibre 12.2 33mm comes in black ceramic and steel or white ceramic and steel – the two signature colours of Chanel.
J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5
Another show of technical prowess and aesthetic achievement is the J12 Diamond Tourbillon, which debuts the new Calibre 5, the first flying tourbillon movement made in-house, designed in Paris by Chastaingt and developed and assembled by Chanel’s manufacture at La Chaux-de-Fonds.
The timepiece is seriously stunning. The partly exposed mechanism is finished with Chanel’s signature lion’s head, while the flying tourbillon cage is decorated with a 0.18-carat solitaire diamond with 65 facets positioned at the very centre. The bezel, crown and hands are further set with scintillating diamonds to bedazzle and bewitch.
The J12 Tourbillon Diamant is available in matte black ceramic and steel or in glossy ceramic and 18K white gold, each limited to 55 pieces.
Mademoiselle Coco Chanel herself makes an appearance on three new J12 creations, all three of which are limited to 55 pieces each.
Mademoiselle J12 La Pausa features the silhouette of Gabrielle Chanel, dressed in a Breton top and sailor pants, with her arms acting as the hour and minute hands on the dial. The cartoon depiction is inspired by a photo taken of her in her garden at La Pausa, her villa on the French Riviera. In an exclusive all-black iteration with a white baguette diamond bezel, this is the first Mademoiselle J12 that’s equipped with the Calibre 12.1. The movement comes with a power reserve of 70 hours The 38mm watch is water-resistant to 50 metres.
The Mademoiselle J12 XS is the most mischievous out of the three novelties, showcasing the founder of the house clinging to the 19mm watch case in the form of white gold and black lacquer figurine. She wears a two-tone straw hat accentuated with a brilliant-cut diamond.
The J12 Gabrielle Calibre 3.1 shows a more classic illustration of Gabrielle Chanel, dressed in typical black and wearing strings of pearls. Like a framed painting, the all-black ceramic watch has a diamond bezel. The manual winding Calibre 3.1 beating within comes with a power reserve of 55 hours. The 38mm watch is water-resistant to 30 metres.
J12 Black Star
You could say Chanel has mastered the use of ceramic since the debut of the J12 in 2000. This year, the brand takes ceramic to new heights, elevating it to the ranks of gemstones with the release of the J12 Black Star, equipped with the Calibre 12.1.
In pure, unalloyed black, the watch is set all over with ceramic baguettes to spectacular effect. Beautifully graphic and boldly unconventional, the J12 Black Star is sure to shake up all the classic codes of watch design. The J12 Black Star is numbered and limited to 12 pieces.
Chanel Red Edition Collection
Moving away from the chic black and white palette, Chanel presents too, the power of red in the Red Edition Collection.
Gabrielle Chanel used to say, “If you’re sad or heartbroken, make yourself up, dress up, add more lipstick and attack” – red was for the bold, the powerful and the confident, an accent to assert yourself on any occasion.
Chastaingt, in this capsule collection, uses red as an accent in several of Chanel timepieces, including the J12 X-Ray. The X-Ray was first debuted in 2020, a revolutionary timepiece that highlighted the concept of transparency by using pure crystal sapphire for its case and bracelet links. The J12 X-Ray Red Edition Rouge is the same watch, but with accents in red on the bezel (set with 46 baguette-cut rubies) and hour markers. The piece is numbered and limited to 12 pieces.
The Boy.Friend Skeleton Red Edition and the Boy.Friend Skeleton X-Ray Red Edition complete the trio. The Calibre 3 is revealed in full finesse, displaying its interlocking circular design both in the front and back. The accents in red on the movement are exceptionally striking and further emboldened with red embossed leather straps. The Boy.Friend Skeleton Red Edition, in an 18K beige gold case, is limited to 55 pieces, while the X-Ray version, with a crystal sapphire case and bezel, is limited to 100 pieces.
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This story first appeared on Prestige Online Hong Kong.