Since its appearance on our wrists 20 years ago, Chanel’s emblematic J12 has achieved no small feat in remaining on any fashionable wrist. It has managed to stay current, relevant and cool without “selling out” in any way. Even after last year’s makeover (where the bezel was refined, typography redesigned and thickness of case increased slightly), Chanel’s J12 has remained thoroughly faithful to its gleaming black originator of 2000, to the point that the collection bears instant identification at a split-second glance, no matter the year of its make.
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This in itself is not a fact that should surprise anyone. We are talking about a House that has proven time and again that it’s gotten the “timeless icon” formula down pat—from its tweed jackets and No 5 perfume of the 1920s, to the baby of the pack, its beloved 2.55 bags first introduced in 1955. And much like the emblematic designs that came before it, the J12 too is an absolute game-changer.
While the J12 was hardly the first watch that employed ceramics to its use (it’s a fact that’s too often told), it was the watch that spawned a whole market of accessible ceramic watches. A less touted fact is that the watch played an active part in changing the way the horology industry viewed ceramics, a material now so commonplace in luxury timepieces. The first all ceramic watch to be produced by a luxury fashion brand, the J12 blurred the boundaries between trendy fashion watches and respectable serious ones with glee; and carved itself a place in the hallowed halls of horology. (Of course, Chanel’s stakes in Swiss watch brand F.P. Journe and automatic movement manufacturer, Kenissi, do help the cause somewhat.)
Two decades later and it’s clear that the House has no plans to slow down with its iconoclast timepiece. For its 20th anniversary, Chanel has unveiled an encompassing line up that speaks to every style within the minimalist-maximalist spectrum. Have a look through the gallery below and see which you’d pick.
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