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.
For the queen who will spare no cost, this regal unique piece timepiece bears some 12.55 carats of pink diamonds and 33.16 carats of diamonds, including the 57 baguette-cut diamonds found on its oscillating weight for the ultimate decadence. Also available in a limited edition 33mm quartz version of just five pieces.
Designed for the fun-loving stylista, this playful number comes with a dangling charm of Mademoiselle Chanel, encrusted with 224 diamonds. Another 46 baguette-cut diamonds sits on the bezel to ensure optimal bling factor. Limited to just 20 pieces for each colour.
Those with an artistic inclination will love the J12.20 Enamel. Released in a limited edition of just 5 pieces in each colour, this timepiece features a champlevé enamel motifs dial (set with 20 brilliant-cut diamonds) with patterns that extend to its bezel. It’s oscillating weight is also set with 34 more diamonds.
A closer look at the doodle-inspired motif of the J12.20 Enamel timepiece.
Or for people looking for a slightly cleaner look, there’s the J12.20 in 33mm and 38mm, released in a limited edition of 2,020 pieces.
Statement-makers will love the J12 X-Ray, which takes playing peekaboo to a whole new level. Its case, dial and bracelet are crafted out of sapphire crystal for the utmost transparency – all the better to see the in-house Manufacture skeleton movement, Calibre 3.1, that it’s equipped with. Forty-six diamonds sit on its bezel. Available in a limited edition of just 12 pieces.
Staunch minimalists will fall in love with the J12 Paradoxe, thanks to its clever construct that offers a seemingly seamless marriage of black and white ceramic. A stylish optical illusion that warrants a second (and third) glance.
Or for a more opulent take on the J12 Paradoxe, there’s the Paradoxe Diamond which offers the same effect but with 87 baguette-cut diamonds on its name. This comes in a limited edition of 20-pieces.
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