Brilliance, Reincarnated

Brilliance, Reincarnated

With new calibre and redesigned typography, the famous watch by Chanel gets a makeover.

You may know them best for their bags, their shoes, and their chic tweed jackets, but Chanel has consistently been upping the ante in the watch industry over the past few years. This year is no different. For 2019, Chanel is re-launching their popular J12 model on its 20th anniversary. 

The Beginning
In 2000, when the first black ceramic model was presented, no one expected such a tidal wave. Its powerful design and the freshness of the look that is both modern and unexpected marked the spirits for a long time. Let’s just say that the J12 watch is consistently hailed as the first watch icon of the 21st century. Gabrielle Chanel would have probably adored it, being someone who borrowed the timepieces of her lovers and swore by the 
unusual watches which were solid and beautiful.

The History
The story of the J12 watch is well known. Jacques Helleu, artistic director of Chanel, confessed that first of all, he wanted to create this watch for himself. He wanted a timeless, shiny black indestructible watch that could evoke both automotive masterpieces and memories of America’s Cup. The name of the watch is inspired by the world of sailboats, more precisely the famous Class J. 

The Newness
Arnaud Chastaingt, Director, Chanel at the watchmaking creative studio, chose to change everything without changing anything. Starting with the refining of the dial and the bezel, the figures and indexes were recreated and the width of the crown was reduced. The ceramic cabochon was flattened too. The most spectacular part of the new calibre 12.1 is the automatic movement designed and developed by the new Swiss manufacturer Kenissi, which is the sister brand of Rolex.  At the core, the Chanel J12 is inspired by the silhouettes of racing yachts from the America’s Cup. This year’s versions feature new J12 movement. A Chanel-exclusive self-winding movement, the J12’s mechanics can be seen through the back side of the watch.

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja is a feature writer at L'Officiel India. She is a silver jewellery hoarder and an aesthete of all arts. You can find her unraveling new stories day in and day out.