THE ART OF DETAIL
With its simple name – a capital letter coupled with a number – the J12 has symbolised the modern sports-style watch since its launch in 2000. The ceramic model is made for both men and women and has taken on a new lease of life with a redesigned shape and a new automatic mechanism.
There is nothing harder for a designer than to work on an existing piece, and the task becomes even more perilous when it is an icon like the J12, first launched in 2000 in a black version, then released in white three years later. And yet, Arnaud Chastaingt, the director at Chanel’s watch design studio, has risen to the challenge with panache, since the aesthetic changes made to the new J12 are very discreet. Discreet, but wonderfully apt. You just need to place the two watches side by side to notice the differences.
The J12 is available in a Phantom version, where the time elements blend in with the white or black ceramics, and a version with indices set with 12 diamonds.
Price: 5,300 EUR (classic version) – 5,500 EUR (“Phantom“ version) – 6,500 EUR (version with diamond indices)
By Sharmila Bertin
DELICATE EMBROIDERY AND DAZZLING DIAMONDS
With its “Chanel to death” look as Karl Lagerfeld would say, this watch on a diamond-covered black cuff by Maison Lesage will be up for auction at 2017’s Only Watch.
Fifty-odd unique pieces by the best watchmakers all for one cause: to raise funds to help research Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a genetic degenerative muscle disease. Only Watch puts on an auction to raise funds to make progress in science every two years. One of the brands involved is Chanel that’s unveiling the result of its watch department’s collaboration with Maison Lesage, the famous artisan embroidery studio owned by the Chanel group. Like most of the timepieces by the Parisian brand, the J12 XS Only Watch 2017 is both a watch and a piece of jewellery.
The mini J12 sits on a hand-sewn cuff embellished with little black glass beads all bevelled with a silver calfskin rim. Two glossy black leather straps wrap around the cuff and the black ceramic case. The small 19mm case is topped by a notched bezel whose inner rim glitters with 24 baguette-cut diamonds (0.52 carat); the crown is also paved by a diamond (0.05 carat).
The J12 XS Only Watch 2017 black onyx dial features two white gold hands tracking the hours and minutes.
A white gold buckle clasp and two loops glittering with 9 and 10 baguette-cut diamonds respectively (0.14 and 0.2 carat) secure this unique piece by Chanel to the wrist.
Estimate: €35,000 onlywatch.com
By Sharmila Bertin
WHAT TIME IS IT PLEASE, MONSIEUR?
Frequently acknowledged for its creations honouring ladies, this time round the Parisian house has created its highly-technical yet totally-designer Monsieur with a male audience in mind.
This Chanel-imagined, discreetly-named Monsieur represents a first major breakthrough in watchmaking expertise. And if ever the wish was to impress, well, you might as well go for a piece that features a rather unconventional time display and incomparable style, yet reiterates a few of the Parisian house’s design codes.
Monsieur embraces the calibre 1, developed in Chanel’s Swiss watchmaking studios, a hand-wound, mechanical movement that offers a 72-hour power reserve and hosts two complications greatly appreciated by men: a jumping hour and retrograde minute. The mechanism is centre staged through the sapphire-crystal caseback. The 40 mm-diameter case is proposed in a choice of beige gold – an elegantly, soft-toned alloy, created by Chanel – or white gold.
The superbly ivory silvered dial plays with textures and volumes to perfection. The upper segment of the grainy-effect disc has been carved to cradle the circular contours of the retrograde minute counter. This counter is completed by a 0 to 90 black-figured graduation. The jumping hour, visible through a large-framed, screw-finished aperture at 6 o’clock, evokes the silhouette of the world-famous Chanel N°5 perfume bottle. The running seconds, nestling between the minute tracker and the hours, is slightly off-centred towards 6 o’clock and is decorated with circular striations. Monsieur’s hands are covered with beige gold or white gold depending on the model chosen.
A black alligator leather strap with ardillon buckle adds the finishing touch to this timepiece.
Given that Monsieur is called Monsieur, it goes without saying that this piece will undoubtedly appeal to the Chanel woman who, like Mademoiselle with her penchant for jersey garments traditionally created for the gents, adores appropriating masculine to make it feminine.
Price: CHF 32,350 (beige gold) – CHF 33,900 (white gold)
By Sharmila Bertin
A bouquet of three camellias – Coco’s favourite flower and a symbol of loyalty and happiness – glittering in white gold and diamonds: this is Chanel’s contribution to the Only Watch auction on November 7th in Geneva whose funds will go to supporting the battle against Duchenne muscular dystrophy. All the expertise of the Maison Lesage, founded in 1924, has gone into the beige silk dial, a truly delicate flower bed bursting with three blossoming camellias. Each buxom bloom’s silky hand-embroidered petals unfurl to unveil a natural pearl. The mother-of-pearl gleam of these precious inflorescences is elevated by the row of 60 brilliant-cut diamonds (1 carat) rimming the 37.5 white gold case. The understated time display features two leaf-shape hands which track the hours and minutes at 4.30. Unique piece – www.onlywatch.com
Is there anything sexier than a woman wearing a man’s shirt or watch? This blend of masculine and feminine style may seem normal to us today but it certainly wasn’t in the early 20th century when Gabrielle Chanel freed women’s bodies by dressing them in jersey, commonly used in men’s underwear. The tomboy look isn’t just for your wardrobe as it’s now capturing the Chanel woman’s wrist in a loving embrace. This Boy Friend has an oversize (37×28.6mm) rectangular case with edgy corners reminiscent of the Première timepiece and the iconic N°5 stopper. It is available in beige gold with/without 66 diamonds on the bezel or diamond-paved white gold. It houses a manual wind movement which brings the understated dial’s hour and minute hands (in the centre) and small seconds (at 6 o’ clock) to life. Price: 14,100 CHF (beige gold), 24,800 CHF (diamond beige gold), 26,950 CHF (diamond white gold)
The NATO or G10 (the order form code) strap was designed in 1973 for the British MOD and is famous for its resistance and staying power. The wide grey nylon strap has loops and is long enough to be worn over military uniform. The NATO strap has experienced a boom in civil watchmaking over the last 5 years and been so popular that you can now see it wrapped around the J12 case. We’re talking Chanel here so, naturally, the NATO strap is in large-scale black alligator with two brilliant-cut diamond-covered loops. The gems echo the 53 diamonds on the steel bezel and 8 indices dotted around the grey steel dial. The 33mm diamond-dust polished ceramic and titanium case houses a quartz movement which brings to life the hour, minute and second functions in the heart of the dial. Price: 16,450 CHF
The first rays of sunshine are ringing in spring so it’s time to think about your summer wardrobe: a touch of blue light glitters on the white version of the J12. Blue Light is its name and poetically pays tribute to azure with twelve sky blue Arab numerals and luminescent hour and minute hands in striking contrast with the shiny milky dial. A subtle display houses the date at 4.30. The white ceramic case, available in a 33mm and 38mm diameter, is surrounded by a unidirectional rotating steel bezel with a ceramic band. It houses a self-winding mechanical movement which controls the date, the hour, minute and second hands in the centre and the 42 hour power reserve. The J12 Blue Light white ceramic strap also has a steel folding clasp. Price: 4,650 CHF (33mm) and 5,100 CHF (38mm)