In Chanel’s world, the J12 series is to its watches as N ° 5 is to its perfume.
Chanel launched two new editions of its J12 line, the 365 and Flying Tourbillon, in Baselworld 2014. A dramatic, impressionist series of black and white commercials advertise the latest creations without showing a glimpse of a watch. Nonetheless, Chanel, as always, impresses its quality on its viewers.
The near-diamond-hard ceramic case and chain are the first features Chanel emphasizes in its J12s. The case balances a uniquely delicate porcelain feel, obtained with a diamond powder polishing, with high scratch-resistance. And the limited edition J12 White Phantom, launched in 2003, featured a charming color, earning it the nickname of the “Milk Watch.”
In 14 years, Chanel has never stopped updating the J12 line. What was originally a sports watch, named after America’s Cup J Class yachts, now glitters with inlaid jewels and offers a tourbillon, moon phases, and a 30-minute counter. But, even as the J12 appears on the wrists of more and more fashion-forward women, movie and TV stars, it keeps its sporty jauntiness with such elements as a round dial, square pointer, and outstanding water-resistance.
This year Chanel equipped a flying tourbillon into the J12 for the first time. The tourbillon, custom-designed for Chanel by Audemars Piguet features a comet, Coco Chanel’s good luck charm, on the axis at 6:00. It’s a difficult placement for an irregular pentagonal shape that seems to float in zero gravity.
No matter how much Chanel’s watchmaking is breakthrough, for people who own the J12, it’s like all other classics — purses, jewelry or N° 5. They quietly accompany their owners every day, until they become virtually inseparable.