Even 21 years on from its debut, the Chanel J12 remains one of the most recognisable and fashionable designer timepieces around with its distinctively sporty aesthetic in slick, highly resistant ceramic (its various models – be they classic or novel – regularly sell out).
J12 Paradoxe Watch Calibre 12.1 in ceramic and steel, Ultra 18K white gold ring with black ceramic (on ring finger) and matching ring with white ceramic (on index finger). All watches and jewellery throughout, Chanel Fine Jewellery
Take for instance the J12 Paradoxe. It raises the bar by fusing for the first time both black and white ceramic on a single watch across its dial and bezel, creating a truly graphic-looking duotone rendition.
J12 Paradoxe Watch Calibre 12.1 in ceramic and steel. Tweed jacket, Chanel
To create the J12 Paradoxe, ceramic in the two colours has to be cut clean – a technological feat in itself considering how scratch-resistant the material is. A high level of meticulousness is needed to assemble the two segments and the caseback seamlessly together.
Meanwhile, the bezel gets the same monochrome effect through a process called tampography, which first colours it black before rendering two-thirds of it white. Cat got your tongue?
J12 Watch Calibre 12.1 in ceramic, steel and diamonds, and Coco Crush 18K white gold large ring (top) and matching mini ring with diamonds. Jersey top, Chanel
The original J12 was considered radical for its all-black finish, only to start a trend that would become an industry standard. History would repeat itself three years later in 2003 when the brand launched the more feminine though no less cool all-white version. Both styles remain brand emblems and bestsellers.
J12 Watch Calibre 12.1 in ceramic and steel. Satin pumps, Chanel
As a testament to the watch’s modernity: The first and only updates to the J12 – a new movement, a refined crown and indexes made of ceramic – were introduced only in 2019.
Guess its design is what some might call purrfect.
Photography Stefan Khoo, assisted by Alif Coordination Noelle Loh Videography Phyllicia Wang Video Editing Alicia Chong Styling Damian Huang, assisted by Jasmine Ashvinkumar Hair & Makeup Sha Shamsi, using Chanel Beauty & Keune Nails Zima/Auum The Honest Nail Spa, using Ecogel Model Caen/Mannequin Cat Jobi
A version of this article first appeared in FEMALE‘s June 2021 Fashion Activity Book