Let’s be honest: The popularity of high-tech ceramic sports watches among women today would not have happened had it not been for the J12. Launched in 2000, the introduction of a sleek and polished athletic timepiece by a fashion house made women rethink their attitudes towards that style. Never mind that the material – sought after for its hardiness which is close to diamond and the fact that it does not oxidise nor scratch – has been an industry standard since the ’80s.
Its success (it’s one of the most copied watch designs today) has something to do with the masculine yet timeless aesthetic. The inspirations Chanel’s late artistic director Jacques Helleu and his team cited while worked on the timepiece ranged from the sleek lines of a sail boat owned by former Fiat boss Giovanni Agnelli to the the brake lining of fighter jets.
The renditions throughout the years, meanwhile, highlight its appeal and horology cred. To name a few: there was the hipster outing with the J12-G10 in 2014 which was inspired by Nato straps, the Chromatic edition with its titanium/ceramic gunmetal finish in 2011, and collaborations with Audemars Piguet.
Fast forward to 2016, and the newest rendition of the J12 reinvents the idea of a sports watch as a fashionable accessory. Launching this month at the Chanel Fine Jewellery boutique at Ngee Ann City, the 14-piece strong collection (from $7,200) comprises non-jewellery and high jewellery models, with the latter produced as one-off pieces worldwide. Here, we list the 101 on the new J12:
#1: Its called the J12.XS.
The name is a nod to the downsized 19mm case diameter – its daintiest interpretation of the J12 ever.
#2: It’s still a ceramic timepiece.
Like all J12s, this one is encased in high-tech ceramic. The strap comes in sleek patent leather or matte calfskin for a more feminine look.
#3: But it’s not just a watch.
That’s because each piece is mounted on one of these accessories: a cuff, a bracelet, gloves, or a singet ring (above).
#4: There are non-jewellery and high jewellery versions.
The former comprise calfskin cuffs (below), fingerless gloves and a multi-coil bracelet. The latter? More dramatic pieces like a long glove that reaches the elbow or bejewelled and embroidered cuffs.
#5: You can separate the watches from their accessories.
Other than the multi-coil bracelet and the ring, every watch can be unbuckled from the respective accessory they are mounted on and worn on their own.
#6: The variety is huge.
Think 14 individual designs (see below).
#7: The high jewellery models are unique.
What makes the 11 bejewelled designs in this range more special is the fact that only one is created worldwide for each piece.
#8: And they’re couture, too.
Chanel roped in the expertise of two of its ateliers – the leather glove maker Maisson Causse and embroidery experts Lesage – for the high jewellery range.
#9: Maisson Causse is behind the gloves.
Its the same company that makes the ones for Kaiser Karl. For the J12.XS, it created a limited run of 150 pairs of fingerless gloves (above), plus one unique pair of long gloves.
#10: The embroidery on the watches are by Lesage.
Lesage adorned glass beads and sequins on six cuffs to mimic the exotic skins of alligators, pythons and sharks.
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