If there’s one positive thing to come from the lockdown it’s the launch of Chanel’s 20th anniversary celebratory timepiece – the J12.20. The J12 collection marked the introduction of black ceramic. Since then it has remained one of the most iconic watch designs, breaking boundaries in material research and development. Looking to build on this special reputation, the J12.20, although similar in feel to the original J12 design, boasts dramatic dial decoration and distinct contemporary elegance.
Chanel describes the launch of the new Channel J12.20 white ceramic limited edition watch as a custom-made dress for the J12 to commemorate a very special birthday. The white ceramic timepiece is adorned with symbols of Chanel’s past. Design director Arnaud Chastaingt explains “At first glance, the J12∙20 shows a diagonal line of silvery motifs intertwined with the original design of the dial and the bezel. If you look closer though, the eye can make out a mosaic of 20 stylized symbols, a microcosm of Chanel codes to crack”.
He extends on the use of these symbols (which include the likes of Gabrielle, Comète, N°5 and Camelia), revealing the concept behind the design of the dial is intended to communicate an eclectic mix of messages from the company’s history. “I did this by gathering together the House’s great symbols. Almost obsessively, I drew a fresco that was a random aggregate of Chanel symbols. It was a graphic illustration comprised of camellias, pearls, thimbles, diamonds, comets, lions and lots of other things. The motifs seem to have an erratic balance, but in a structured composition”.
This month the special edition watch is set to become the star of a digital campaign. There are just 2020 of these limited-edition models available worldwide. These Chanel House references and emblems, although unique additions to the design, still manage to remain true to the original style of the J12. Like all limited edition watches, however, there are subtle differences to be admired. The reimagined model has highly resistant ceramic numerals and the enhanced dial is larger, surrounded by a refined crown and bezel.
The J12.20 carries through the same racing yacht-inspired design influenced by the America’s Cup. The 21st Century timepiece is intended by watchmakers at Chanel’s manufacturing house to encourage a sense of liberation and a classic, contemporary elegance when worn. The Chanel J12.20 white ceramic limited edition model is powered by a movement that won the company an award for the Ladies category at the 2019 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. The Calibre 12.1 is a self-winding mechanical movement with a power reserve of 70 hours. Beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour, the engine performs behind a specially engraved caseback bearing the lettering; “20 YEARS. LIMITED TO 2020”.
The case of the Chanel J12.20 limited edition is developed from a mix of stainless steel and ceramic for a highly corrosion-resistant finish. A ceramic cabochon is also adorned to the top of the steel screw-down crown. It is, however, the smooth, almost liquid-like polish of the ceramic’s surface that makes a J12 watch so appealing to wear. This model is completed on a white ceramic bracelet, securing with a stainless steel triple folding buckle for maximum comfort.
The rhodium-plated motifs on the dial are certainly the star of the show. They combine with polished Arabic numerals around the hour track and an inner minute scale that circles the heart of the dial, where a set of white lacquered minute, second and hour hands parade the display with an air of sophistication. Paying tribute to the ocean-ready design of the Chanel J12, this limited edition compromises on nothing. Its case is integrated with impressive 200-meter water resistance and features a white ceramic unidirectional rotating bezel. The feature will come in handy for measuring elapsed time underwater. The rhodium-plated motifs seen on the dial continue onto the surface of the bezel, completing a striking look and opening up the size of the display even further. Lastly, this 38mm J12.20 limited edition white ceramic watch features a total of 12 diamonds embedded into the surface of the dial. Each one catches the light, adding glimmers of scintillation as movement is created.
With an in-house movement developed especially for the J12 itself, this diamond-adorned limited edition watch successfully embodies the company’s pioneering spirit. Illustrating its storied past through emblems and motifs, the timepiece is both a collectable and a robust water-friendly tool for the sporty lady.
You can discover more about the Chanel J12-20 limited edition watch here.