The Chanel Mademoiselle J12 was – in my opinion – one of the highlights of Baselworld 2017. In a high-tech ceramic case, the dial has a jaunty illustration of Mademoiselle Coco Chanel, on a sapphire glass disc, with her arms acting as hour and minute hands. The graphic design and the seamless execution give this piece great charm. It’s a versatile piece, with unidirectional rotating bezel, and a 200-metre water resistance rating.
30 years of Chanel watches
Chanel has been making watches for just 30 years – it presented its first in October 1987, and so this is an anniversary year – and the brand has developed a great deal of personality. From the start, everything has been developed and designed in-house. The J12 was first presented in 2000, and it was perhaps the first watch in which ceramic was used as a high-tech, precious material. The other brand that specialized in ceramic at about the same time was Rado.
555 pieces of each colour
The watch is available in black and white versions, each a limited edition of 555 pieces. The number derives from 5 which was always Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s lucky number. She said to her perfumer, who had created a series of scent samples for a new fragrance, “I present my dress collections on the fifth of May, the fifth month of the year, and so we will let this sample number five keep the name it has already, it will bring good luck.” It became Chanel No. 5.
Excellent water resistance
The case is 38 mm in diameter, in high-tech ceramic and steel, with a bracelet in the same high-tech ceramic with steel folding buckle. The crown has a ceramic cabochon, and it is screw-down, helping give the watch a water resistance of 200 metres. So it’s perfect anywhere, in the rain, on a boat, even for a swim. The steel caseback is set with one brilliant-cut diamond. The movement is self-winding, with a 42-hour power reserve. Presumably not in-house: Chanel presented its first in-house movement in 2016, with another this year, but not on this watch.
Price and availability
The Chanel Mademoiselle J12 costs €6,900, £5,900, in both its white and black versions. It will be available from June 2017.