10TH ANNIVERSARY CHANEL J12 WHITE
Not too long ago, being stylish and fashionable in
the world of “serious” high-end watchmaking counted for nothing. Mechanical merits were valued
over design virtues, and heaven forbid if watch brands attempted to marry both – until the Chanel J12 White came along and changed everything.
When the timepiece debuted, sceptics (read: Narrow-minded technical watch buffs) saw it as just another flashy watch from a luxury fashion house. Little did they guess that the J12 White, named for its all-white ceramic cloak, would inspire a paradigm shift and spawn a host of imitators, including several
old-school watchmaking companies. Unapologetically stylish and in-your-face, the watch’s pristine glamour caught on quickly. An instant icon that has since become emblematic
of Chanel’s design-driven edge in modern watchmaking, the J12 White remains a best-seller coveted by style-meisters and watch lovers alike. More importantly, the watch’s phenomenal success demonstrated to other watch brands, especially those that remained entrenched in form-versus-function conundrums, that it was perfectly all right for their
watches to look chic. That’s not to say that the J12 White is all flash and no substance. Its all-white case and bracelet are made of high-tech ceramic, a material that is lightweight, yet extremely hard (only sapphire and diamond are harder). High-tech ceramic is also extremely resistant to thermal shocks, corrosive chemicals and scratches – hard-performing virtues that belie its sensual shade and silky feel. In the past decade, the collection also grew to include technically complex models such as the 12-piece limited-edition tourbillon range from 2005, and a piece-unique complication featuring
a retrograde minute and tourbillon movement created exclusively for Chanel by movement-making
specialist Renaud & Papi. To celebrate its 10th year, Chanel marches out the J12 White Phantom limited edition (see previous page). Featuring all-white hour numerals against a like-coloured dial, it comes in two sizes – 33mm with quartz movement and 38mm with automatic movement – each capped at 2,000 pieces. The white brigade is also well-represented by other non-limited-edition models, from bejewelled
versions set with baguette diamonds or blue sapphires, to the sporty Superleggera chronograph that boasts COSC-certified movement
for high precision.
J12 White High Jewellery 38mm 18K white gold and white high-tech ceramic, matching bracelet set with 520 baguettecut diamonds, mother- of- pearl- dial set with 12 baguette- cut diamonds, white gold crown set with 1 brilliant- cut diamond,
and automatic movement.
J12 White Superleggera Chronograph 41mm 18K white high-tech ceramic, matching bracelet, and COSC
certified automatic chronograph movement.