Chanel certainly introduced headline-grabbing watches at the 2022 Watches & Wonders luxury watch fair held in March. However, not to be overlooked is the new J12 33mm women’s watch, a solid three-hand timepiece that combines Chanel’s most iconic watch design with high-quality mechanics.
The watch cases and bracelets are available in black or white ceramic, a material known for its durability and scratch resistance. As a proper sports watch, the case is water resistant to 200 meters.
While it has the signature looks of a watch that has been produced for more than two decades, the true innovation is inside with the caliber 12.2, the first automatic movement for the J12 33mm watch. To create this new caliber, watchmakers took the award-winning caliber 12.1 created for the J12 38mm in 2019, and either reduced the size, reshaped or relocated every one of its 174 components for the smaller sized case.
The caliber was designed in Paris by Arnaud Chastaingt, director of the Chanel Watchmaking Creation Studio, then developed and assembled at the Swiss Manufacture Kenissi, co-owned by Chanel in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, one of the Swiss watchmaking centers. The caliber is chronometer certified by COSC, the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute, and has a power reserve of 50 hours.
Visible through the sapphire crystal caseback, the caliber 12.2 is decorated and endowed with an oscillating weight in the form of a perfect circle, the signature of Chanel Watchmaking.
The J12 collection was created in 2000 by Jacques Helleu, the former longtime artistic director of Chanel. Helleu designed it for himself, according to the fashion house, as a timeless, sporty and all black timepiece. His inspiration came from automobiles and sailing. He greatly admired the chassis lines of racing cars and, above all, the regal silhouettes of the America’s Cup racing class, the J12, which would become its name.
As it did two years ago with the J12 introductions, Chanel presented the new collection through a series of short videos starring models, Giedre Dukauskaite and Mona Tougaard, who explained the highlights of the watches in the collection.