In February, Chanel first made clear its intentions to seriously celebrate the 20th birthday of its horological icon, the J12, when it unveiled three exceptional editions, including one with a case and bracelet crafted from sapphire crystal. Now that we are more than halfway through the year, the Parisian luxury house has released the latest celebratory versions of its signature ceramic watch, which started a trend for timepieces made from the lightweight material after its introduction in 2000.
The latest watches, named J12∙20, are – in a word – adorable. There are three different versions – a 38mm enamel automatic model (this is also the most high-end of the trio), a 38mm automatic model, and a 33mm quartz model. The three models feature varying takes on a pattern comprising a jumble of 20 Chanel motifs: These include a 2.55 bag, a camellia, a tweed jacket and a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume. Think Where’s Wally?, but luxe.
Let’s start from the top: Available in a highly limited edition of just five pieces each, in black or white ceramic, the haute-horlogerie edition of the J12∙20 features an enamelled, all-over version of the pattern. Aside from spotting the Chanel icons, you can also play “spot the diamonds”: There are 20 brilliant-cut diamonds scattered “randomly” across the dial and the bezel. And there’s more where that came from – aside from a diamond on the white-gold crown, there are 34 more of these brilliant-cut sparklers on the rotor of the movement. Speaking of which, its movement is the COSC-certified calibre 12.1 made by Genevan movement maker Kenissi, which Chanel owns a 20 per cent stake in.
Considering the very limited numbers in which the enamelled version is being produced, though, most interested buyers would probably have better luck with either the 38mm automatic version, or the 33mm quartz edition. One of the key differences between these and the Enamel version is that here, the jumbled-motif pattern is rhodium-plated and polished, and there’s also a bit less of it. Each model is available in a limited edition of 2,020 pieces, and both watches are available only in white ceramic. Despite their different sizes, both models feature 12 diamonds on their dials totalling about 0.03 carats.
Last but not least, all these timepieces feature metallised reminders of their limited nature on their sapphire casebacks. After all, the year’s troubles aside, there’s really quite a nice ring to marking a 20th anniversary in 2020.