On the eve of its 20th anniversary, the Chanel J12 renews itself, never changing the identity that led to its success. After all, an icon does not change. It only adapts to the passing time.

Inspired by the nobility of America’s Cup sailboat silhouettes, the first J12 saw the light of day through the hand of Jacques Helleu, Chanel’s artistic director, in 2000. Dressed in black ceramic, the Maison’s new watch has revolutionized pre-established watch codes, presenting itself as a unisex sports model, water resistant to 200 meters and incredibly sturdy, thanks to the use of high-tech ceramics.

Three years after its release, it returned to the limelight, now in full white. Since then, numerous technical and jewelery variations have followed, from the J12 Tourbillon (2005) to the J12 Caliber 3125, equipped with an Audemars Piguet automatic movement tailored exclusively for Chanel (2008), to the 2010 Mysterious Retrograde J12.

Now, on the eve of the 20th anniversary, Arnaud Chastaingt, director of Chanel’s Watchmaker Creative Studio, offers J12 a revamp, keeping the identity behind its success untouched. Aesthetically speaking, the new J12 looks exactly the same, with slight updates. Available in a 38 mm case in black or white ceramic, the 2019 model features lacquered dials to match the case material.

To increase the opening of the dial, the bezel was refined, while the typography of Arabic numerals and indexes was redrawn. Applied to the dial, they are now ceramic. The width of the crown was reduced and the ceramic cabochon slightly flattened. The thickness of the case has increased slightly, but the silhouette of the J12 remains fluid. Finally, the ceramic bracelet has been subtly restructured, featuring longer links.


But the big change is the new 12.1 caliber, an automatic movement with 70 hours of power reserve and COSC-certified visible through the sapphire case back. Designed and developed exclusively for Chanel by KENISSI, the new heart of the J12 features an oscillating tungsten mass whose design is that of a perfect circle, one of the Haute Horlogerie Maisongraphic signatures.