It’s been 22 years since Chanel launched the emblematic J12 sports watch, which featured high tech ceramic and an aesthetic that’s become iconic for the brand. The collection comes in multiple sizes, including 38mm and 33mm, and this is the first time the standard 33mm variant gets an automatic calibre (following a limited edition). It’s a proprietary engine from Kenissi, a movement manufacturer partially owned by Chanel and Tudor (and delivering brands like Norqain), and it has both a unique design and COSC-certification. 38mm models already have the Calibre 12.1 automatic from Kenissi, so the smaller siblings are now at the same level for Watches and Wonders Geneva 2022.
The 33mm case is polished ceramic in black or white, which brings different personalities within a monochromatic palette. The unidirectional rotating bezel is steel with a varnished sapphire crystal insert in black or white, and markings are limited to a simple 60-minute scale with Arabic numerals every 15 minutes. A sapphire crystal protects the dial and a sapphire exhibition case back is secured via four screws. The steel screw-down crown has a colour-matching ceramic cabochon and is surrounded by integrated guards, and water resistance is rated at 200 metres. The watch comes with a removable ceramic bracelet with a stainless steel triple folding clasp.
Chanel is known for its fine lacquered dials and the new J12 models are no exception. Presented in black or white, the dials have large Arabic numerals in black or white ceramic for contrast (black on white or white on black). A perimeter minute track and small hour track within the numerals allow for precise timekeeping. The hour, minute and lollipop seconds hands have Super-LumiNova inserts. The aesthetics are nigh identical to the 38mm models with the same overall specs, so the 33mm watches have essentially caught up to their larger counterparts with the proprietary movement.
Powering the Chanel J12 33mm is the Kenissi Calibre 12.2 automatic. This is a big upgrade from prior Chanel autos like the ETA 2892 and is chronometer-certified by the COSC. It beats at 28,800vph (4Hz) and has a 50-hour power reserve, which is a bit less than the 70 hours from the 38mm J12 Calibre 12.1. Seen from the exhibition case back, it’s well finished with an eye-catching open-worked rotor with the main element being a perfect circle, the signature of Chanel watchmaking. It’s a time-only movement with functions limited to central hours, minutes and seconds.
Designed in Paris and then developed/assembled in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, the Chanel J12 33mm Calibre 12.2 continues the familiar look of the 33mm collection with major under-the-hood improvements. Price and availability to be confirmed. For more information, please visit Chanel’s website.