Chanel Introduces the J12 Paradoxe

Dramatically cool.

Having given the J12 a thorough revamp last year, Chanel has just dropped the most astonishing iteration of its signature watch in the lead-up to Baselworld 2020 – the J12 Paradoxe.

Conceived to mark the 20th anniversary of the iconic watch, the J12 Paradoxe looks like a digitally doctored timepiece at first glance. In fact, the stock images of the watch would pass for an abstract J12 ad.

But J12 Paradoxe is actually two-tone – two thirds of the case in white ceramic and the remainder in black ceramic. Rely on the same concept but more valuable materials, Chanel is also rolling out the uber-extravagant J12 Paradoxe Diamonds combining black ceramic, white gold, and diamonds.

While ceramic is about four times harder than steel, the hardness makes it brittle and delicate to machine, making a ceramic watch case slightly more challenging to fabricate than the same in steel. Produced by G&F Chatelain, the buckle and case-maker owned by Chanel, the case is essentially two sections of ceramic anchored to an inner steel frame.

Each section is secured to the frame with two screws, which are visible on the back of the watch. And the movement is also contained with the frame. Because of the multi-part construction of the case, the water resistance is 50 m, instead of the 200 m of the standard J12 that has a single-piece ceramic case.

The dial and bezel insert continue the colours of the case, but each component is a single piece that’s been treated to create a two-colour finish. The steel bezel is first pad-printed black, followed by white on top, and then covered by a scratch-resistant, clear sapphire insert. Similarly, the dial is lacquered in white and a narrow strip of black.

Diamond paradox

Limited to a mere 20 watches, the diamond-set version hews to the same style, but with a slightly different construction. The inner case is made of 18k white gold and clad with black ceramic across two thirds of its width, while the balance is set with baguette-cut diamonds. All of the hour markers are also baguette-cut diamonds, while the crown is topped with a brilliant-cut diamond cabochon.

Kenissi inside

Despite the substantial changes to the case construction, its dimensions remain unchanged. It measures 38 mm wide and contains the self-winding Calibre 12.1 produced by Kenissi, the movement maker that is part owned by Chanel, with Tudor being the other major shareholder.

The Calibre 12.1 is derived from Tudor’s MT5600 family of movements, but customised to have the rotor and bridges executed in a repeating-circle motif that is the trademark style of Chanel’s in-house movements.

That means the Calibre 12.1 has almost the same specs as the Tudor calibre – which is an impressive set of features for an affordable watch. Amongst other things, the movement has a 4 Hz, free-sprung balance wheel, 70-hour power reserve as well as COSC-certification. The only component it lacks when compared to the Tudor movement is the silicon hairspring.

Key facts and price

Chanel J12 Paradoxe
Ref. H6515

Diameter: 38 mm
Height: 10.7 mm
Material: Black and white ceramic
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Calibre 12.1
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: White ceramic with steel triple-folding buckle

Limited edition: No
 From summer 2020 onwards
Price: US$7,150

J12 Paradoxe Diamonds
Ref. H6500

Diameter: 38 mm
Height: 10.7 mm
Material: Black ceramic, set with approximately 4.5 carats of diamonds
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Calibre 12.1
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds
Frequency: 28,800bph (4Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Black ceramic with 18k white gold triple-folding buckle

Limited edition: 20 pieces
From summer 2020 onwards
Price: US$192,600

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