To mark the 20th anniversary of the J12, Chanel is premiering not one but two epic versions of the iconic ceramic watch. While the first features a striking two-colour ceramic case, the second is perhaps the ultimate J12. Rendered entirely in clear sapphire – case, bracelet, and movement – the J12 X-Ray is delicate, extravagant and novel.
Clear and second only to diamond in hardness, sapphire is also fragile and susceptible to chipping, cracking or shattering. Its properties are similar to that of ceramic, the defining material of the J12, except more extreme. As it is with Chanel’s ceramic cases, the sapphire parts of the J12 X-Ray are made by Chanel subsidiary G&F Chatelain, a case maker that has produced sapphire cases for another Chanel-owned brand, Bell & Ross.
Measuring 38mm wide, the case is machined from a single sapphire block and topped by a white gold bezel set with baguette-cut diamonds. Similarly, the dial is also sapphire, and fitted with a minute track and hands in white gold. All of the hour markers, on the other hand, are baguette-cut diamonds.
Sapphire bridges and links
And beneath the sapphire dial – which also doubles up as the movement base plate – is the Caliber 3.1.
Derived from the rectangular, skeletonised Caliber 3 found in the in the Boy-Friend Skeleton, the Caliber 3.1 is hand-wound with all of its moving parts secured by sapphire bridges, which allows the movement to be seen from the front and back. The pivots of the gears of the going train sit in jewels secured by chatons on the sapphire dial.
The layout of the movement is conventional and symmetrical, with the barrel at 12 o’clock, followed by the gear train arranged vertically and ending with the escapement at six o’clock. Shaped like a flower and equipped with regulating weights, the free-sprung balance resides at four o’clock.
But as impressive as the sapphire case and movement – both of which have been done before by other brands – is the sapphire crystal bracelet. Made up of individual sapphire links secured together by white gold pins and screws, the sapphire bracelet is an industry first.
Key facts and price
Chanel J12 X-Ray
Diameter: 38 mm
Height: 10.7 mm
Material: Sapphire with a white gold bezel
Water resistance: 30m
Movement: Caliber 3.1
Functions: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours
Strap: Sapphire bracelet
Limited edition: 12 pieces
Availability: Yet to be announced
Price: US$626,000, or 910,600 Singapore dollars
For more, visit Chanel.com.
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