Only Watch 2017: Chanel J12-XS

By Dhananjay Pathak

Coco Chanel founded Chanel in the year 1909 with the idea of revolutionizing women’s fashion, and since then the brand has gone ahead to become a well reputed name in the world of fashion. Chanel’s product catalogue includes everything from haute couture to perfumes and interestingly watches as well. Chanel has been in the business of watchmaking for almost 30 years now and though this might not be sound like a long epoch from a horological standpoint, the brand seems to have made some serious progress off late by producing watches such as the masculine and gorgeous looking Monsieur de Chanel introduced in Basel world 2016. The 2017 Only Watch auction is now only a couple of months away and with all the big guns in the world of horology showcasing their one off entries, Chanel is also coming up with a special version of their J12-XS watch for the auction. This watch features the elegant and alluring design of the original watch, but with differently shaped diamonds and a unique hand embroidered cuff.

When it comes down to dials on fashion oriented watches (especially the ones which are studded with diamonds), I generally end up not liking most of them, not because they don’t look good, but mainly because they end up being over glittery and in the end compromise on what they are actually meant to do i.e.  Show the time. But I am happy to say that the dial on the Chanel J12XS does not disappoint in this context and is well laid out. The dial on this watch is made out of black onyx and has some nice touches such as the printed cross hair pattern diving the watch into four quadrants adding some extra refinement to dial. The glitter quotient on this watch has also been handled well by setting up the flange with 24 baguette- cut diamonds only on the outer periphery of the dial, making it a breeze to read the time with the help of the baton styled handset. I really like the brands decision of using a black dial alongside the diamonds as it provides a nice contrast against the shimmering diamonds.

The case on the Chanel J12-XS for Only Watch 2017 is 19mm wide and is mix of gold and ceramic, with the bezel made out of white gold and the rest of the case made of black ceramic matching the color of the dial. There is no display case back here and rightfully so as the watch is powered by a high precision Swiss quartz movement. Water resistance comes in at a paltry 30 meters, but I feel this is sufficient for a watch of this type as I do not think someone would really prefer going diving with this watch on their wrist. Now coming down to the strap of this watch which has been specifically designed for the Only Watch auction. The strap comprises of two parts, a patent black calfskin leather strap and a matt black calf skin cuff which has been hand embroidered using black glass beads by Lesage, which became a part of Chanel’s Métiers d’art in 2002 and has been creating opulent embroidery for Haute Couture and accessories. The buckle set on the strap has been made of white gold and comprises of 9 baguette-cut diamonds and the two white gold loops are also set with 5 baguette-cut diamonds.

Finally I would like to conclude by saying that the Chanel J12-XS is a good example of a women’s luxury watch done right, and this Only Watch edition makes it even more special with the inclusion of the hand crafted cuff.  As is the case with other watches that are participating in the Only Watch auction, this watch would also be limited to only a single piece. The auction price of the watch is estimated to be somewhere between 33000 – 45000 CHF.