Chanel Première, J12, or Monsieur de Chanel ? Chanel ceramic, Chanel Chromatic titanium, ceramic & stainless steel, or yellow gold? With or without a diamond dial or diamond bezel? For ladies or men?
Let us guide you.
What are Chanel watches?
Gabrielle Chanel’s fashion company for ladies founded in 1910 quickly established the use of fine materials, avant-garde designs, and the colours black and beige as House codes. Redefining Parisian elegance, Mademoiselle Chanel soon followed with innovative perfumes, and jewellery boasting pearls and diamonds, but it was not until 1987 that the House of Chanel launched the first Chanel watch, for ladies, aptly named Chanel “Première”.
In the year 2000 Chanel took the watch world by surprise with a unisex watch – the “J12”. Round, chic, sporty and sleek, created for both men and ladies, water resistant to 200m, it especially brought a high-tech material – ceramic -- into the spotlight with its case in stainless steel and intense Chanel black ceramic and matching bracelet. Due to the resounding success, the J12 in Chanel white ceramic was launched three years later.
In 2008, a collaboration with Audemars Piguet boldly confirmed Chanel’s position in the Fine Watch segment with the exclusive automatic J12 Chanel AP-3125 calibre running three hands and a date inside a 42mm Chanel black ceramic and yellow gold case.
Research to create new materials resulted in the “J12 Chromatic” in titanium ceramic with a novel colour and unique brilliance that captures the changing effects of light, or the more recently developed 18K yellow gold alloy known as the Chanel Beige Gold for a subtle gold colour, seen with the Chanel J12-365 in Ceramic and Beige Gold.
In 2016, Chanel introduced the “Monsieur de Chanel” watch equipped with the brand’s first totally in-house movement – Chanel Calibre 1, followed in 2017 by Calibre 2, a Chanel automatic movement in the shape of a camelia – Gabrielle Chanel’s favourite flower -- to run the “Chanel Première Camélia Skeleton Watch” for ladies.
Chanel watches are made in the Chanel workshops in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, combining the best of creativity and design from France with the highest level of Swiss watchmaking expertise.
Everything you should know about Chanel Première
Designed for ladies, recognizable with an octagonal-shaped case inspired by Place Vendôme in Paris (like the bottle stopper of Chanel N°5 perfume), this first Chanel watch model was created in 18K yellow gold with a black-lacquered dial and equipped with a quartz movement. The line now also includes stainless steel and gold models with or without diamonds, enhanced with a multitude of straps and bracelets in gold and/or stainless steel and leather, and white mother-of-pearl or black dials, in sizes ranging from 22 x 16 x 6.2 mm to 28 x 20 x 6.6 mm. “Chanel Première” watches are equipped with quartz movements, with the exception of the new “Première Camélia Skeleton”, a ladies’ watch that boasts the fine watchmaking movement Chanel Calibre 2.
More about the J12 line, in Chanel black ceramic, Chanel white ceramic, and the Chanel J12 Chromatic in titanium ceramic
Designed for men and ladies, the J12 Chanel black ceramic and the J12 Chanel white ceramic models, equipped with high-precision quartz or automatic movements, come in sizes from 33mm to 42mm. An interesting line extension includes a chronograph, a diving model, a GMT model, and the Chanel J12 Tourbillon launched in 2006. In 2017, for ladies, a white or black ceramic and stainless steel 38mm model with unidirectional rotating bezel features a silhouette of Gabrielle Chanel on the dial. The retail price for this “Mademoiselle J12” limited edition of 555 pieces each is EUR6900.
The J12 Chromatic is crafted in a new material – titanium ceramic – that has to be seen to fully appreciate its unique reflection of light. Launched in 2011 with a grey dial in a titanium ceramic and stainless steel case, a blue dial version with matching blue alligator and nylon straps is equally superb. A model in titanium ceramic and white gold case with diamond bezel and indicators also exists.
If you’re a fan of lots of diamonds, the J12 line includes high jewelry pieces. The J12 d’Exception, or “J12-XS High Jewelry Watches” come in white gold or white gold and white ceramic, with brilliantly coloured gemstones or diamond dial, diamond bezel, diamond-set case and bracelet. The white gold model Reference H4937 in a numbered edition, completely set with brilliant-cut diamonds, is sold at a suggested retail price of EUR100,000.
The first in-house movement, for Monsieur de Chanel for men.
This first movement fully created by Chanel manufacturer is dedicated to the “Monsieur de Chanel” line, for men. CALIBRE 1 is a manual-winding mechanical movement with double complications of Instantaneous Jumping Hour and Retrograde Minutes, and small seconds. The digital hour display took 5 years to develop. Presented in the 40 mm round case x 10.4 mm thick specially developed for the MONSIEUR collection, this Chanel watch is water resistant to 30m. It is available in Chanel Beige Gold or white gold with an ivory dial, or in a Platinum version with a blue “Grand Feu” enamel dial or black dial.