At Chanel, the evolution of the J12 watch icon is steady, progressive and carefully staged. The collection is already rich and there is no question of diluting the essence of a model in a welter of chromatic variations.
One thing is for sure: the soul of the J12 remains unchanged. The 365 model features a round shape, a ribbed bezel, Arabic numerals, a crown guard – but also and above all ceramics as the primary material. And yet everything is changed by the fact that this new interpretation proudly proclaims its purely feminine vocation. “It is particularly distinguished by its daintier diameter, its finishes and its slim case housing an automatic movement, thus providing an authentic alternative to the original sportier 38 mm version”, says Nicolas Beau, International Director of Watches at Chanel.
In this respect, the most significant change is indeed size-related, since the J12-365 appears in an unprecedented 36.5 mm diameter that is also accentuated by a slim ribbed bezel, rather than the rotating graduated version. Finally, whereas the bezel was gem-set on some versions, the setting now adorns the inner bezel ring of certain variations, enabling the bezel to return to its initial sporting chic vocation.
"The name J12-365 expresses the idea of a watch accompanying the woman wearing it year-round and throughout the day, and also echoes the 36.5 mm diameter”, adds Nicolas Beau.
Above and beyond this first key difference, the dial also reveals a generously sized small seconds indication appearing in a snailed guilloché subdial at 6 o’clock and characterised a delightfully simple design. On all non-set versions of the new J12-365, this subdial will continue to radiate its pure grey track-free elegance. This is a powerful aesthetic choice for an indication that is generally used to count off the seconds with great precision, Chanel has opted for a non-graduated dragging or trailing seconds, as if to allow time to wander freely…
All eyes on 6
On the dial side, graced for the first time with a luminous sunburst guilloché motif, the other new feature is the new home of the date window, now placed at 6 o’clock on the new J12-365 model. Although not a revolution as such, this represents a fundamental aesthetic shift, since the date between 4 and 5 o’clock had been a constant style feature of the J12.
This 6 o’clock date position, exactly where the small seconds is also making its appearance, is no coincidence. It draws the gaze towards this part of the dial, the only place where the smallest unit of measurement, the second, rubs shoulders with the largest displayed by the watch – the date. The result is subtle, playful and aesthetically pleasing.
An unusual gold alloy
The 365 difference is far more evident on the case where, for the first time, Chanel unveils a new 18-carat beige gold made from an alloy exclusive to Chanel. Four of the eight aesthetic interpretations of the new J12-365 will benefit from this exceptional treatment.
For these new variations, Chanel has reprised a winning formula: black and white versions respectively referring to the 2000 and 2003 vintages. The line-up also includes versions set with diamonds on both the inner bezel ring and the small seconds - an audacious paving that beautifully enhances this novel feature that sets the new J12-365 apart from its predecessors.