Watch Review Chanel J12 Chronomatic

What was it that Chanel did to make me want a watch made by a women’s clothes company? It is a good question because if you would have told me that men and women all over the world were lusting after a timepiece made by a really good cosmetics and perfume maker back before the J12 was released I would have been mighty skeptical.

The original Chanel J12 was a landmark watch. It neither innovated in design nor materials, but rather is a beautiful success story in packaging. Chanel took the tried-and-true desirability of the dive watch style, combined it with the highly durable and interesting qualities of high-tech ceramic (this is no pottery watch) and ended up with something very special. Rado likes to quip that they invented the ceramic watch. Give them credit, but it is arguable that they didn’t succeed in making a watch with such a universal appeal.

Ceramic not only holds a shine forever, but is also very scratch resistant (whereas steel and gold quickly gets scuffs and scratches). The original J12 came in black or white ceramic and was an instant hit for combining a smooth look with a (literally) smooth material. After years of success Chanel was dedicated to offering something new. The holy grail of course is a ceramic material that looks just like metal. The answer for Chanel was the special titanium ceramic hybrid material used in the new J12 Chromatic.

The piece is beautiful to look at and wonderfully light weight thanks to the copious amounts of titanium in the case material. It looks closer to metal and is colored a deep robust gray. Offered in a few sizes, the J12 Chromatic currently tops out at 41mm wide. That is odd because the J12’s largest size is 42mm. The 1mm difference isn’t huge, but as a man I enjoy watches in a more 42-45mm range. I think that a 43mm wide J12 Chromatic would be appreciated as well.

On the wrist the J12 Chromatic feels good as the special ceramic/titanium material looks impressive and offers a truly new look. Inside the watch is the same Swiss ETA 2892 automatic movement that Chanel has used for some time now. While not a design break through the J12 Chromatic is true material breakthrough and does offer something special above the original J12 (which has still not gone out of style).

 

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