It is 20 years since Chanel shocked the stuffy Swiss watch industry with a blast of black ceramic in the form of its original J12.
The collection triggered a revolution in horological engineering that tore up the rules on what materials could be used to make precious timekeepers.
The J12 remains one of the most iconic watches of the 21st century, and looks likely to build on that reputation in this anniversary year as it introduces three fresh editions.
There are two watches carrying the J12 Paradoxe name. One comes in two-tone black and white — the first two colors used for the J12. A second, the J12 Paradoxe Diamond, is mainly in the original black ceramic, but has a dramatic cut of diamonds slicing down the right of its case and dial.
Both are tailor-made to become social media successes, but the third could blow up Instagram, the J12 X-Ray that comes in a see-through sapphire case and sapphire movement.
Its new movement, the Caliber 3.1, was designed and assembled by Chanel Manufacture in Switzerland. Its plate, timer bridge and cog bridge are all made of sapphire, drawing the gaze into the watch’s delicately embroidered latticework of cogs.
The dial is also cast in sapphire and set with baguette-cut diamond indicators, giving the illusion of 12 diamonds balanced in a state of suspension. It is framed with a pave-set bezel made up of 5.46 carats of diamonds.
Even the watch bracelet’s links are cut from sapphires, a first for Chanel, and perhaps the reason why only 12 of the highly limited edition jewelry watch are being made.