SMALL WORLD: Chanel is going small with the new iterations of its cult J12 ceramic watch. The French luxury brand will launch the J12 XS, with a diameter of just 19 millimeters, in stores at the end of August. The name of the watch is a play on the initials for “extra-small” and the word “excess.”
The timepiece will be available in four boutique versions. It comes in black or white, on a slim patent leather calfskin strap that can be worn on its own or over a matching matte calfskin cuff with silver piping, with a price tag of $4,975.
Another alternative is to wear the watch over black lambskin fingerless gloves from Causse. Available in a limited edition of 150 pieces and priced $7,550 per pair, this option is a nod to Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld, who is rarely seen without a fancy pair of gloves.
A large cuff version consists of six slim black patent leather straps mounted with the watch dial and mobile steel loops set with diamonds. There are also a dozen one-of-a-kind high-jewelry options, with prices ranging from $10,000 to $105,000. Highlights include a novelty ring version, priced $35,000, that is worthy of a James Bond movie.
Chanel tapped Lesage, which already embroiders some of its watch dials, to hand-decorate cuffs with sequins and glass beads to simulate the appearance of shagreen, python and alligator leather. Available in black or white, they retail for $38,000 each.
The pieces were unveiled in New York on July 19. Chanel is staging a presentation in South Korea on Thursday, followed by Shanghai on Aug. 16, Tokyo on Aug. 25 and Hong Kong on Aug. 31. The official press launch will take place in Paris between Sept. 8 and 13, once the collection is already on sale.
Chanel regularly issues updated versions of the J12, the brainchild of its late artistic director Jacques Helleu. Launched in 1999, it has been credited with popularizing the use of ceramic in watch manufacturing.