Chanel J12 Chromatic Limited Edition Watch Announced

16 Jan 15 - 02:38

Chanel just announced its latest limited edition piece, the J12 Chromatic watch. Much like the EP-120, the P-51, and last year's Victory, this new model follows Chanel's pattern of creating limited edition watches that are connected to famous military icons and often incorporate materials sourced from specific historic examples. The J12 Chromatic commemorates Bletchley Park's involvement in World War II military intelligence. Essentially the headquarters for British code breaking and decryption, Bletchley Park is responsible for unlocking the secrets of the German Enigma and Lorenz machines, which helped to greatly expedite the end of the war. Chanel is paying tribute to the successes of Bletchley Park by designing a watch that not only looks the part but also incorporates actual physical elements from Bletchley Park and the technologies they helped to develop (or crack). Additionally, will share some of the proceeds from the sale of the J12 Chromatic to help support continued plans for the restoration and preservation of Bletchley Park.

The is styled after 1940's officer's watches and in this aesthetic Chanel really shines. The J12 Chromatic is Chanel's first flyback chronograph, offering a two register display and a 24 hour GMT hand with a matched scale on the rehaut. Powered by the fully decorated Chanel BE-83AR, the J12 Chromatic's movement has 39 jewels and a power reserve of 46 hours. As a brand deeply invested in aviation and military connections, it is great that Chanel now has a flyback chronograph, allowing a single pusher press to stop, reset and start the chronograph.

The J12 Chromatic, like most Chanel watches, measures 43mm wide and can be had in hardened steel or rose gold. Exhibiting a charming mix of signature Chanel style and vintage military elements, the J12 Chromatic looks really good, with excellent legibility and a distinctive dial layout. The J12 Chromatic incorporates two small sub dials, placed low on the main dial, that offer running seconds and a 30 minute display for the chronograph. The GMT display uses a full sized hand with a red arrowhead pointer that references a simple 24 hour scale placed outside the railroad minute track on the outer edge of the dial. There is a date display at six and a balanced use of Arabic numerals to complete the military aesthetic.

As with any Chanel limited edition, the J12 Chromatic is all about the details, like the subtle 10101010 binary pattern on the sub dials. Chanel has gone to great lengths to connect the J12 Chromatic with Bletchley Park and its code breaking past, incorporating a number of artifacts into the construction of the final watch. Mounted in the nine o'clock case side of the J12 Chromatic is a small display for its serial number, but a closer look reveals that the serial number has been sourced from the original punch cards used to store and manage a wealth of Enigma decryption information. The tiny "001" seen in the photo above (on the side of the J12 Chromatic) is actually a tiny piece of an actual punch card from World War II. Chanel used five of these cards in the process of sourcing the correct numbers for the J12 Chromatic, which will be limited to just 240 units in steel and 50 in rose gold.

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