The Chanel J12 Chromatic Watch Review

16 Jan 15 - 02:39

Along with its timezone flexibility, the Chanel is also an automatic chronograph with a traditional two-pusher layout and sub dials for 30 minutes (top), running seconds (left, 9 o'clock) and 12 hours (bottom). I really love this layout as it groups the Chanel nameplate and date in a way that seems balanced with the otherwise asymmetrical sub dial design. The date window retains the trapezoidal shape which was first seen on the C-17 model in reference to the shape of a C-17's aircraft heads up display.

Beating inside is the Chanel movement. Visible thanks to the sapphire display back, this movement is derived from the ETA 7750 but has been modified with a 24 hour UTC function and then decorated by Chanel and COSC certified. As was my impression with past Chanel models, the J12 Chromatic's feature list has been designed with actual use in mind. Chanel
is not one for vaporware and the chronograph, UTC hand, and world timer bezel all boast strong legibility, reliable implementation and excellent ease of use.

The bi-directional rotating bezel for the 24 hour timezone listing is controlled via the crown at eight o'clock and uses Chanel's Roto-Click system so the crown is designed to exhibit a rather pleasing mechanical click as it is turned. This system, while requiring a fair amount of crown rotation, can be rotated to stop and hold at any point in its travel, regardless of the mechanical feedback from the Roto-Click.

As with all Chanel watches, the J12 Chromatic is built using a three piece Trip-Tick case which consists of the case back (secured with five screws), a middle barrel with a black PVD treatment, and the top assembly which consists of a single piece spanning the bezel and the lugs, which are stunning in both their shape and finishing. Chanel employs a special process to harden the steel used in their case construction which increases its overall scratch resistance. The final product is said to boast a hardness rating of 2000 Hv, which is several times harder than the steel used in most watches and thus much more capable of dealing with the daily wear and tear to which we often subject our sport watches. Chanel seems to understand that a sport watch may occasionally come in contact with surfaces harder than the inside of a shirt cuff.

Chanel goes to similar lengths with the anti-reflective treatment on their sapphire crystals. Many watches offer dual-sided AR coatings but Chanel preps the crystal with a nine layer treatment on each side, and then hardens the treatment to preserve the native scratch resistance of the sapphire. Chanel's treatment of the sapphire crystal negates the majority of reflections and much of the "blue haze" effect that many AR coatings display under direct light.

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