Chanel J12 Acte IIAugust 14, 2023
Back in January, Chanel unveiled a new interpretation of its Première watch, one that came with a delicate camellia pendant charm placed by its side at the 3 o’clock position. The idea was simple, but one that elevated the iconic octagonal watch to become the Première Extrait de Camélia that was released in limited quantities. This February, Chanel has added another ‘pendant’ to its J12 watch, bringing Mademoiselle Chanel in the form of a cute figurine onto the celebrated timepiece.
This time around, you will find her ‘hanging off’ the crown of the J12, with the 18k white gold Mademoiselle Chanel charm finished with hand-applied lacquer for that exclusive touch of luxe. It will come in two colours, appearing on the respective Mademoiselle Chanel J12 Acte II timepieces in black and white, both limited to 555 pieces worldwide.
Other notable features include her structured canotier hat finished with a brilliant-cut diamond, the legendary jacket suit paired with contrasting trims as well as the polished body that comes with rhodium-finished and sandblasted 18K white gold.
And if that’s not enough to win you over, the Mademoiselle Chanel J12 Acte II watch features 12 baguette-cut diamond indicators on the dial, along with the 18K white gold case and bezel making it truly deserving of its limited-edition status. Priced at SGD37,600, the Mademoiselle Chanel J12 Acte II is now available at both the fashion boutiques as well as Chanel ‘s Watches & Fine Jewellery boutique at Takashimaya Shopping Centre.
There is a sort of dismissive attitude among The Faithful towards the Chanel J12. Which I understand. After all, it is a watch that comes from Chanel (a fashion house, mon dieu!) and it is easy to attack it as a derivative, luxury-brand ripoff of the Rolex Submariner. Of course, given the shenanigans you have to go through these days to get within spitting distance of buying a new Sub at retail, perhaps the J12 does not look so bad after all if you are cross-shopping. But let’s be honest – nobody is trying to decide between a Submariner and a Chanel J12 Acte II . If you are considering a J12, chances are that what you want, is not a Sub, or a Doxa, or a Fifty Fathoms, or indeed any other sort of pseudo-technical, practicality-adjacent dive watch. If you are considering a J12, chances are, what you want is a J12. The J12 was launched in 1999 and was the brainchild of Chanel’s then-chief designer, Jacques Hélleu. The name comes from the world of yacht racing – Hélleu was a fan of the sport, and when the J12 debuted, the J-class 12 meter racing yachts, which had originally been designed for open-ocean yacht-racing regattas like the America’s Cup, were beginning to attract renewed interest in the yachting world. The watch was designed to be a beautiful, elegant object but it was also meant to be a practical, durable sports watch. The Chanel J12 Acte II wasn’t the first watch to use ceramic for the case, but the material was not nearly as common in watchmaking as it is today and between the material and the design, the J12 was something of a revolution in its time.
That said, the Chanel J12 Acte II hasn’t always been taken particularly seriously by watch enthusiasts or by the enthusiast press. Part of the problem is that historically, a distinction has existed in the minds of many between watches from serious, legacy watch brands with decades or even centuries of fine watchmaking under their belts, and so-called “fashion watches” ( or worse, “mall watches”). What exactly a fashion or a mall watch is, is open to interpretation (I have argued in the past that the term no longer has any particular meaning) but in general, brands like Chanel or Gucci or Bulgari, which have not historically been watchmakers first and foremost, have struggled with the stereotype.