Gabrielle Bonheur ‘Coco’ Chanel opened her first boutique in 1910, designing and selling hats that were coveted by the most famous actresses and socialites of the time. Some years later, in 1932, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel presented her first jewellery collection, named Bijoux de Diamants.
It was not until 1987 that CHANEL ventured into watchmaking, utilising decades of experience in fashion and high jewellery to create the first icon, named the Première. Its design was based upon the Place Vendôme and the iconic, faceted stopper of Chanel’s perfume bottles.
As the new millennium dawned, CHANEL launched their next timepiece, the J12, one of the world’s most recognisable watches, made almost entirely of ceramics. Today, CHANEL present four collections which honour the simple, yet elegant style of Gabrielle Bonheur.
A Perfect Harmony
The CHANEL J12, inspired by the sleek aesthetic of J Class yachts, arrived in 1999 on the eve of the new millennium, a time which heralded exciting changes at the dawn of a new century.
The J12 defied the gender norms of watchmaking at that time. Its larger case size and mechanical movement obviously implied it was a masculine watch, yet the big fashion name, the soft lines and stark black and white colours instilled it with feminine charm. A first at the time, the case and bracelet of the J12 are made almost entirely from a high-tech ceramic material, so hard that it is virtually indestructible.
Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel once said “Black has it all, white too. Their beauty is absolute.” And so the J12 is presented in these two colours that symbolise balance and perfect harmony, the masculine and feminine, and the classic with the contemporary.