By Benjamen Judd

Watches & Wonders 2024: Chanel Adds Extra Sparkle to Watches and Wonders Beyond Your Wrist

An icon from the archive returns and a modern classic gets a new face.
Sport but make it diamonds with the Chanel J12 Calibre 12.1. Image: Chanel

Watches and Wonders is underway in Geneva and when it comes to the latest collection to come from Chanel, emphasis is on the wonder detail. While the French Maison has launched several new timepieces to be excited about, two, in particular, have stood out: the new diamond-studded take on the J12 Calibre 12.1 and the avant-garde silhouettes of the Première Cuff and Sautoir-Belt Watches.

Starting with the J12.1…

A continuation of the brand’s exploration into the artful combination of materials that began in 2023 with the original J12.1, the new edition pairs 18K yellow gold with the sparkle of diamonds, set against the backdrop of its iconic black or white ceramic.

Chanel, watches and wonders
From day to night…the J12 Calibre 12.1 comes in both white and black ceramic.

Aesthetic balance is key with the J12 Calibre 12.1, making it functionally pleasing in equal measure to its more overtly stunning elements. The stand-out feature of the watch sits in the bezel, which has been adorned with 50 brilliant-cut diamonds plus a dial set with 12 more–if it sparkled any more you would need sunglasses to tell the time. Visible through the sapphire crystal case-back is the Caliber 12.1, a self-winding Manufacture movement decorated and endowed with a perfectly circular oscillating weight—a testament to Chanel’s commitment to watchmaking excellence.

One of the signature motifs of Chanel from its earliest days has been the playful sports motifs that have underpinned much of Coco’s original designs – freedom of movement in the clothing that expressed a sense of freedom. This same feeling has been captured in essence with the J12.1 series, which merges durability with luxury. The case and bracelet are crafted from black highly resistant ceramic, are water-resistant up to 50 metres and feature a non-screw-down crown adorned with a black ceramic cabochon, enhancing its sophisticated silhouette.

Chanel, Watches and wonders
The Chanel Première Sautoir-Belt watch is giving 80s luxe realness. Image: Chanel

In contrast to the J12.1’s “athluxury” blend is the sheer aesthetic pleasure of the new limited edition incarnation of the Première.

First launched in 1987 and known for its design inspired by the N°5 perfume bottle and the iconic leather-interlaced chains of Chanel handbags, the new Première Cuff and the Première Sautoir-Belt are a callback to a decadent era of the Chanel brand. If you can recall the iconic Linda Evangelista campaign where she’s covered in gold Chanel branded chains, it’s the same vibes, pushing the envelope of traditional watchwear.

Chanel, Watches and Wonders
Chanel literally said, “cuff it”. Image: Chanel

The Première Cuff watch, with its bold chain and leather integration, transforms the timepiece into a striking jewellery statement, merging effortlessly with the wearer’s ensemble. The Première Sautoir-Belt watch, on the other hand, epitomises versatility, doubling as a belt or necklace, encapsulating Chanel’s vision of timelessness and modernity. Crafted in steel with an 18k yellow gold coating and featuring the collection’s signature black-lacquered dial, these watches are not only a nod to accuracy with their high-precision quartz movement but also to style, marked by their limited edition status.

This story originally appeared on GRAZIA International.