For a major fashion house whose name is known all over the world whether you're into fashion or not, Chanel has miraculously avoided the whole fashion watch cliche that plagued many of its contemporaries, and it's all thanks to the J12 watch. Making its debut in 2000, the J12 came out strong from the get-go with its robust ceramic case in black, a classic design code for the Parisian label. While J12 wasn't the first watch to be crafted in ceramic, a scratch-proof material that makes it practical for daily wear, it is arguably the first to make it chic enough for women used to wearing Christian Louboutin heels and Hermès silk scarves.
Created by the late Chanel artistic director Jacques Helleu, the J12 became an instant icon, providing a much-needed canvas for Chanel's watchmaking ambition. And it proved to be perfectly suited for the task.
Over the years, the J12 has been endowed with complications like the tourbillon and the GMT, mixed ceramic with titanium for a glossier case, and adorned with so many baguette diamonds that it was transformed into a showpiece of Met Gala proportions.
It has also pushed mechanical boundaries with the J12 Retrograde Mysterious that boasts a tourbillon, a retrograde minute hand and a digital minute display in a single timepiece.