I firmly believe that the world needs more elegant dive watches. Like this one, the latest model from Chanel’s hugely successful ceramic line. Previously photographed here, today we have a full review from a month on the wrist with the reference H2979 Chanel J12 Chromatic. Available in 33mm quartz, and 38 and 41mm automatic, the J12 Chromatic uses the famous Chanel ceramic expertise to create a watch with the look and feel of metal.
Fellow writer James Stacey and I differ with Ariel in our preferred size of watch. In Ariel’s hands-on, his take was “I love the feel of the Chromatic on my wrist, but would love for a 43-45mm wide size.” Me? I find 38mm to be just right, but read on and see if you agree or not.
By my measurements, this is 38mm, 41 at the widest part of the bezel, and 46.6mm lug to lug. A slender 10.2mm thick at the center of the domed crystal, tapering to 9.5mm at the edge. The bracelet is 18mm tapering just slightly down to 17mm, 5mm thick with sprung deployant clasp. Crown is domed, unsigned and 6.5mm. 141 grams in weight including the bracelet, similar to steel watches of the same size. It’s also available in 41mm, and in 33mm quartz versions.
The movement is, I believe, the tracteur ETA 2892, my all-time favorite. Tough, accurate, easy to service, and thinner than the 2824 to boot. You’ll find it as the base for much more expensive watches, from all sorts of brands, as well as being used for modules from Dubois Depraz. For example, the Omega 1120 and IWC 30110 are lightly modified 2892s. There are some decent pictures of it in the RGM 151P review.
The white ceramic J12 came out over a decade ago and has had a huge impact. Every day I see people, most often women, wearing white ceramic watches and brands such as IWC have introduced ceramic models as well. The Chromatic series takes ceramics, naturally porous, and adds molten titanium, filling up the pores and infusing into the material. Sounds like Hublot’s “magic gold” process. I’m not about to destructively test a loaner watch, so we’ll assume that the material will age as promised, namely extremely strong and scratch-resistant.
Chanel does great finish work, with flawless detailing and polishing. Ceramic bezel, of course, though no lume pip. This is a dress diver, not a tool diver.
Elegance is all about restraint, and that’s the key to appreciating this watch. It’s not too large, or too shiny, or even too flashy with its shades-of-grey color palette. It’s restrained. Understated.