March 19, 2010
by Ariel Adams
Say hello to my new little friend. Not that Chanel let me walk away with one, but I wanted to. Call me a brand whore but I love what Chanel has done with their watches. Sure I might think twice about sporting a white one around town, but these new J12 Marine watches are pretty impressive. If you recall, the standard J12 watch looks like a dive watch. It is merely a dive “style” piece, based on the core Rolex Submariner design (with a different face of course). Now Chanel released a truer diver with 300 meters of water resistant, a more dive worthy legible dial, some interesting design features.
The case is 38 or 42mm wide and in black of white. Still ceramic, the black case is bead-blasted for a matte, rather than shiny finish. Though the white version is still done with a glossy finish. Going after Blancpain’s 50 Fathoms or IWC’s Aquatimer, the J12 Marine has a sapphire crystal over the rotating diver’s bezel. I love that look, but it is not for everyone. The case quality is very good, with the watch being solid and comfortable. Perhaps a bit small for people who prefer 44mm plus watches, the 42mm wide version is still not too bad. The black with black bezel version is only available in 42mm. How doe you feel about the black with blue bezel? Marine-ish yes, not for everyone, but I like it.
The dial is all Rolex Submariner homage in bubbly way, but with an Arabic numeral 12, at 12 o’clock. Chanel uses a fat arrow for the hour hand, and a blue baton hand for the minutes – that is matched to the seconds hand. The hour markers are all applied and raised up making for a great look against the simple looking dial. There is tons of lume all over the face as well. You can see the cross hair style lines in the middle of the watch face, just like on the standard J12 model.
Chanel is being tight lipped about the movement. Likely and ETA 2892, or equivalent. These days they likely have someone else supplying movements. It is a standard high-quality Swiss three-hand with date automatic. There is an interesting engraving on the rear of the case, that is perhaps too simple than it should be (some wavy lines). Matches to the watch is a cool rubber bracelet. Chanel opted for the highest quality rubber, but it is still flexible. It has vented holes in it to let water in and out. Good for wearing on very humid days actually. Price is going to be in the $5,000 range if memory serves me correctly. These watches are important because it shows that dive watches are still the hottest pieces around, and that demand for fashion brands such as Chanel is very high. In fact, these tough economic times seem to indicate that it is fashion brands like Chanel that still have relatively high demand in watches due to the lasting popularity of the brand name.
See Technical details from Chanel below:
Black high-tech* sand-blasted ceramic and steel case with –black rubber bracelet and blue bezel (38 and 42mm) or black bezel (42mm).
White high-tech* polished ceramic steel case with white rubber –strap and white bezel (38mm).
Engraved steel back.
Unidirectional rotating steel bezel, engraved and equipped with a high-tech ceramic or sapphire dial (in blue or black) for easy reading of time under water.
Luminescent dot at 12 o’clock acts as guide marker.
Sapphire watch-crystal with a blue anti-reflective coating on the inside and outside (on the black version) or clear coating on the white model.
Screw down steel crown with high-tech* ceramic cabochon equipped with a crown protector.
Black or white lacquer dial.
Hands, numerals and the numeral ‘12’ is luminescent for perfect legibility in the darkness.
Resistant to a pressure depth of 300 meters (30 atm).
Mechanical Swiss automatic movement (28,800 vibrations/hour).
Power reserve: 42 hours.
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, date and time under water on the bezel.
Matte rubber bracelet with openings allow water to be released –from the bracelet.
Highly water resistant, shock resistant, light resistant, UV resistant composite material.
Polished and satin-finish ardillon buckle, engraved with CHANEL