The 2011 Chanel J-12 Chromatic (ref. H2566) is presented in a new (or, rather, previously not employed as a material of choice by other watchmaking or jewelry brands) form of ceramic. Probably based on titanium carbide, it looks more like high-polished metal and is way more attractive than those glossy, plasticky timekeepers made using different versions of the extremely robust (albeit easy to shatter) material that was popularized by Rado decades ago.
No details are given so far, but I suppose that the material may be a form of the well-known Cera-Titan material, which is so popular among Japanese knife-makers. Extremely lightweight, resistant to corrosion and, as you probably have already noted, looking extremely cool with its liquid metal-like surface, the material is a bit on an expensive side, but that’s probably not an issue -some may even call it a feature– when you are dealing with a luxury timekeeper.
Also, to my knowledge, it is not correct to say that titanium is “mixed with ceramic” as Chanel puts it since the ceramic material IS made of titanium carbide powder, which is mixed with some other oxide and then baked at high pressure and temperatures (around 1500 Celsius.)
The result is a lightweight (around a half that of steel,) hard almost as diamond and therefore a scratch-resistant material that will preserve its new looks despite the years of daily abuse (just try to be careful enough not to drop the gadget on a hard surface.)
The new J12 Chromatic range is presented in two sizes –38 mm (ref. H3242) and 41 mm, which is probably designed for men– and at least two versions that have different exterior decor.
One of them (pictured) is offered with its bezel and dial adorned with 48 baguette-shaped diamonds. Twelve of them serve as hour markers and the rest are placed on the bezel. Judging by the photos, the setting crown is also set with a diamond.
Compared to the previous versions that were available only in plastic-looking white, red, black and so on, the new model features almost natural color of titanium or, I dare say, that of frozen mercury.
Perhaps, this is the first Chanel J-12 that I like.
As usual, Chanel doesn’t say a word about the self-winding mechanism that powers it, but, given its stated 42 hours of power reserve, an ETA 2824 or its competitor made by Sellita may be a good guess. Anyway, given the price of the watch, I am fairly confident that the mechanism is of good quality and won’t give you any trouble in the foreseeable future.
Chanel J-12 Chromatic in Titanium Ceramic (ref. H2566) specification
Price: $7500 (MSRP, the version in 38 mm case, ref. H3242)
Movement: Automatic, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: Titanium Ceramic
Sizes: 41.00 mm / 38.00 mm
Case height: 11.30 mm
Hands: Baton-shaped, luminous
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Titanium Ceramic
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective