Chanel’s J12 Tourbillon Diamant and J12 X-Ray Red editions are evidence of the magic that can happen when a legendary haute couture brand reinterprets haute horlogerie – it’s the ideal mashup of hand finished Swiss watchmaking and high fashion sensibility. The Tourbillon Diamant contains a new movement, the Chanel caliber 5, the first flying tourbillon movement made in-house. The flying tourbillon has no upper bridge, so the rotating carriage can be admired without obstruction. This one has another special a touch: a solitaire diamond is set into the center of the carriage, where it rotates with the entire mechanism.
The elegant black and white livery is pure Chanel, with a nice finishing touch: diamonds are set into the hands and around the periphery of the tourbillon. There are two versions: one with matte black ceramic and steel case; and the other in glossy black ceramic and an 18k white gold that is set with 34 baguette-cut diamonds totaling 3.50 carats. The hands, tourbillon carriage and crown on both versions are set with diamonds. The shiny ceramic and diamond-bezel version is priced at 180,000 euros (about $193,000). The matte ceramic and steel version is priced at 100,000 euros (about $107,000). Both are limited to 55 pieces.
The J12 X-Ray Red is a feat of high watchmaking more from an engineering point of view. It’s not easy to carve a case and bracelet links out of crystal sapphire. It’s a feat the brand debuted in 2020 with the J12 X-Ray, the benefit of which is not just a clean design but a clear look into the workings of the movement from all angles. Even the plate and bridges of caliber 3.1 are made of clear sapphire. Chanel likes to describe the visual effect by using a couture metaphor: “The movement presents the appearance of a graphic fragment of lace embroidered with bridges and cogwheels.”
The main decorative, haute couture touch on this version is the addition of 46 ruby tapered baguettes along the bezel and 12 ruby baguette hour markers. This makes it part of Chanel’s Haute Horlogerie Red Edition collection, celebrating one of the brand’s signature colors. The rubies are Chanel’s way of dressing up an ordinary watch for, say, a night on the town. As Mademoiselle Chanel herself has said: “If you’re sad or heartbroken, make yourself up, dress up, add more lipstick, and attack.” It is Limited to 12 pieces. Price on request.