When he designed the J12, the late Jacques Helleu created, under the apparent simplicity of its forms, an emblematic timepiece capable of taking on a thousand faces while remaining intrinsically faithful to itself. The latest comer in these transfigurations, the J12 Noir Intense, pushes the envelope of ceramic to its limits, transforming it into a precious technological material.
Contrary to prestige jewellery that plays on the reflections of light to create the highest possible level of brilliance, prestige ceramic absorbs the light, capturing it in the intense blackness of its material—a material treated like gemstone. In Chanel’s prestige jewellery ateliers in La Chaux-de-Fonds, 724 small blocks of ceramic have been facetted into a baguette shape using the same processes and techniques as in diamond cutting (the hardness of ceramic approaches that of diamond).
Craftsmen then set the ceramic blocks into the 18 carat white gold bracelet (502 baguettes), the white gold bezel (48 baguettes), the white gold middle case (78 baguettes), and the white gold dial (48 baguettes). Ceramic also decorates the white gold crown. The watch is definitely a world’s first.
The appearance of this black timepiece is amazing for the exceptional lines that emphasize its architecture, the intensity of the black light, and because of its comfortable wearability. It is equipped with an automatic Chanel movement, the AP 3125—whose gold rotor is encased in black ceramic (what else?)—that was created in collaboration with Audemars Piguet. The J12 Noir Intense is produced in a limited and numbered series of five pieces
Source: Europa Star April-May 2009 Magazine Issue