To unveil the most recent version of its famed J12 watch, Chanel has really gone all out, in a mysterious way. In the basement of the Palais de Tokyo contemporary art museum, the company has constructed a detailed set taking inspiration from Stanley Kubrick’s renown movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
The futuristic set has visitors walk through a dark corridor into a circular white area boasting 12 doors, which lead to rooms filled with installations such as an enormous white pendulum.
After expending four years concocting a ceramic compound mixture with titanium, Chanel has created “titanium ceramic,” a material that is highly scratch-resistant and durable enough to weather a great deal of wear and tear. The watch, which is made of this material and is able to adapt to the owner’s body temp, is therefore designed to withstand the test of time, both physically and designwise.
“It is a living material with one great advantage, which is that, depending on the hour of day, depending on the light, it veers lighter, darker or more chrome-colored,” Nicolas Beau, international director of watches at Chanel, said to WWD. “But a new material is perfectly useless if it doesn’t bring something new in terms of comfort or aesthetics.”
Beau said the company intends to start with a small selection of watches, which will slowly be augmented.
“Some years, people tell us: ‘You don’t do enough launches.’ We do, but at our pace. There is no point launching products if they don’t add anything,” said Beau. “It’s almost an act of faith to buy a watch that costs 10,000 euros or 5,000 euros. It’s something you buy for the duration, that brings you pleasure, that you desire. It has to be creative and to have a little substance.”
Along with the label’s traditional black and white version, seven styles of the J12 Chromatic, in three sizes, will be available for purchase in June and priced $5,200 to $5,800.