Chanel’s New $626,000 J12 Watch Is Almost Entirely Made From Sapphire Crystal

The Chanel J12 kickstarted the ceramic watch boom two decades ago, and in every iteration since then—tourbillon, GMT, gemset, metiers marquetry—has proudly retained its iconic façade…until now. The J12 has swapped ceramic for clear sapphire crystal, the hardest material next to diamond, creating a watch that leaves nothing to the imagination.

The dial is made of sapphire crystal, so that beyond the white gold hands and the chapter ring on the inner dial, there is nothing to impede the view of the movement. The baguette diamonds that serve as hour indicators are part of the show: they are set into the sapphire crystal over the dial, which makes them appear to be suspended in mid-air.

Other brands including Richard Mille, Hublot, Bovet, and Girard-Perregaux have worked with the material in dials and casings, but on the new J12 X-Ray the bracelet also comes entirely in sapphire crystal. The links of the bracelet are cut from raw sapphires, exposing the metal hinges that hold them together. The bezel is set with 5.46 carats of baguette diamonds. The result is a piece that looks like an ice sculpture, a pure expression of openness and light. The J12 X-Ray is a natural extension of the J12’s aesthetic—quintessentially minimalist.

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