Rarely can a fashion house transition into watchmaking. The timepieces typically lack the design rigor and aesthetic beauty of the clothes, not to mention the technical sophistication to be considered a true watch lover’s watch. But as with so much in the world, Chanel is an exception.
The brand has been making watches for almost 30 years now and has heavily invested in its manufacturing capabilities. It made clear that it means business when it launched Monsieur back in 2017 — this was Chanel’s first dedicated mens watch, with a jumping hour no less. But the real cornerstone of Chanel’s watch collection is the yachting-inspired J12.
The J12 celebrated its 20th birthday last year, and the maison continues to celebrate its importance with its latest book – Chanel J12 Eternal Instant, by Nicholas Foulkes. You may know Foulkes from his many contributions in the menswear and watch category, most notably for his incredible book on Patek Philippe (a must-own for anyone who cares about Patek). He strikes again with this beautiful editorial on Chanel and its iconic sportswatch through hundreds of gorgeous black-and-white photographs.
While this isn’t as in-depth as you might come to expect from Foulkes, it briefly reviews the history and the creation of Chanel’s timepieces starting with the Premier in 1987 and ending with the most recent J12 releases. The book is beautiful, and so are the people inside it (lots of models). Page through it and you’ll bear witness to the ideal integration of fashion and horology.
Chanel J12 Eternal Instant, by Nicholas Foulkes. Published by Thames & Hudson. 152 pages. $ 95.00 hardcover.