Colour is again the theme of this post about Watches & Wonders 2021 releases, but manifested in a very different manner to the previous post.
For the newly launched Electro Capsule Collection Arnaud Chastaingt, Chanel’s Director of the Studio de Création Horlogerie, went back to 1990s electronic music for his inspiration.
Already popular in the 1980s, electronic music gained even more success in the following decade, becoming a dance music/ club staple. Chastaingt’s visualisation of this musical influence in a 2021 watch form is about strong colours and their contrast with black and white.
Starting off with the one with the greatest impact, the J12 Electro Box is a concept that gives you an idea of where the Electro collection is headed, with twelve watches in a black lacquer box. In the presentation video session at Watches & Wonders 2021 he called it a performance, and if you look carefully at the labels beneath the watches, each watch is called a track – the musical reference.
This pièce unique box contains a series of pièces unique watches. They are matte black ceramic and ADLC steel in 38mm sized cases. The steel bezels are also ADLC-treated and have 46 baguette-cut monochrome sapphires (~6.37 carats). The dials are also matte black. Through a sapphire case back can be seen the automatic COSC-certified calibre 12.1 with a power reserve of 70 hours.
This box gives a hint at and forms the basis of, the other Electro watches.
Limited to 1,225 pieces, the J12 Electro comes in a black ceramic and steel 38mm-sized case. The dial is lacquered black, and there there are bright neon-coloured numerals on the black lacquer dial which are mirrored in the indices on the unidirectional bezel. Inside the case, which has a water resistance of 200m, is the automatic COSC-certified Calibre 12.1, with a power reserve of 70 hours.
Next up, the limited edition J12 Electro Dream, is in either black or white ceramic, combining the twelve colours in gradation of sapphires on the bezel. This is echoed on the dial by 12 baguette-cut markers.
The first duo come in either black or white and are called the J12 Electro Dream Watch Calibre 12.1. The case is 38mm with a thickness of 12.6mm.
The black one is is ceramic and steel with black ADLC treatment, as is the bracelet, which has a triple-folding buckle. The bezel is steel and set with 46 baguette-cut rainbow sapphires for a total of ~6.47 carats. The matte black dial is set with twelve baguette-cut rainbow sapphires (~0.47 carat) and the steel crown has one brilliant-cut diamond (~0.14 carat). Inside is the automatic COSC-certified Calibre 12.1, familiar from other J12s, which beats at 28,800 VPH and has a power reserve of 70 hours.
The white variant is white ceramic and 18k white gold. The bezel is white gold and also set with 46 baguette-cut rainbow sapphires (~6.47 carats). Similarly, the dial and crown are set with the same stones as for the black version, and it also comes on a ceramic bracelet, with an 18k white gold triple-folding buckle.
Limited to fifty-five pieces each, the Australian RRP is $157,300.
For those who prefer a small watch, there is a white ceramic J12 Electro Dream Watch in 33 mm with a thickness of 12.94mm. For this piece, along with the white ceramic there is 18k white gold. The bezel is 18k white gold and set with 46 baguette-cut rainbow sapphires (~4.23 carats), its white dial is lacquered and set with twelve baguette-cut rainbow sapphires (~0.24 carat). The white gold crown is also set with one brilliant-cut diamond (~0.10 carat).
It comes on a white ceramic bracelet with an 18k white gold triple-folding buckle. Perhaps the most significant difference apart from the size between this and the 38mm models is that it comes with a quartz movement.
Also limited to fifty-five pieces, its Australian RRP is $133,700.
The J12 Electro Star is all high jewellery – baguette-cut diamonds, plus baguette-cut sapphires on the sides of the case. The 38mm sized case is 18k white gold set with 22 baguette-cut diamonds (~1.33 carat) and 55 baguette-cut rainbow sapphires (~3.86 carats), the bezel also 18K white gold set with 46 baguette-cut diamonds (~5.46 carats), and the dial is 18K white gold set with 168 baguette-cut diamonds (~4.61 carats). Moving outwards, the crown is 18K white gold and set with one brilliant-cut diamond (~0.14 carat). The bracelet? Yes that’s 18kt white gold as well, this time with 342 baguette-cut diamonds (~21.15 carats) and 160 baguette-cut rainbow sapphires (~8.69 carats) with a triple folding buckle.
If that wasn’t enough, the automatic COSC-certified Calibre 12.1 (with a power reserve of 70 hours) inside has a black oscillating weight set with 52 baguette-cut rainbow sapphires (~0.46 carat).
Limited to twelve numbered pieces, you get a total of 578 baguette-cut diamonds (~32.55 carats) and 1 brilliant-cut diamond (~0.14 carat); 267 baguette-cut rainbow sapphires (~13.01 carats).
Next up, the J12 Xray Electro Caliber 3.1. In a polished white ceramic 38mm sized J12 case, with the bezel, crown and back in 18k white gold, along with the 58 sapphires on the bezel it has 12 baguette-cut sapphires for the hour markers.
Also limited edition to twelve numbered pieces, it has the now familiar rainbow sapphire bezel and dial, this time accompanied by a clear sapphire dial. The case and bracelet are a combination of sapphire and 18K white gold. The fixed bezel is 1kt white gold set with 46 baguette-cut sapphires (~6.46 carats), the sapphire dial is set with 12 baguette-cut rainbow sapphire indicators (~0.48 carat), and there is a single brilliant-cut diamond (~0.17 carat) set in the 18kt white gold crown.
The sapphire bracelet has two links set with 34 baguette-cut diamonds (~1.96 carat) and 18K white gold triple-folding buckle, and the total gem for the entire watch is 34 baguette-cut diamonds (~1.96 carat); 1 brilliant-cut diamond (~0.17 carat); 58 baguette-cut sapphires (~6.94 carats).
Powering this is the transparent sapphire Caliber 3.1., made by Kenissi. It has a 55 hour power reserve.
Toning it down a bit, but retaining the colour scheme, the Première Electro brings the entire Electro colour palette to the octagonal watch with its chain bracelet, with a single-colour leather strap intertwined within the black ADLC-treated steel bracelet.
These will no doubt prove popular, but I suspect even more so will be the limited edition of 555 pieces that has all the colours in a single strip of leather.
There are also five limited edition boxes, each containing seven monochromatic Electro Premières in neon pink, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, or red. One for each day of the week, perhaps?
The Electro is powered by a quartz movement and its case is 23.6mm x 15.8mm x 6.2mm. The case and chain bracelet are steel with black ADLC treatment, the dials black lacquer with a neon logo, and steel crown set with an onyx cabochon.
Next up is the Code Coco Electro, which again is about the outside rather than the movement, which is quartz.
Limited to 255 pieces, this statement wrist accessory is a neon pink quilted calfskin leather cuff with black trim and lining. The dial is black lacquer and divided into two squares – one for the time and the other set with a princess-cut diamond (~0.05 carat). The design is based on the clasp of the 2.55 handbag, with the middle portion representing the bag’s clasp. It measures 39.3mm x 25.0mm x 8.8 mm, and the case is steel with black ADLC treatment.
For Chanel fans who want a bit of bold colour in their life this year, the availability will be staggered over a period of months, so it’s best to check with your nearest boutique/ their website.
[Photo credit: Chanel]