Time, precious time: Chanel launches J12∙XS

Written by Lily Templeton

Good things come in small packages and the Chanel J12’s new XS incarnation is a very good thing indeed.

Regularly reissued since its creation in 1999 by the late and great Jacques Helleu, the J12 fast became a milestone of the use of ceramics in watchmaking for a wider audience.

For the J12.XS, the latest 19mm incarnation, the house explored the idea of this timekeeper as a functional decoration, recreating it as a ring – in the tradition of 1980 -, on a trompe-l’œil multi-strap cuff, as part of a fingerless glove from Causse – a nod to the inimitable Karl Lagerfeld – or even as a haute piece enlivened by the precious embroideries of Maison Lesage with shagreen, alligator or python designs.

Its playful nature, expressed both in its minute size and the homophonous fugue between XS and excess of its name, is evident in many of these variations which bring together precious elements with patent leather and steel.

Unveiled last July in New York before travelling to Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong over the summer, the timepieces have certainly caught eyes: the house has indicated that many of its high jewellery versions (including the stunning ring) had already been purchased long before the exhibition reached Paris in early September.