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The Chanel J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5 is stealthy, glam and technical all at once The Chanel J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5 is stealthy, glam and technical all at once

The Chanel J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5 is stealthy, glam and technical all at once

Jamie Weiss

The tourbillon is perhaps the most eye-catching complication in all of watchmaking, and diamonds are the most coveted of all gemstones. But what happens when you combine the two? Chanel has answered that question with the J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5, which features Chanel’s first in-house flying tourbillon movement. 2024 has seen Chanel introduce two new iterations of this model: a white ceramic model for the first time, and a stealthy matte black ceramic model, both of which feature the single, huge namesake diamond that adorns its tourbillon.

 

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The case

Chanel J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5 in hand

Since its introduction, the Chanel J12 has rarely been made out of any material other than ceramic, save for a few sapphire-cased models, and the J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5 is no exception. As mentioned above, two versions of this watch are available: a matte black ceramic model and a glossy white ceramic model, both of which are almost entirely made from ceramic – including their casebacks – save for a select few components in steel, such as their crowns and other functional elements like spring bars and screws.

An interesting expression of Chanel’s watchmaking savoir-faire can be found on these watches’ bezels, which appear to be set with baguette-cut diamonds but are actually set with case-matching ceramic bezel rings. This makes them less blingy than the previous iteration of this model, which did indeed feature a diamond-set bezel as well as a diamond-set crown, hands and tourbillon cage. Combined with their 38mm cases, these new novelties are decidedly more unisex.

The dial

Chanel J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5 dial

These two new Chanel J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5s have semi-openworked dials crafted from case-matched ceramic, with a slightly offset dial-within-a-dial design. This offbeat look focuses the eye on the watch’s namesake flying tourbillon, which is set with a large 0.18ct solitaire diamond specifically cut to enhance its brilliance. This large gem rotates with the seconds within the middle of the tourbillon cage: an intriguing and opulent design feature. Circular motifs abound, with the exposed gearwork, minute track and tourbillon cages giving off stealthy Y2K vibes.

The bracelet

Chanel J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5 bracelet

Continuing the colour-matching theme, the Chanel J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5 comes mounted on a case-matched ceramic bracelet – so either a glossy white or matte black number – with a steel triple-folding buckle. If I had to pick a favourite colour, the black model appeals more to me aesthetically, but I find the glossy texture of the white model’s bracelet more comfortable. Both being ceramic, they’re highly scratch-resistant, and thin enough to help this watch slip under a cuff with ease.

The movement

Chanel J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5 caseback

The product of over three years of development, the Calibre 5 at the heart of the Chanel J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5 is Chanel’s first in-house flying tourbillon movement, designed in Paris by Arnaud Chastaingt, Director of the Chanel Watchmaking Creation Studio but assembled in Switzerland at the Maison’s manufacture.

At only 28.4mm in diameter and 6.25mm thick, the Calibre 5 is impressively small. It beats at 4Hz, boasts a variable inertia balance and balance shock protection system, and a 42-hour power reserve, wound by hand. The lack of an automatic rotor lets you admire its considered design, with its bridges and tourbillon cage designed to evoke the interlocked Cs of the Chanel monogram.

The verdict

Chanel J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5 on wrist

While calling these new Chanel J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5s “stealth wealth” might be pushing the boat out a little bit too far, I think there’s something rather compelling about their mix of glam and traditional sports watch aesthetics. Ditching the diamond-set bezel and dial elements definitely helps these watches expand their appeal – as does this watch’s pleasing proportions – while also serving to focus on the highlight that is that big ol’ diamond dancing in the middle of that in-house tourbillon movement.

Chanel J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5 pricing & availability

Availability for the Chanel J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5 has yet to be confirmed, but we have been able to confirm pricing. Price: US$108,100, A$183,300.

Brand Chanel
Model J12 Diamond Tourbillon Calibre 5
Case Dimensions 38mm
Case Material Matte black or glossy white ceramic, steel fixed bezel with ceramic insert
Water Resistance 50m
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial Case-matched ceramic, semi-openworked
Lug Width 19mm
Strap Case-matched ceramic bracelet, steel triple-folding buckle
Movement Calibre 5, in-house, manual-winding
Power Reserve 42 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, flying tourbillon
Availability TBC
Price US$108,100 / A$183,300