News Baselworld 2010

To celebrate the J12’s tenth anniversary, Chanel is offering a totally new watchmaking complication where aesthetics bow to technical prowess. To celebrate the J12’s tenth anniversary, Chanel is offering a totally new watchmaking complication where technical prowess bows to aesthetics...

J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse

When technical prowess bows to aesthetics

The Watch Quote™ - March 17th, 2010

Chanel J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse - 18 carat white gold - black ceramic - Limited edition of ten numbered pieces

Once upon a time there was a round watch. Perfectly round, with no side winding crown to spoil the perfection of this roundness.

In 2000, to create a black watch, perfectly black, Chanel turned to ceramic, the only high- tech material capable of achieving this. It was logical for Chanel to put the question of this round watch, perfectly round with no crown, to one of the most creative teams in fine complications - the Giulio Papi team at APRP (Audemars Piguet Renaud Papi).

An authentic finely-mechanical “complication” was a must if the J12’s tenth anniversary was to be celebrated in fitting style: a way of marking a new stage in Chanel’s career at the heart of fine watchmaking.



The first J12 tourbillon was launched in 2005. This was first in the history of watchmaking - combining a tourbillon with a ceramic watch which also had a ceramic mainplate.

Having acquired a taste for this fine watchmaking, the J12 gave itself a “manufacture” movement in 2008 (calibre 3125, developed in partnership with Audemars Piguet with an innovative ceramic oscillating weight).

2010 - how to devise a fine watchmaking J12 totally in line with the designs of the House of Chanel? How to turn this desire for a perfectly round complicated watch into reality? How to marry Chanel tradition and Swiss micro-mechanical tradition? Guilio Papi, author of some of the most attractive neo-complications in recent years, took up the Chanel challenge.

Immediate response - move the crown!

Chanel J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse - 18 carat yellow gold - black ceramic - Limited edition of ten numbered pieces

Why not put it on the dial, something never tried before? This immediately raised the problem of the hands - how to make them move round the dial with this crown in the way? This in turn created a further problem - a raised crown on the watch. Why not a vertical retractable crown which would be even more daring?

Just because it’s never been tried doesn’t mean it can’t be done, especially when the Chanel and Giulio Papi teams are working together. It was therefore necessary to invent, in a tourbillon movement, a minute hand capable not just of moving around the dial but also around the crown right on the dial itself.

The only way - the return journey! Move the minute hand forward until it butts up against the crown, then reverse it until it is positioned on the other side of the crown.

In this case, if the hand moves forward then goes into reverse to pick up its travel, what happens to the accuracy of the watch? How can it give the time during this retrograde interval?

As the hand can no longer indicate the minutes, figures - digital display - step in in a magnifying aperture located between 5 o’clock and 6 o’clock, an ingenious idea which in no way disturbs the rate of the hour hand.



The name of this watch is beginning to take on meaning: Rétrograde for the minute hand which reverses its travel for ten minutes during which, at each revolution of the dial, the hand returns to its position under the crown - i.e. between 10 and 20 past each hour, with the minute counted in figures in the magnifying aperture at the bottom of the dial - and Mystérieuse for the mysterious workings of this dual analog and digital display. It is a highly technical and very aesthetically-pleasing watch complication.

Simple to devise but perhaps not so simple to produce! All the more so as this sequentially retrograded hand, duplicated by a digital display of minutes, is an absolute first in watchmaking history. Just like the vertical crown built into the dial, which is deactivated by pressing it flush with the crystal or activated by finger pressure to “release” and manipulate it.




To summarise, what happens every hour?
  • For the first ten minutes, hours and minutes are read very traditionally in the middle of the watch.
  • At the tenth minute of the hour (i.e. at 2 o’clock on the dial), the minute hand reverses its rotation and turns anti-clockwise. It is therefore moving backwards and will take ten minutes to return to its traditional position at the twentieth minute (4 o’clock on the dial). For this counter revolution of 300 (50 min. x 6/min.), it “regresses” at the rate of five minutes of dial every minute.
  • During these ten minutes of retrogradation, every minute passed can be read on a disc engraved 11 to 19 in a magnifying aperture. This digital disc only moves slowly during this interval of moving backwards. It remains in neutral (no figures) during the fifty minutes of the normal rotation of the minute hand.
  • After the ten minutes of moving backwards, reading the time returns to normal. • This moving backwards of the hand - a “sliding” reversal in its rate - has no adverse effect on the accuracy of the watch, unlike the traditional system of retrograde hands, which requires coiling a spring and therefore an excessive consumption of power.
  • At 11 o’clock, a power reserve per hand indicates the operating time for the movement until it is next wound manually (the movement is designed to operate for ten days, once two parallel barrels are fully wound).




And what other mechanical subtleties are still hidden
in J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse?
  • The vertical crown has to be pressed to make it usable - it is normally lowered in stand-by position (functions disconnected). It then rises out of its housing.
  • To set the time correctly, a vertical ceramic push-piece concealed in the bezel decoration is pressed: located at 2 o’clock, this push-piece is used to move the hands forward to set the hour and the minutes (including those between 10 and 20, with an accelerated retrogradation speed). The push-piece at 4 o’clock is pressed to disconnect this time setting function.
  • To transfer to winding mode, the system is activated by pressing the vertical push-piece at 4 o’clock: the crown is turned to wind the movement. Fifty turns are needed to wind both barrels fully. This can be checked on the power reserve.
  • To deactivate the vertical crown, it is pressed back into its housing where it remains blocked until next required.
  • Do not miss the monolithic bridges and the ceramic mainplate, with its superb design on the back of the watch.

Guilio Papi’s team has won its wager. This J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse is not just a piece which respects the Chanel style and values, it is also a truly complicated watch, both mechanically - it is the first time that this type of retrograde hand has been attempted - and aesthetically. It involves a triple complication in the strictest sense of the word - tourbillon, retrograde minute and clutchable crown. This combination is a world first, worthy of entry in watchmaking annals.



The size of the case (47 mm) quite clearly intends this innovative tourbillon for a masculine audience, but without ignoring the “couture” subtleties of Chanel design: attention to the slightest detail, concern for the line, the taste for being “spot on”, the rejection of easiness. With a new learning curve for the watchmaking team working on this J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse - tactility, an entirely new exploration field for watchmaking, which has never before used the tactile approach or sensory perception (other than visual) in its watches.



Chanel wanted a complete re-think of the complication for its tenth anniversary with its own vision of mechanical watchmaking and watch aesthetics. Not quite breaking with tradition, the J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse opens up a new perspective on perpetually contemporary watches.

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Chanel J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse - 18 carat white gold - white ceramic - Limited edition of one numbered piece

Functionality and adjustment

Technical prowess bows to aesthetics

  • For the first ten minutes, the hours and minutes are read the same way as a traditional watch: from the middle.
  • At the tenth minute of the hour, the minute hand reverses its rotation and sets off again anti-clockwise.
  • It is therefore moving backwards and will take ten minutes to return to its traditional position at the twentieth minute. For this counter revolution of 300 (50 min. x 6/min.), the minute hand ‘regresses’ at the rate of five minutes of dial every minute.
  • During these ten minutes (retrograde period), every minute passed can be read on a disc figured 11 to 19 in a magnifying aperture. this digital disc moves slowly during the interval when the minute hand moves backwards. it remains in neutral (no figures) during the fifty minutes of the normal rotation of this hand. after ten minutes of moving backwards, reading the time returns to normal.
  • At 11 o’clock, a hand power reserve indicates how much time is left before it must be manually wound again (the movement is designed to operate for about ten days, i.e. 237 hours once the two parallel barrels are fully wound).

Winding the movement manually

STAGE 1
Press the crown to release it

Stage 1


STAGE 2
Press firmly on the push-piece at 4 o’clock until you hear a click (thereby selecting ‘manual winding’)

Stage 2


STAGE 3
Wind manually or using a tool (supplied with the watch), until the power reserve gauge hand moves to the right (about fifty turns are required to rewind the watch fully)

Stage 3


STAGE 4
ress the crown and push firmly until you hear a click (resetting the function)

Stage 4


Setting the time

Stage 1
Press the crown to release it

Stage 1


STAGE 2
Press firmly on the push-piece at 2 o’clock until you hear a click (thereby selecting ‘setting the time’)

Stage 2


STAGE 3
caution: due to the retrograde system, the time can only be set in one direction of the hands. care should be taken when setting the time to avoid going beyond the desired time. to prevent potentially damaging the mechanism, the crown will stop functioning if turned anti-clockwise. When the minute hand is on ‘10’, minutes 11 to 19 are read on the disc underneath the magnifier. the minutes are read by the hand once more on reaching ‘20’

Stage 3


STAGE 4
Press the crown and push firmly until you hear a click (resetting the function)

Stage 4

Innovations and key components

Movement designed exclusively for Chanel
by Renaud et Papi (APRP sa)

Calibre CHANEL RMT-10
  • Chanel calibre RMT-10
  • Manual winding
  • Power reserve: about ten days (237 hours), with indicator
  • Number of components: 315
  • Components chamfered, stretched and circular-grained by hand
  • Height: 10.90 mm
  • Casing ring dimension: 36 mm
  • Number of rubies: 44
  • Tourbillon: 85 components
  • Carriage weight: 0.464 g
  • Frequency: 21,600 vibrations/hour (3 Hz)
  • Motor component: 2 barrels
  • Spring torque: 460 g.mm per barrel
  • Movement mainplate: high-tech* black ceramic
  • Function selection yoke plate: titanium
  • Shockproof system on the balance
  • Adjustable stud support

Retrograde hand

Retrograde hand

Retrograde
Retrograde minute hand,
ten minutes every hour from 10’ to 20’
Retrograde with gears

Draging minute
Dragging minute bridge. Titanium black PVD
Hand chamfers, sanded surfaces.
Dragging minute disc with indication from 11’ to 19’
Aluminium, black lacquered finish

Crown and push-pieces

Crown:

Crown and push-pieces

Protected by a patent lodged by CHANEL, it has three major groundbreaking features:
  1. The design of a vertical retractable system whereby the crown can enter and leave the case by simple pressure.
  2. The construction of a perpendicular connection between the movement and the crown stem.
  3. The creation of a mechanism with two high-tech* black ceramic push-pieces hidden in the bezel to activate the crown functionality.
    - Push-piece no. 1 at 4 o’clock activates the movement winding function.
    - Push-piece no. 2 at 2 o’clock activates the time setting function

Function selection mechanism

Function selection mechanism

Alters the crown’s operating mode: winding and setting the time.
Steel, drawn strokes above, hand-polished chamfering,satin-polish sides.

Dual-barrel bridge and retrograde mechanism

Dual-barrel bridge and retrograde mechanism

An exceptional piece capable of withstanding the mechanical stresses applied by the two barrels 2 x 460 g.

Black chromatised aluminium
Hand chamfering.

10-day power reserve

Double-barillet

Dual-barrel

Black PVD with stopwork which ensures the best driving force.
Circular-grained above, hand-polished chamfering, satin-polish sides.

Pont de réserve de marche

Power reserve bridge

Titanium black PVD.
Hand chamfering and sanded surfaces
Power reserve index in circular-grained titanium
Increasingly-galvanic figures.

Tourbillon with sapphire upper bridge

Tourbillon with sapphire upper bridge

Frequency:3 Hertz (21,600 vib./h)/td>
Speed:One revolution per minute
Tourbillon bridges:S apphire and high-tech* ceramic, hand polished chamfers positioned at 9 o’clock
Balance:Black, with variable inertia moment with four adjustable screws in 18 carat gold
Balance diameter:10mm
Carriage:S teel
Carriage weight:0.464 g
Chamfering:Hand-polished

High-tech* ceramic mainplate

High-tech* ceramic mainplate

Black high-tech* ceramic mainplate with three bridges. Genuine monolith with polished angles, satin-polish sides and polished upper surface.

High technological performance due to the hardness of the material (9 on the Mohs scale) and the accuracy required for drillings: 1.013 mm holes with plus or minus 0.005 mm tolerance.

Collection

Limited and numbered edition to ten pieces

Chanel J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse
18 carat white gold - black ceramic - Limited edition of ten numbered pieces

Chanel J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse - 18 carat white gold - black ceramic - Limited edition of ten numbered pieces

Case:47 mm in diameter in high-tech* black ceramic
Bezel:18 carat gold, twelve high-tech* ceramic inserts.
The inserts at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock activate the crown functions
Crystal:Colourless, dual-face crystal with anti-reflective coating
Hands:Pierced skeletons in 18 carat gold
Caseback:18 carat gold with colourless, dual-face sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
Movement:CHANEL Calibre RMT-10, designed exclusively for Chanel by Renaud et Papi (APRP SA)
Crown:Polished, circular-grained steel. “Clou de Paris” pattern in 18 carat gold, capped by high-tech* black ceramic
Strap:46 hinged links in high-tech* black ceramic
Clasp:CHANEL-patented three-part folding buckle in 18 carat gold
Water resistance:30 metres
Series: Limited edition of ten numbered pieces in 18 carat white gold


Chanel J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse
18 carat yellow gold - black ceramic - Limited edition of ten numbered pieces

Chanel J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse - 18 carat yellow gold - black ceramic - Limited edition of ten numbered pieces

Case:47 mm in diameter in high-tech* black ceramic
Bezel:18 carat gold, twelve high-tech* ceramic inserts.
The inserts at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock activate the crown functions
Crystal:Colourless, dual-face crystal with anti-reflective coating
Hands:Pierced skeletons in 18 carat gold
Caseback:18 carat gold with colourless, dual-face sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
Movement:CHANEL Calibre RMT-10, designed exclusively for Chanel by Renaud et Papi (APRP SA)
Crown:Polished, circular-grained steel. “Clou de Paris” pattern in 18 carat gold, capped by high-tech* black ceramic
Strap:46 hinged links in high-tech* black ceramic
Clasp:CHANEL-patented three-part folding buckle in 18 carat gold
Water resistance:30 metres
Series: Limited edition of ten numbered pieces in 18 carat yellow gold


Chanel J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse
18 carat white gold - white ceramic - Limited edition of one numbered piece

Chanel J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse - 18 carat white gold - white ceramic - Limited edition of one numbered piece

Case:47 mm in diameter in high-tech* black ceramic
Bezel:18 carat gold, twelve high-tech* ceramic inserts.
The inserts at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock activate the crown functions
Crystal:Colourless, dual-face crystal with anti-reflective coating
Hands:Pierced skeletons in 18 carat gold
Caseback:18 carat gold with colourless, dual-face sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
Movement:CHANEL Calibre RMT-10, designed exclusively for Chanel by Renaud et Papi (APRP SA)
Crown:Polished, circular-grained steel. “Clou de Paris” pattern in 18 carat gold, capped by high-tech* white ceramic
Strap:46 hinged links in high-tech* white ceramic
Clasp:CHANEL-patented three-part folding buckle in 18 carat gold
Water resistance:30 metres
Series: Limited edition of one numbered piece in 18 carat white gold

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