How are you passing time? As we all stay home, in order to flatten the curve and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, time—and how we choose to spend it—has never felt more of the essence than now. So it’s only fitting that Chanel celebrates the 20th anniversary of its iconic J12 watch.
Conceived in 2000, the luxury timepiece was first handcrafted in Switzerland, in a Chanel atelier, under the guidance of then artistic director, Jacques Helleu. In 2013, Arnaud Chastaingt resumed the role and, over a period of four years, revised the iconic timepiece to inject a sense of the new into the classic watch. As he told The New York Times in 2019: “My job wasn’t to revolutionise, Jacques had already done that… For me, it was more about evolution. In some ways, it is easier to start from scratch than retouch a creation like this.”
Now, two decades since its making, the J12 watch sits comfortably alongside, and is indeed one of, Chanel’s icons. Like the 2.55 classic flap bag, or Chanel’s No. 5 perfume, it is as innovative as it is classic, as modern as it is covetable and signifies the ultimate emblem of Parisian luxury. It also calls to mind the famous faces and friends of the house of Chanel like Keira Knightley, Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer who have become synonymous with the brand.
So, to mark 20 years of the iconic timepiece, Campbell, Schiffer, Lily-Rose Depp, Ali MacGraw and Vanessa Paradis—each Chanel muses in their own respects—gathered in Chanel’s latest digital campaign to reflect on their last two decades in celebration of the J12’s milestone birthday.
“It would be the most wonderful to spend 20 years with my loved ones, my family and friends. It’s a simple answer but it’s true,” muses Depp in the campaign. Growing up with her mother (and Chanel muse), Paradis, Depp further reflected in a press release for the campaign: “Chanel has to be [the] first word I learned to read. There are people in this team who have watched me grow up. I have absolute confidence in them and their counsel. They have always looked out for me in the most gracious, generous and warm way. I’m very lucky to have been acquainted with this brand starting at such a young age.”
Schiffer, who also began working with the French luxury house as a young model, reflects: “The most wonderful 20 years with… would be with my family.” For Campbell, the time would be spent in Africa exclusively and as for Paradis? “The best thing would be to stay 20 for 20 years,” she says.