In the world of heritage luxury, few names resonate with as much gravitas as Chanel. This year, the independent brand’s watch division Chanel Horlogerie, a Swiss-based creative manufacture in its own right, unveils a pair of unique pieces for Only Watch 2023 — the Mademoiselle J12 La Pausa duo.

The Mademoiselle J12 La Pausa is a summer version of the J12 in a limited edition featuring a graphical figurine of the late Coco Chanel. For Only Watch 2023, Chanel has created a pair of black and white unique editions. Each don a bezel encrusted with color-matched diamonds, rendering each version one of a kind. Further distinguishing this duo are the glossy cases and bracelets in highly resistant ceramic. This unique set houses the self-winding Chanel caliber 12.1, visible through a sapphire crystal case back engraved “Pièce unique. Only Watch 2023. Mademoiselle J12”.

The backstory

The design takes cues from an iconic photograph of Mademoiselle Chanel herself. The imagery depicts her on vacation in the gardens of La Pausa, her villa nestled in the South of France. Draped in a Breton jersey with sailor’s pants, this image of Mademoiselle Chanel now graces these watches as a graphical drawing, printed on a sapphire glass plate and firmly affixed to the dial.

The inception of Chanel’s watchmaking division dates back to 1987 with the birth of the Première. It wasn’t just a watch but a symbol of sheer femininity, a piece of art that laid the foundation of Le Temps Chanel. Fast-forward to 2000, the J12 series marked a groundbreaking shift, not only for Chanel but also for watchmaking in general. Reimagining ceramic as a precious material and setting the standard with contrasting colors, the J12 soon became a timeless icon.

Chanel Mademoiselle J12 La Pausa

Chanel Mademoiselle J12 La Pausa — the exterior

The unique set, crafted for the Only Watch auction, is a testament to Chanel’s mastery, intertwining creativity with impeccable savoir-faire. Each model sports a 38mm case constructed from black or white highly resistant ceramic. Crafted by G&F Chatelain, a Swiss manufacturing branch of Chanel, this ceramic is famous for its scratch resistance being four times harder than steel. However, this characteristic makes it brittle and delicate to machine, so a ceramic watch case is more challenging to fabricate than one in steel.

Chanel Mademoiselle J12 La Pausa

Aesthetically, the unique Only Watch variants feature a fixed bezel in steel with black coating, punctuated by radiant diamond inserts in either black or white baguette-cut patterns. The crowns also complement the case in steel or with a black coating, each set with a brilliant-cut diamond. Similarly, the dial is lacquered in white and black. Above it, Mademoiselle Chanel takes center stage, her arms serving as hour and minute hands.

The interior

Both pieces are equipped with the self-winding caliber 12.1 developed and produced by the Swiss Manufacture Kenissi. Along with founding brand Tudor, Chanel now holds a significant stake in this venture. First seen in J12 models in 2019 (and went on to win the GPHG Ladies’ Watch Prize that year), the caliber 12.1 traces its lineage to Tudor’s MT5600 family. It has been tailored with the rotor and bridges for Chanel’s proprietary movements, featuring its hallmark design elements. The movement boasts a 28,000vph (4Hz) operating frequency, a free-sprung balance wheel, and a 70-hour power reserve.

The auction estimate

With the Mademoiselle J12 La Pausa duo, Chanel places the very icon of the luxury house right at its heart, juxtaposing its historic significance with a fun and trendy flair. These Only Watch variants amplify the collectibility of a limited edition, appealing to both the young and young-at-heart aficionados. The box set has an estimate of CHF 40,000–50,000. The watches, along with other brands’ entrants, will be on a roadshow to Los Angeles, New York, Monaco, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, and Dubai, concluding in Geneva for the auction on November 5th.

For more information, visit the Only Watch 2023 website.

Watch specifications

Mademoiselle J12 La Pausa
Unique pieces for Only Watch 2023
Black or white-lacquered dial with illustration of Mademoiselle Chanel
Case Material
Black or white highly resistant ceramic, fixed bezel in steel with black coating and black or white ceramic baguette-cut pattern ring, crown in steel or steel with black coating and set with a brilliant-cut diamond
Case Dimensions
38mm (diameter) × 46mm (lug-to-lug) × 12.6mm (thickness)
Case Back
Ceramic with sapphire exhibition window
Caliber 12.1 — self-winding movement developed and produced by the Manufacture Kenissi, 28,800vph frequency, 70-hour power reserve, free-sprung balance, black coating
Water Resistance
50 meters
Black or white highly resistant ceramic bracelet with steel triple-folding buckle
Time only (hours and minutes)
Estimate: CHF 40,000–50,000
Five years