Chanel is a fashion house that has produced luxury watches in Switzerland since 1987.
The Chanel jewelry brand was created in 1932 in Paris. The Chanel watch brand was launched in 1987 with the Chanel Première, produced under contract in Switzerland and sold in a new Paris boutique opened that same year. Chanel acquired this supplier, G&F Châtelain of La Chaux-de-Fonds, in 1993, establishing their own watchmaking presence. Chanel is owned by Gérard and Alain Wertheimer, who also have an investment in Bell & Ross.
In 1999, Chanel announced the iconic and celebrated unisex Chanel J12. Originally available in black ceramic, the white version was introduced in 2003 and would become its signature piece. Later, Chanel diversified into mens watches with the Chanel Monsieur and Chanel Boy-Friend.
Chanel surprised the industry in 2005 with the Chanel J12 Tourbillon, an aggressive move for the young brand and the first with a ceramic main plate. Credibility continued to improve due to a partnership with Audemars Piguet which resulted in the launch of Cal. 3125 in the J12. Chanel also works with Giulio Papi, who helped create the 2010 Chanel J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse and the 2012 Chanel Première Flying Tourbillon with Renaud et Papi. In 2016, the Monsieur de Chanel collection was introduced, along with an in-house high-end complicated movement.
In 2018, it was revealed that Chanel had purchased a 20% stake in prestigious watch manufacturer F. P. Journe. The next year, Chanel purchased 20% of Kenissi, a movement manufacturer which shares half of a Le Locle factory with Tudor. Kenissi produced an in-house movement for the Chanel J12 starting in 2019. Cal. 12.1 is based on the Tudor MT5600 movement family.