|Automatic, Bi-Directional Automatic Winding, Central Rotor Automatic Winding
|26.00 mm (11.5 ligne)
|Date, Hacking Seconds
|Central Hour Hand, Central Minute Hand, Central Seconds Hand, Date Window at 4:30
|Distinguishing Technical Characteristics
|Production: 2019 – Current
Cal. 12.1 is a compact automatic movement with date produced by Kenissi for Chanel.
Introduced in 2019 in the famous Chanel J12, Cal. 12.1 shares its design with the Tudor Cal. MT5402 but is modified in many ways. One major mechanical difference is the addition of a date complication, raising the number of jewels to 28. But not all examples include this complication, so many have 27 jewels. Still, Chanel uses the same name (Calibre 12.1) for all such movements.
The Chanel J12 with Cal. 12.1 won the Ladies Watch Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2019. This award recognized the J12 for its long history of success but the focus of this nomination was the movement, Cal. 12.1.
Cal. 12.1 is a COSC-certified chronometer and features high-end features like a variable inertia balance wheel with a free-sprung hairspring. It boasts a 70 hour power reserve, all features shared with the newest movements from Rolex and Tudor. The balance is mounted on a full bridge for stability. The bi-directional central winding rotor is supported by seven ball bearings and mounted with a central screw.
There has been some confusion about the provenance of Cal. 12.1, with many sources incorrectly saying that it is based on the earlier Tudor Cal. MT5602. But that 31.8 mm movement is far too large to fit in the 36 mm case of the Chanel J12. Images of the movement clearly resemble the smaller 26 mm Tudor Cal. MT5402 as well, notably the wheels reaching the edge of the main plate and 7-ball bearing rotor.
Tudor MT54 Family Overview
Tudor’s MT54 family appeared in 2018 with the introduction of Tudor’s compact Cal. MT5402. Measuring just 26 mm in diameter (11 ligne), which movement was used in the smaller Black Bay Fifty-Eight 39 mm watch models. Once production was underway at the new joint venture manufacture in Le Locle, Kinessi, specialized versions were created for Chanel and Norqain, Cal. 12.1 and NN20/1, respectively.
All three movements share the same architecture but differ dramatically in execution. The most obvious difference is the use of brand-specific winding rotors, with Chanel’s offset circle motif particularly striking. The Chanel Cal. 12.1 is also available with a date complication (and an extra jewel) though the name remains the same. Chanel’s movement also appears to be a bit reduced in diameter compared to the Tudor movement, though not by more than a few tenths of a millimeter.Images are taken from official publications and are used here for commentary and educational purposes. Copyright is held by the original owner as noted.