giovedì 3 marzo 2022

The unfinished articles, part 4: a letter from an ex-CHANEL employee (the old CHANEL batch codes revealed).

(Well, here it is. One of the most important article Andre tried to write.  Never been able to post it as an article, so we post it as "unfinished". The keypoint is How to date Chanel perfumes produced in the world, with apparently impossible-to-decipher batchcodes. Luckily we found an old -now retired- Chanel employee who explained us how to solve the mistery: Chanel used five different batchcodes in the same time! 
Please pardon us, received first in French, then translated in italian, re-traslated in English. last corrections dated June 2016. A few pictures added later for a better comprehension) 

"Hi Andre! 
I received your request through our mutual friend XXXX (...) You ask me if I can help you in decrypting the Chanel batchcodes that were used during the 70s, 80s and 90s around the world. Actually, many years have passed, I worked in the Chanel factory in New Jersey too, well, many years ago! but I still remember something (...) I read your article on Chanel 4-numbers batchcodes, yes, it's correct, it shifted month-by-month and repeated every 8 years (from 00 to 99, then restarted). Well, in America -and outside Europe- the situation was a bit different, codes were partially based on the French ones or completely different, and now I will try to explain how Chanel batchcodes worked.
Chanel codes are so difficult to understand for a simple reason: we used FIVE DIFFERENT BATCHCODES at the same time. If you don't understand how they work, you are lost. So, the first thing to be aware of is to recognize the different types of code. 
The amazing thing is that you will eventually discover how easy it is to understand and use. At the end you will be able to date every perfume! Let's start!

Before starting, keep in mind one thing: in many cases the batch codes were written with ink on the bottom of the bottles, and on wrapping cellophane... and they could be erased very easily. 

The first batchcode it's the main one, the French, classic 4-numbers batchcode, you have to check only the first two numbers. These numbers change each month (just an example: 00 is "January", 01 is "February", 03 is "March", etc, when arrived at 99 -i.e. 8 years later- it restarted. The bad thing is that there are no info about years, so you must rely on other clues. Labels, barcodes, list of ingredients... nothing new under the sun. 

The second batchcode 
It consists of 3 digits: 2 numbers + a letter. (example: 75S, or 83F, or 12Q, or 04T, or 92P.... )
It is basically similar to the French one. We have to consider only the numbers, which "shift" every month (00,01,02,03,etc.); the code repeats every 8 years. Obviously, it is impossible to know the year of production if there are no other clues such as the box, the barcode, etc. 
A few examples:

Batch 10K = year 1975 

Batch 64H = 1979, December 

Batch 76U = 1980, december

Batch 79Q = 1981 March

Batch 06Q = 1983, June.

Batch 01U = 1983, January

Let's go on...

The third batch code: 11-digits on the box. This is important when you can only check the box. It might seem like something impossible, but, wait, it is very simple indeed: remove the first two digits, and consider only the third-fourth-fifth-sixth number: these are the numbers of the French, classical batchcode. That's all!

Remove first and second number,
and consider third-to-sixth only..... voila! Batch code on the bottle
is 4023 = year 1977 (or 1986)

Here we are....

The fourth batch code. Pay attention now: there is another 3-digits batch code. But it's "Two letters-One number".  Example: CF4, or GA1, or TE2, or PB1... This is the most difficult. 

First letter is the year. Follow this scheme: 

1977 = A

1978 = B

1979 = C

1980 = D

1981 = E

1982 = F

1983 = G

1984 = H

1985 = I

1986 = J

1987 = K

1988 = L

1989 = M

1990 = N

1991 = O

1992 = P

1993 = Q

1994 = R

1995 = S

1996 = T

1997 = U

1998 = V

1999 = W

2000 = X

2001 = Y

2002 = Z

A few examples:

Batch BA1 = year 1978

Batch JH1 = year 1986

Batch PA1 = year 1992

Batch PK1 = year 1992

Batch QC1 = year 1993

Batch SB1 = year 1995

Batch WK1 = year 1999

Batch XA1 = year 2000

And finally, here is the fifth batchcode. Apparently it's an unknown, mysterious "4-digit code": 3 letters + 1 number. (example: PAB1, or PFG2, or PSE3...). Basically it's a variation of the third one, with the letter "P" always at first place. So, put simply, remove the letter "P" and you will obtain the code.

Batch PKF1 = i.e. KF1 = year 1987

Batch PJF1 = i.e. JF1 = year 1986

Batch PMH1 = i.e. MH1 = year 1989

Batch PWB2 = i.e. WB2 = year 1999

...and that's all! Hope it can help you!

Thanks to : Grace Hummel , Kafkaesque, Alfarom, and all friends from Basenotes and Fragrantica. 

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