It’s Chinese New Year again, and with it comes the customary drop of special-edition luxury timepieces. This time, they’re dedicated to the second zodiacal sign – that of the loyal, hard-working, dependable and determined ox.
The Swiss maison has created a pair of limited-edition Métiers d’Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac –Year of the Ox timepieces for the upcoming Chinese New Year. One is in platinum with a blue dial, but it’s this magnificent specimen in pink gold with a brown dial that best captures the essence of the beast of burden. Not only have the house’s engravers and enamellers replicated the traditional Chinese paper-cutting technique of jianzhi on the grand feu dial, but they also incorporated etched representations of grass and foliage, as well as the engraved image of the animal itself, which is rendered in pink gold. Powered by the Calibre 2460 G4, the 40mm watch displays the time via four apertures that show hours, minutes, days and dates. Only 12 pieces of each model are available.
One of two Chinese New Year timepieces from Chopard, the L.U.C XP Urushi Spirit of Shí Chen comes in a limited edition of 88 pieces. It’s the first L.U.C watch to display the complete Chinese zodiac, which it does with a new complication that reveals the animals in a slow parade on a rotating Urushi-lacquer disc. The lacquer dial, which is produced by the century-old Japanese company Yamada Heiando, also incorporates the symbol of prosperity and the god, Lu Xing. In a 40mm ethical rose gold case, the watch is powered by the automatic L.U.C 96.29-L calibre, a variant of the manufacture’s existing ultra-thin Calibre 96 that incorporates the zodiac complication and measures just 3.97mm thick.
From Breguet’s Chinese New Year offerings is this ladies’ Reine de Naples 8955 Cammea Year of the Metal Ox, a limited edition of eight pieces that’s presented in a rose gold case set with 2.8 carats of diamonds. Pride of place goes to the relief- carved cameo dial in white and brown, each made from a specially selected seashell, whose engraving – by an Italian father-and-son team – takes some 20 days to complete. The 40mm by 31.95mm creation is powered by the automatic Calibre 537/3, which provides a reserve of 45 hours and is visible through a sapphire caseback. A signature and serial number are engraved in gold at the case base, on which the owner can also have her name similarly inscribed.
The Lunar New Year offering from the American jeweller comes in the form of this ladies’ Premier Chinese New Year Ox Automatic 36mm, which displays the image of a jewelled bovine with white mother-of-pearl details on a dial of bright red beaded mother-of-pearl featuring a wave decor, 105 brilliant-cut diamonds and a single emerald-cut diamond at 12 o’clock. In a jewel-set rose gold case, the watch is embellished with a total of 174 brilliant-cut diamonds that weigh 2.74 carats. It displays hours and minutes in an offset dial, draws power from the Swiss-made automatic calibre HW2014 and is available in a limited edition of eight pieces.
To mark the arrival of the Year of the Ox, Jaquet Droz has produced three timepieces in its Ateliers d’Art collection, each showcasing two artisanal techniques. Shown here is the Petite Heure Minute Relief Buffalo in a 41mm red gold case, which is available in a limited edition of just eight pieces. The dial depicts a hand-engraved and hand-painted buffalo and tree relief appliqué in red gold, with 27 rubies adorning the latter. With hours and minutes displayed in a large off-centre dial at 12 o’clock, the timepiece is powered by the Jaquet Droz 2653.Si self-winding mechanical movement, which provides a 68-hour power reserve.
From the manufacture’s Villeret collection, Blancpain’s Calendrier Chinois Traditionnel comes in a limited edition of 50 pieces and eschews a large representation of the ox in favour of a discreet silhouette at 12 o’clock. As the name suggests, this highly complicated timepiece features a full traditional Chinese calendar, with double hour indication, signs of the zodiac, Chinese date and month, indication of the five elements with 10 celestial stems, leap months, Gregorian calendar and moonphases. In a 45mm platinum case with a grand feu dial, it’s powered by the self-winding Calibre 3638, whose oscillating weight is set with a Madagascan ruby and endowed with up to seven days of power.
The annual Chinese New Year watch release from Piaget comes in the guise of this ultra-thin Altiplano Year of the Ox in a 38mm white gold case, with 0.71 carats of brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel and a grand feu cloisonné enamel dial by master enameller Anita Porchet. Using a technique dating back four millennia, Porchet created miniature gold partitions or cloisons on the dial, into which she placed the enamel pigments before the dial was fired and varnished. The watch is powered by the hand-wound 430P calibre, which measures just 2.1mm thick, and is presented on a black leather strap.
(Art direction: Aaron Lee)