The Lunar New Year is fast approaching, and with it comes the celebration of everything the second animal in the Chinese zodiac, the ox, symbolises: diligence, patience and attention to detail — which also happen to be qualities we want in our watchmakers.
This year’s crop of dedicated timepieces don’t disappoint: brands at the top of their artistic game are once more given an opportunity to show off their skills, while also giving their Chinese fans a little wearable luck. Given how 2020 went, we’ll take it.
Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Ox
If you’ve been keeping up with Chopard’s efforts to celebrate the Chinese New Year since 2013, you’d be correct in expecting another exotic Urushi lacquer dial for 2021. This time, master lacquer artist Minori Koizumi of the established Yamada Heiando company adds a carved cart-pulling ox to the 39.5mm watch, enhanced by layers of lacquer paint and gold flecks achieved by another Japanese technique, maki-e. It is powered by the ultra-thin L.U.C 96.17 movement, and limited to 88 pieces.
Blancpain Traditional Chinese Calendar, Year of the Ox
It’s been nine years since its debut, but Blancpain’s Traditional Chinese Calendar is still one of the most technically intriguing calendar watches in modern horology. In addition to the standard time and date, the watch manages to include a good deal of Chinese calendar indicators, including lunar months, zodiac animals, five elements and the 10 celestial stems. While the non-limited models are cased in red gold and feature a guilloche rotor, the annual zodiac editions are in platinum with a rotor engraved with the coinciding animal. This one is limited to 50 pieces.
Harry Winston Premier Chinese New Year Ox
It’s hard not to tire of the red and gold livery splashed all over everything this season, but trust Harry Winston to make it work. The red mother-of-pearl is rich and luscious, the gem-setting is restrained yet contemporary, and the contrasting dial textures speaks to the brand’s level of craftsmanship. The Premier Chinese New Year Ox may be unapologetically festive, but it still manages to be chic enough for the rest of the year. Each of the eight pieces will be presented in a silkscreened red lacquer box.
Piaget Altiplano Year of the Ox
When it comes to its Chinese New Year watches, Piaget gets straight to the point: pick an animal and get Anita Porchet to paint it. Timepieces bearing the work of Switzerland’s most treasured enameler aren’t exactly numerous, so any example of her meticulous technique is prized. Here she uses the cloisonne enamel technique to bring the ox to life, where cells made of gold strands are filled with enamel and fired multiple times to achieve the right shades and perfect evenness. The 38mm white gold case is ringed with 79 brilliant-cut diamonds and is powered by the ultra thin 430P manual winding movement. Limited to 38 pieces.
Vacheron Constantin Metiers d’Art — The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac, Year of the Ox
There is always much to admire on Vacheron Constantin’s Metiers d’Art pieces, which is why there aren’t any hands to obscure the view in the Chinese Zodiac series. Instead, the hours, minutes, days and dates can be read off four apertures around the dial so you can better admire the hand-engraved ox, etched vegetal motifs and the smooth blue or bronze-toned grand feu enamel face. Both versions, in platinum or pink gold, are limited to 12 numbered pieces each.