No more bits and pieces. No more having to look at multiple stories and places online. Today we bring you a comprehensive look at the top luxury watches designed to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year beginning on January 28, 2017. This year begins the year of the rooster, and, five top brands unveil six sensational Chinese zodiac watches.
The rooster is the 10th sign in the Chinese zodiac (and was last honored in 2005). The rooster is generally aligned with loyalty, a sociable and friendly (albeit, a bit bossy) nature and with a punctuality that is bound to impress. This boisterous bird promptly calls out dawn and does so while puffing his chest, ruffling his colorful feathers and proudly showing off his scarlet red comb and waddle.
This year the luxury brands that salute the bugler bird include Ulysse Nardin, Jaquet Droz, Chopard, Piaget and Vacheron Constantin – brands known for unveiling an annual timepiece that blends Swiss craftsmanship, Chinese lore and a host of métiers d’arts. Interestingly enough, each brand has depicted the rooster in a decidedly different mode.
Ulysse Nardin, for instance, unveils its Classico Year of the Rooster in 18-karat rose gold and created in a limited edition of just 88 pieces. Powered by the in-house-made UN-815 self-winding movement, the 40mm watch is a COSC-certified chronometer that offers 42 hours of power reserve. The stunning dial depicting the rooster is created in the centuries-old technique of champlevé enamel.
The backdrop for the rooster is a rich copper-colored metallic enamel that reflects the sky at dawn. It is achieved using different metallic oxides in the painting process. Essentially, the dial is carved with a chisel and the carved cells are then painted and fired repeatedly to achieve the depth of color desired. Ulysse Nardin has mastered this craft and is one of the few watch brands to continue to produce unique champlevé enamel dials in its Donze Cadrans dial manufacture. At the base of the dial – – at the feet of the rooster — are eight blue-centered gold flowers. The rooster stands tall in all its majesty with blue feathers outlined in gold, a white head and a bold red comb.
Jaquet Droz this year continues its concept of releasing several versions of the Chinese New Year zodiac sign. Each depiction is created in a limited edition of just 28 pieces and there are two dial renditions of the Petite Heure Minute watch depicting the Chinese Fire Rooster. Additionally, each dial design is offered in two versions. One watch dial features a sculpted rooster in 18-karat rose gold standing in the bottom center of the dial and surrounded by a background of smoky gray, black and white flowers. The rooster is in its calling position, beak open and feathers ruffled – all magnificently carved and sculpted in gold. A second version of this dial depiction features the rooster in the same stance, but this time totally painted with dark blue feathers, a golden and red head and lush blue tail feathers – also against the muted background of gray, white and black flowers. Crafted in 18-karat white gold, the case and lugs are set with diamonds.
The second dial design is a fully hand-painted dial with the rooster standing in a similar stance but facing the other way. He is not calling out dawn, but rather seems to be looking at something else in a distracted mode. He is pained in white with rich black feathers and brilliant red comb and mettle. He stands beside green grass and a few pink flowers. This dial version is offered in rose gold and in rose gold case entirely set with diamonds.
Piaget also offers an Altiplano ultra-thin Chinese Zodiac watch in a hand-painted motif. Featuring a white mother-of-pearl background dial, the rooster is pained in Grand Feu cloisonné enamel with feathers in tones of gray, white and black. The bright red comb on his head and wattle on his chin offset it. Master enameller Anita Porchet has painted the dial and will paint each of the 38 limited edition pieces being made. The watch is powered by the Piaget 430-P manual-wind movement and is housed in an 18-karat white gold case 38mm set with diamonds.
Chopard also uses an ultra-thin movement in its L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rooster watch. For Urushi painting, the brand once again partners with the Yamada Heiando firm in Japan to produce the dials of the 88-piece limited edition watch. The lacquer used in Urushi paining is harvested sap, taken from the Urushi tree just once year. In this watch, lacquer is applied within mother-of-pearl cells that help enhance the iridescence of the rooster, which is painted in vivid blue with gold and orange tail feathers. He rests alongside a bed of eight gladiolas. The L.U.C 96.17-L self-winding movement with micro-rotor powers is equipped with two barrels, offering 65 hours of power reserve. The 39.5mm watch is crafted in 18-karat rose gold.
Vacheron Constantin unveils two renditions of its Métiers d’Art “Legend of the Chinese Zodiac” watches, each created using sculpture, enamel work and engraving. The hands-free watches are powered by the technically advanced in-house-made mechanical Caliber 2460 G4, and the watch depicts time (hours, minutes, day and date) in jumping format via four apertures. The 237-part movement offers 40 hours of power reserve and the watches carry the distinctive Hallmark of Geneva certification attesting to their superb craftsmanship. The Grand Feu enamel dial of the watch is etched with foliage that is then filled with gold. In the center of the dial – in full glory—stands a three-dimensional sculpted 18-karat gold rooster. The watch is offered in two versions: 18-karat white gold against a blue Grand Feu enamel dial; 18-karat rose gold against a dark salmon-colored Grand Feu enamel dial. Just 12 pieces of each version will be made.
Each of these ‘Year of the Rooster’ versions is new and will be in stores in 2017. Prices have not yet been established.