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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Jaquet Droz, Chopard And Vacheron Constantin Celebrate Year of the Horse

Jaquet Droz

January 31 marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year, the longest and most important celebration on the Chinese calendar. This upcoming year is the Year of the Horse. Those born in horse years are said to be cheerful, skillful with money, perceptive, witty, talented and good with their hands. If Jaquet Droz, Chopard and Vacheron Constantin, have their way, those born in horse years and all who celebrate the Chinese lunar calendar will also be attracted to their highly decorative and functional luxury watches made to commemorate this moment in time.

Jaquet Droz
The watch brand has a long association with China and it produces models annually commemorating the Chinese New Year. This year it created three watches in its Ateliers d'Art series that uses three complex techniques: engraving, painting and Grand Feu enamel.

The colorful dial of the Petite Heure Minute 39mm depicts a landscape with two hand-painted Arab thoroughbreds at full gallop on an ivory enamel dial.

A sculptured wild mustang appears on the dial of the Petite Heure Minute 43mm appearing in red gold and engraved in bas-relief on a black dial. The champlevé technique, used for the first time by Jaquet Droz, highlights the movement of the mane and the tail, both filled in with black Grand Feu enamel. On each of these models, a horse's head is also represented on the back of the white gold oscillating weight.

The dial of the Petite Heure Minute 41mm depicts an 18k red gold horse rearing up on its hind legs against a backdrop of the Great Wall of China, engraved and patinated by hand on a mother-of-pearl dial.

All of the watches come in red gold cases and each are available in a limited edition of 88 pieces.

Vacheron Constantin Legend of the Chinese Zodiac

Vacheron Constantin
The venerable luxury watch brand also has a long association with China and produces a series of watches called “The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac” as part of its MĂ©tiers d’Art collection.

For the Year of the Horse, Vacheron unveiled two watches crafted in a choice of pink gold or platinum and enhanced by enameling and engraving. For this year’s model, the company took its inspiration in the Chinese art of paper cutting known as Jianzhi. The leaf motif, stemming from classic Chinese iconography is directly engraved in the gold dial. The pattern remains semi-embedded and stands out from its gold base by a subtle stage-setting of variously accentuated reliefs. Raised bamboo stalks appear to be floating over the dial.

The engraved horse appears in pose on the center of the dial. Its mane and coat measures a fraction of a millimeter. Grand Feu enameling is then applied in layers.

Powered by the mechanical self-winding caliber 2460 G4, the dial of the watch provides a hands-free display of time through four windows respectively revealing the hour, the minutes, the day and the date—each appearing through one of the four apertures arranged around the central dial motif.

Each model is limited to 12 pieces and sold exclusively through Vacheron Constantin boutiques.

Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Horse

The Japanese art of Urushi is the inspiration of the L.U.C XP 2014 “Year of the Horse” special edition watch. Its hand-painted employs Japanese-inspired traditional artistic techniques. It depicts a noble prancing horse, adorned with lotus flowers—a plant symbolizing personal fulfillment.

Urushi is a long-established lacquering art. The varnish is derived from the sap of the Urushi tree, also called the “lacquer tree” or “Japanese varnish tree”, mainly found in Japan and China. Maki-e, a technique derived from the art of Urushi, consists of sprinkling the lacquered coating with metal powder – in this case gold – in order to accentuate its outlines. The gold dust is applied using bamboo tubes and small natural-hair brushes in order to trace extremely fine lines.

The ultra-thin timepiece measuring 39.5mm in diameter and 6.8mm thick has a mechanical self-winding movement equipped with two barrels ensuring a 65-hour power reserve.

The watch comes in a box decorated in Urushi techniques. Black on the outside and Maki-e gold on the inside, it is shaped like an octagon—the oriental symbol of gaiety, according to the company—and finished with a silk fastening cord.

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