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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Luxury Watches That Celebrate The Year Of The Monkey

Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi “Year of the Monkey”

The Chinese New Year, celebrated throughout Asia and in Chinese communities around the world, will be celebrated February 8. Also known as the lunar new year or spring festival, this year, in accordance with the with the Chinese zodiac, is the Year of the Monkey. Luxury watch brands, as they do each year, create timepieces with specially designed dials. This year these dials depict interpretations of the monkey in ways that are historically and culturally meaningful. Among the timepieces available for sale are the following: 

Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi “Year of the Monkey” (top photo)
This timepiece features a Urushi lacquered dial, hand-crafted in Japan by a master lacquer artist. It depicts a red-coated monkey perched on a branch laden with fruit. It is gathering peaches beneath a golden sky ablaze with the last rays of the sun. Behind it, golden valleys compose a warm scene in soft tones.

Urushi lacquer comes from the sap of the “lacquer” or “Japanese varnish” tree. The transparent lacquer is applied in extremely fine layers that contain gold dust motifs created using the meticulous Maki-e technique. 

To create the dial and case, Chopard worked with the firm Yamada Heiando, official purveyor to the Japanese imperial family. Master Kilchiro Masumura designed and supervised the creation of the dials, executed by Master Minori Koizumi, an Urushi master. 

The 39.5 mm 18k rose gold timepiece is powered by the L.U.C 96.17-L automatic movement. 

Ulysse Nardin Year of the Monkey Classico

The watch brand describes the monkey depicted on the dial as “playful and happy.” It’s designed in a comic strip-like style to capture the lively creature’s character as it appears to leap through a brush of palm fronds. 

The champlevé method of enameling brings the artist’s sketch to life. The technique consists of cells being carved with a chisel directly on the dial and filled with enamel. Its colors are generated from different metallic oxides, and for this piece, a neutral palette is used. It is then fired until the enamel melts. It is mastered in-house at Donzé Cadrans, a member of the Ulysse Nardin group of companies.

The 40 mm 18k rose gold timepiece is powered by the UN-815 automatic movement with a COSC-certified chronometer. It is limited to 88 pieces.

Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art La Légende du Zodiaque Chinois Year of the Monkey

Vacheron Constantin master engravers and enamellers interpreted paper cutting techniques in China and Switzerland in the creation of this limited-edition timepiece. 

The foliage motif on the dial is based on classic Chinese iconography that is etched directly in the metal. The pattern remains semi-embedded and stands out from its gold base by accentuating reliefs, making the vegetation appear to be floating over the dial. 

Next is the Grand Feu enameling, applying the enamel in successive layers to enhance the intensity of the blue or bronze-toned dial before being fired at temperatures between 800 and 900 degrees Celsius. The monkey, made of platinum or gold, is hand engraved and applied to the dial center. 

The 40 mm timepiece is powered by the Caliber 2460 G4 movement. It is limited to 12 pieces in platinum and 12 in pink gold.

Harry Winston Premier Monkey Automatic 36mm

The ladies timepiece has a pink mother-of-pearl dial, enhanced with flecks of 24k gold, each set in individually carved hollows to create a pink and gold constellation. An 18k gold monkey with a diamond for an eye hangs against this luminous, as if grasping the bezel at 9 o’clock, while his tail winds around an emerald-cut diamond at 12 o’clock. Appliqué and marquise-cut openwork create a scene inspired by Jianzhi, an ancient Chinese art form. 

The rose gold timepiece is powered by the HW2008 automatic movement. The bezel, lugs and buckle are set with 74 brilliant-cut diamonds for a total weight of 2.47 carats. It comes with a black satin strap.

It is available in a limited edition of eight pieces. 

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