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WorldTempus Newsletter
Editorial - Watch brands in the dog house

Editorial Watch brands in the dog house

About "Dogs" and respecting symbolism.

The watch brands had their work cut out this year trying to provide an adequate selection of timepieces for two major events celebrated by their customers. As I mentioned in last week’s editorial, their somewhat stereotypical offering for Valentine’s Day left a lot to be desired. At first sight there would appear to be less chance of hitting wide of the mark as far as models celebrating the Chinese New Year are concerned, but let’s take a closer look.

Michèle Brunner’s analysis of this year’s crop of Chinese New Year watches reminds us that it is almost always the same brands respecting this tradition and almost always with variations on the theme of the artistic crafts. Michèle was born under the same Chinese zodiac sign, which puts her among such esteemed historical figures as Winston Churchill and Mother Teresa. In combination with the Earth element for her year of birth, Michèle’s character is summarised as “communicative, serious and responsible in work”. The Chinese astrologers have it spot-on and its thanks to these qualities that WorldTempus is able to achieve the high volume of articles that we publish.

Michèle rightly points out how the brands respect certain aspects of Chinese symbolism in their design. All these watches are produced in limited series ending with 8, which is a lucky number for the Chinese. She also notes that the position of the dog between 3 and 4 o’clock on Graham’s Chronofighter Vintage Nose Art Ltd Kelly is a nod to these two numbers being lucky for those born under the sign of the dog.

Dig a little deeper, however, and you will find that there are also unlucky numbers, unlucky directions and unlucky colours for those born under the sign of the dog. One of these is gold, which is unfortunate for watchmakers in general and, in the specific case of these watches, for Chopard, Ulysse Nardin and Vacheron Constantin, whose models are in 18-carat rose gold. Blue and white are the two other colours, which call into question Graham’s cute white doggie, the white background on the dial of the Jaquet Droz and the blue enamel dial of the Vacheron Constantin. The numbers 1, 6 and 7 are unlucky for those born in the year of the dog, so should we remove them from the dial as well?

The last question was deliberately provocative and I would agree that it is a ridiculous idea. But to do so suggests that a (symbolic) line should be drawn when dealing with symbolism, or that brands may just be choosing the elements of symbolism that suit them for the purposes of “storytelling”. How else can we explain why brands stick so doggedly (if you’ll pardon the pun) to these limited series that always end in the number 8?