Chinese New Year The monkey reigns on the dial as king of the zodiac
Today is the start of the Chinese New Year, which this year falls under the sign of the Monkey, providing an opportunity for Swiss watchmakers to demonstrate their technical expertise and mastery of the artistic crafts on a variety of original pieces.
The Chinese New Year, otherwise known as the Spring Festival, begins today, 8 February 2016. The Wood Goat makes way for the Fire Monkey, who is intelligent, mischievous and brave, but also very practical. The diminutive primate provides inspiration to a number of watchmaking houses, who this year present a varied menagerie of unusual timepieces.
Perrelet – Turbine Monkey
In celebration of the Year of the Monkey, the twelve blades of the iconic Perrelet Turbine are engraved with the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac, with the monkey in bright red, the colour of prosperity and happiness in the Middle Kingdom. The subdial at 6 o’clock mirrors this symbolism with the Chinese character for monkey. The highly original Turbine Monkey features a stainless steel case and black rubber strap with a PVD-treated stainless steel folding clasp. This exclusive watch is driven by Perrelet’s automatic P-331 movement with 42-hour power reserve, and is available in a limited edition of just 100 pieces.
Harry Winston The Premier Collection – Premier Monkey Automatic 36mm
The elegantly feminine Premier Monkey Automatic 36 mm offers an enchanting scenario. On the pink mother-of-pearl dial scattered with 24K gold flecks sits a little monkey, its tail delicately curled around a 0.09 ct emerald-cut diamond at 12 o’clock. The monkey’s silhouette of applied yellow gold in marquise-shaped cutouts has an appealing depth and dynamism. The delicate tracery is also a reference to the historic art of Jianzhi, a paper cutting technique practised in China since the 6th century AD. The Premier Monkey Automatic has a self-winding mechanical movement with silicon hairspring, which is visible through the sapphire caseback. With rose gold case and elegant black satin strap, it comes in a limited edition of eight pieces.
Vacheron Constantin – Métiers d’Art La Légende du zodiaque chinois - Year of the Monkey
Vacheron Constantin also draws upon the inspiration of Jianzhi in the enamelling that features on its two models devoted to the Year of the Monkey. The absence of hands on the Métiers d’Art Legend of the Chinese Zodiac leaves the way clear for the master engravers and enamellers. The hand-engraved monkey carved directly into the dial is embellished with grand feu enamel. Driven by an automatic movement and certified by the Geneva Hallmark, these two designs come with either a platinum or rose gold case. Twelve pieces are available in each design.
Jaquet Droz – « Petite Heure Minute Monkey » et « Petite Heure Minute Relief Monkey »
The Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art, which specialise in figurative art on watch dials, drew inspiration from the legendary figure of Sun Wukong, a staple of traditional Chinese folklore, also known as the Monkey King, to create four new designs for the Petite Heure Minute collection, with two new models available in two versions each. The grand feu enamel dial of the Petite Heure Minute Monkey shows a small monkey leaping onto a branch to pick a peach, while the Petite Heure Minute Relief Monkey features a subtle interplay of mother-of-pearl and lacquer, which form the background of delicate foliage against which a monkey sculpted in gold perches on the branch of a peach tree. These four references, which come encased in a variety of precious metals with optional diamond setting, are powered by a mechanical self-winding movement. Each version is available in a limited edition of just 28.
Chopard – L.U.C XP Urushi « Year of the monkey »
The new L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Monkey by Chopard is inspired by the theme of a monkey picking peaches, a fruit that symbolises long life in traditional Chinese culture. Chopard joined forces with Yamada Heiando, official supplier to the Japanese imperial family, to create the urushi lacquer dial. Japanese urushi lacquer comes from the resin of the lacquer tree. The tree sap is carefully collected, refined and treated, and the resulting urushi lacquer is applied in several extremely thin coats. The 18K rose gold case of the L.U.C. XP Urushi Year of the Monkey watch encloses the ultra-thin L.U.C. 96.17-L calibre whose twin barrels are activated by a micro-rotor to give a power reserve of 65 hours.
Ulysse Nardin – Classico Collection, « Year of the Monkey »
Ulysse Nardin drew inspiration from comic strips to pay tribute to the monkey’s inquisitive and mischievous nature. On the dial a small monkey is brought to life through the champlevé enamelling technique, in which cavities carved into the dial are filled with enamel powder and subsequently fired. The Year of the Monkey watch in the Classico Collection comes in a limited edition of 88 pieces in rose gold and is driven by a COSC-certified UN-815 automatic chronometer movement.
Panerai – Luminor 1950 Sealand 3 Days Automatic Acciaio "Year of the Monkey"
Like all the models in the series created by Panerai for the signs of the Chinese zodiac, the new Luminor 1950 Sealand has an engraved cover, bearing the effigy of the monkey. The cover is first engraved by hand by Italian craftsmen using a special tool called the "sparsello". Gold thread is then inserted into the recesses that have been carved out of the steel. Inside beats the self-winding Panerai P.9000 in-house calibre, which has a power reserve of three days and a bi-directional oscillating mass. The Luminor 1950 Sealand 3 Days Automatic Acciaio – 44 mm (PAM00850) is a limited edition of 99, which is only available at Panerai stores.
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