While the Western world has celebrated the arrival of 2021 a couple of days prior, China traditionally has an alternate calendar and Chinese New Year commences on the 12th of February, welcoming the Year of the Metal Ox. Multiple luxury and very good quality watch brands will participate in the commemorations by introducing timepieces with an Ox theme – knowing the importance of the Chinese market, this still bodes well. Some portion of them is Chopard, which is launching two L.U.C watches, one displaying the traditional Chinese timekeeping framework – Shí Chen – and the other picking up the esthetic codes of the best Asian craftsmanship – Urushi lacquer. Meet the new Chopard L.U.C watches for the Chinese Year of the Ox.
Each year since 2013, Chopard has dedicated a L.U.C timepiece to the concurrent symbol in the Chinese zodiac. The concept is invariably developed based on the ultra-dainty L.U.C XP watches; graced with a dial featuring the Urushi technique of Maki-e combining lacquer and gold powder; always features a highly symbolic setting, and always produced as a 88-piece limited arrangement. This year, Chopard adds a second watch to the collection, with an allegory of beliefs related to the Chinese zodiac and luck. It addresses the first occasion when that a watch displays Shí Chen, the traditional Chinese time framework, as a complication.
The L.U.C XP Urushi Spirit of Shí Chen
As said, the L.U.C XP Urushi Spirit of Shí Chen is a first in very good quality watchmaking. While the watch holds the traditional Western display of the time with the central hours and minutes hands, here crafted in gold with the signature L.U.C shape, the dial includes another complication. It consists of twelve two-hour units, each one addressed by an animal from the zodiac cycle. The day thus starts at 11pm with the hour of the Rat and finishes with the hour of the Pig, while early afternoon is in the middle of the hour of the Horse. The signs are seen through a large display somewhere in the range of 10 and 2 o’clock (a pivoting circle underneath the dial), enabling a dual time read-off: one traditional and the other dependent on the international system.
Faithful to Asian practices, Chopard relies on Master lacquer specialist Minori Koizumi to create the dial and secondary plate of the L.U.C XP Urushi Spirit of Shí Chen. All 88 dials are made according to the traditional Urushi lacquer technique, with the distinctive Maki-e technique, where gold flakes are sprinkled between the layers of lacquer. Notwithstanding the applied gold numerals and markers, the dial also features a decorated emblem addressing the god Lu Ying, who is one of the three divinities – together with Fu Xing and Shou Xing – respectively dedicated to success, bliss and longevity.
The 88-piece limited watch is housed in a 40mm case produced using ethical 18-carat rose gold with a tallness of only 8.28mm. A classic black alligator tie gives this piece an elegant style, with incredible contrast between the gold and black elements. Inside is the in-house automatic caliber L.U.C 96.29-L, an exclusive variation of the well-known ultra-meager Caliber 96 with micro-rotor (in ethical 22-carat gold) and twin-barrel architecture for 65 hours of force save. It will be priced at EUR 37,800.
Quick facts: 40mm measurement x 8.28mm tallness – 18k ethical rose gold – sapphire crystals front and caseback – 30m water-safe – caliber L.U.C 96.29-L, in-house, automatic, micro-rotor, 65h force save, 4Hz – hours, minutes, 24h plate with the 12 indications of the Chinese Zodiac – black alligator leather tie in pin buckle – Dial hand-crafted in Japan using the Urushi lacquer technique – Ref. 161980-5001, limited to 88 pieces – EUR 37,800
The L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Ox
The second timepiece offered by Chopard, the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Ox, is a more traditional interpretation of the Chinese New Year watch. In fact, no exotic complications here, as we’ll just discover a display of the hours and minutes, classically displayed by central gold hands. The focus on this watch, just like previous years’ versions, is on craftsmanship and decoration. The Year of the Ox, which will start on February 12th, 2021 and end on January 31st, 2022, is at the center of this watch, as the Ox ensures the prosperity of the soil and the crops. Once again, Chopard has worked with Japanese lacquer craftsmans who craft dials using the traditional Urushi lacquer technique. The dials are produced by the workshops of the century-old Yamada Heiando company. “As the Maki-e technique requires, captured between the layers of lacquer drawn from the sap of the Toxicodendron vernicifluum tree, gold flakes illuminate a background that features a golden ox with straight horns and an abundant coat, saddled to a cart. Made of gold, mother-of-pearl and colored lacquer, it conveys both agricultural symbolism and the more subtle symbolism of the Emperor” says Chopard.
The case of the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Ox holds its usual elegant and slender shape, with a 39.5mm breadth and only 6.80mm in tallness. It is made of 18-carat rose gold sourced from an ethical supply chain. Once again here, inside is a development gotten from the classic 96 architecture, the caliber L.U.C 96.17-L with a 3.30mm tallness, a gold micro-rotor and twin-barrel architecture. The watch, limited to 88 pieces, is worn on a black alligator tie and will be priced at EUR 24,500.
Quick Facts: 39.5mm breadth x 6.80mm stature – 18k ethical rose gold – sapphire crystals front and caseback – 30m water-safe – caliber L.U.C 96.17-L, in-house, automatic, micro-rotor, 65h force save, 4Hz – hours, minutes – black alligator leather tie in pin buckle – Dial hand-crafted in Japan using the Urushi lacquer technique – Ref. 161902-5071, limited to 88 pieces – EUR 24,500
More details and orders at www.chopard.com .