While the Western world has celebrated the arrival of 2021 a few days ago, China traditionally has a different calendar and Chinese New Year commences on the 12th of February, welcoming the Year of the Metal Ox. Multiple luxury and high-end watch brands will participate in the commemorations by introducing timepieces with an Ox theme – knowing the importance of the Chinese market, this still makes complete sense. Part of them is Chopard, which is launching two L.U.C watches, one displaying the traditional Chinese timekeeping system – Shí Chen – and the other picking up the aesthetic codes of the finest 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 on the basis of the ultra-thin 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 an 88-piece limited series. This year, Chopard adds a second watch to the collection, with an allegory of beliefs related to the Chinese zodiac and luck. It represents the first time that a watch displays Shí Chen, the traditional Chinese time system, 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 high-end watchmaking. While the watch retains 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 a new complication. It consists of twelve two-hour units, each one represented by an animal from the zodiac cycle. The day thus begins at 11pm with the hour of the Rat and ends with the hour of the Pig, while noon is in the middle of the hour of the Horse. The signs are seen through a large display between 10 and 2 o’clock (a rotating disc underneath the dial), enabling a dual time read-off: one traditional and the other based on the international system.
Faithful to Asian traditions, Chopard relies on Master lacquer specialist Minori Koizumi to create the dial and secondary disc 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. In addition to the applied gold numerals and markers, the dial also features an embossed emblem representing the god Lu Ying, who is one of the three deities – together with Fu Xing and Shou Xing – respectively dedicated to prosperity, happiness and longevity.
The 88-piece limited watch is housed in a 40mm case made from ethical 18-carat rose gold with a height of only 8.28mm. A classic black alligator strap gives this piece an elegant style, with great contrast between the gold and black elements. Inside is the in-house automatic calibre L.U.C 96.29-L, an exclusive variant of the well-known ultra-thin Calibre 96 with micro-rotor (in ethical 22-carat gold) and twin-barrel architecture for 65 hours of power reserve. It will be priced at EUR 37,800.
Quick facts: 40mm diameter x 8.28mm height – 18k ethical rose gold – sapphire crystals front and caseback – 30m water-resistant – calibre L.U.C 96.29-L, in-house, automatic, micro-rotor, 65h power reserve, 4Hz – hours, minutes, 24h disc with the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac – black alligator leather strap 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 take on the Chinese New Year watch. Indeed, no exotic complications here, as we’ll just find a display of the hours and minutes, classically displayed by central gold hands. The focus on this watch, just like previous years’ editions, is on craftsmanship and decoration. The Year of the Ox, which will begin on February 12th, 2021 and end on January 31st, 2022, is at the centre of this watch, as the Ox ensures the prosperity of the soil and the crops. Once again, Chopard has worked with Japanese lacquer artisans 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, harnessed to a wagon. Made of gold, mother-of-pearl and coloured lacquer, it conveys both agricultural symbolism and the more subtle imagery of the Emperor” says Chopard.
The case of the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Ox retains its usual elegant and slender shape, with a 39.5mm diameter and only 6.80mm in height. It is made of 18-carat rose gold sourced from an ethical supply chain. Once again here, inside is a movement derived from the classic 96 architecture, the calibre L.U.C 96.17-L with a 3.30mm height, a gold micro-rotor and twin-barrel architecture. The watch, limited to 88 pieces, is worn on a black alligator strap and will be priced at EUR 24,500.
Quick Facts: 39.5mm diameter x 6.80mm height – 18k ethical rose gold – sapphire crystals front and caseback – 30m water-resistant – calibre L.U.C 96.17-L, in-house, automatic, micro-rotor, 65h power reserve, 4Hz – hours, minutes – black alligator leather strap 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.