Start your new year right with one of these glorious watches in auspicious gold, red, or bearing this year’s Chinese zodiac sign of the rabbit.
Art Direction LEE KUAN LENG
The most stunning Chinese New Year and rabbit themed watches
Nothing says you’ve arrived like the new Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 40 in yellow gold with a diamond-paved dial, diamond-set bezel and a President bracelet. Beyond its arresting looks, the timepiece is equipped with the new-generation calibre 3255, which is entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. Boasting 14 patents, the self-winding mechanical movement offers fundamental gains in precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetism, ease of use and reliability.
Two new models of the Tank Chinoise were unveiled by Cartier Privé to commemorate the watch’s centenary last year. One of the editions features a skeleton movement within its updated rectangular case. Reminiscent of traditional Chinese windows replete with rectilinear motifs, the openworked dial also reveals the workings of the movement. While all three 39.5mm by 29.2mm references in platinum, diamond-set platinum or yellow gold are decorated with striking black and red lacquer on the dials, the last boasts horizontal brancards in black lacquer, as seen here. Powering the timepiece is the 9627 MC skeleton movement developed by Cartier exclusively for the Tank Chinoise.
The Octo Finissimo Automatic was launched at Geneva Watch Days in rose or, as pictured here, yellow gold. The play on contrasts between the gleaming gold and brown lacquered dial gives the signature model its powerful, imposing character. Another first for this collection is the contrast of alternating matte and polished finishes on the case and bracelet. Driving the watch is the optimised self-winding manufacture movement, BVL Calibre 138. Not only does the new version retain its record slimness of 2.23 mm, it also features a new automatic winding system, the introduction of a closed barrel, as well as a new structure for the escapement and balance. While the rose gold model is part of the regular collection, this yellow gold version is offered in a 50-piece limited edition to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Bulgari boutique in the US.
For discerning collectors, Vacheron Constantin enriches its Métiers d’Art – The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac collection with two references for the Year of the Rabbit timepiece. Vegetal motifs based on classic Chinese iconography are etched by hand directly onto the dial. The pattern remains semi-embedded and stands out from its gold base with accentuating reliefs that create an effect of depth. Next comes the traditional technique of Grand Feu enamelling. An artisan applies the enamel in successive layers, which enhances the intensity of the blue or bronze-toned dial. The rabbit, made of platinum on the blue edition or pink gold on the burgundy version like the one featured here, is hand engraved and delicately applied to the dial centre. Produced in a limited series of nine pieces each, the watch houses the calibre 2460 G – a hands-free time display achieved through four apertures showing the hours, minutes, days and dates. Certainly one of the most beautiful rabbit watches we’ve seen this Chinese New Year.
The manufacture celebrates its 230th anniversary with the opulent La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition. It reinterprets the design of Constant Girard’s iconic La Esmeralda pocket watch, which won a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle in 1889. Taking pride of place on the dial are three pink-gold bridges similar to those on the original creation. However, the maison has placed the horses – engraved on the back case of the original pocket watch – on the dial of the new reference at 2 and 8 o’clock. Made from state-of-the-art technology, a lyre-shaped tourbillon cage weighing just 0.3g is positioned at 6 o’clock. This modern interpretation also sees métiers d’art taken one step further as the Grand Feu enamelling now extends beyond the dial to the outer case sides and lugs. And as its name implies, the watch is fitted with a secret cover, which opens to reveal the self-winding movement, calibre GP09600-1506. The watch is offered in seven colours, produced on request for a maximum of 18 pieces per colour, including this vivid red model here.
The manufacture celebrates the Year of the Water Rabbit with the Portugieser Automatic 40 Edition “Chinese New Year”. This classic and elegant gender-fluid model in a 40.4mm stainless steel case features a striking burgundy dial and gold-plated hands with appliques. However, there’s a hidden feature that can only be seen through the transparent caseback: The gold-plated oscillating weight of the Pellaton automatic winding system bears the form of a rabbit. Limited to just 500 pieces, the watch is delivered with two calfskin straps – one in black and the other with a burgundy colour gradation, as pictured here.
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
Prefer watches that are a sleeker, less literal take on Chinese New Year and the Year of the Rabbit? Van Cleef & Arpels applies the distinctive Perlée aesthetic to five new quartz-movement watches. Elegant with a playful spirit, the round case features a double row of beads in mirror-polished yellow gold. Beneath the convex glass is a dial of mother-of-pearl, onyx or yellow gold adorned with a radiating guilloché motif. Four models, including the reference here, have a 23mm case, while the fifth has a larger 30mm case. Each watch is presented with an interchangeable grosgrain fabric strap along with another strap to be chosen from other options in the collection. But if you prefer something dressier, this version flaunts a bracelet made of articulated gold bead links that match the beaded contour on the case
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