The change in the zodiacal symbols of the year is another reason for watchmakers to renew their art collections using special decorative techniques, including traditional oriental crafts. The delicate silhouette of a rat against the red mother-of-pearl dial of the Premier Harry Winston watch is inspired by the ancient art of paper-cutting (there are eight Premier Chinese New Year copies). Chopard's zodiac watches are traditionally made using the Japanese art of lacquering: in addition to urushi lacquer, gold powder is also applied to the dial. All 88 copies were made with the participation of a permanent partner Yamada Heiando.
Blancpain first created an enamelled porcelain dial in its Métiers d'Art atelier. Working with porcelain is carried out in several stages, which include long, up to 24 hours, drying and firing phases. The finished dial with a layer of translucent enamel is painted by hand with a thin brush, so each of the eight Blancpain Métiers d'Art Porcelaine watches is unique.
1 of 3 Premier Chinese New Year Automatic 36mm, Harry Winston © Press Office LUC XP Urushi Year of the Rat, Chopard © Press Office Métiers d'Art Porcelaine, Blancpain © Press Office
Many brands have formed their own recognizable image of the zodiac animal. Every year, Jaquet Droz presents a series of four Petite Heure Minute models, two of which are painted enamel miniatures (28 pieces each), and the rest are engraved gold mini-sculptures (8 pieces each in white or rose gold). Piaget masters work in cloisonné enamel technique - 38 copies of Altiplano Rat Zodiac Enamel are available only in Piaget branded boutiques.
1 of 5 Petite Heure Minute Rat, Jaquet Droz © Press Office Petite Heure Minute Rat, Jaquet Droz © Press Office Petite Heure Minute Rat, Jaquet Droz © Press Office Petite Heure Minute Rat, Jaquet Droz © Press Office Altiplano Rat Zodiac Enamel, Piaget © press service
The Vacheron Constantin Legends of the Chinese Zodiac series is easily recognizable by the sculpted animal in the center of the dial and four windows to display the time, date and day of the week (caliber 2460 G4 does not have hands). A decorative Chinese motif engraved on the metal, then covered with several coats of grand feu enamel. The house traditionally presents 12 pieces of a blue platinum version and a brown one in a rose gold case.
1 of 2 Chinese Zodiac Legends - Year of the Rat, Métiers d'Art collection, Vacheron Constantin © Press Office Chinese Zodiac Legends - Year of the Rat, Métiers d'Art collection, Vacheron Constantin © press office
For several years now, the 44mm Panerai Luminor case has been adorned with an image of an animal in the old Italian technique of Sparcello, in which the engraved lines are filled with fine gold threads. The Year of the Rat Luminor Sealand is limited to 88 pieces.
The Year of the Rat Luminor Sealand, Panerai © press service>