Swiss watchmakers scurry to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Rat


China’s new year begins on January 25, 2020, and watchmakers are lining up to appeal to the country’s fast-growing population of multi-millionaires with timepieces celebrating the Year of the Rat.

The rat is not the type of vermin most westerners would want on their watch faces, but to Chinese traditionalists it is the first of all zodiac animals.


According to Chinesenewyear.net, which WatchPro hopes is not a fake news site run by Russian bots, the rat is also associated with the Earthly Branch (地支—dì zhī) Zi (子) and the midnight hours. In the terms of yin and yang (阴阳—yīn yáng), the Rat is yang and represents the beginning of a new day.

While us Brits might think of rats scurrying through sewers and spreading disease, Chinese associate them with being clever, quick thinkers; successful, but content with living a quiet and peaceful life.

To celebrate the Year of the Rat, Jaquet Droz has made four editions where the Rat has been associated with the pomegranate, which has been regarded as a symbol of life and fertility since ancient times because of the many seeds contained within it.

Fertility and continuous renewal are thus the benefits of the pomegranate, the fruit of power and a symbol of life.

Four highly exclusive models have now been revealed which celebrate the pairing of the Rat and the pomegranate. They showcase Jaquet Droz’s Ateliers d’Art, whose work brings naturalistic scenes to life in the true spirit of the brand.

The Petite Heure Minute Rat is a 35mm 18ct gold watch with an ivory grand feu enamel dial with miniature painting. The watch is set with 232 diamonds and uses a self-winding mechanical movement. A larger 39mm version is also available.

Hand engraving and painting come together to make the Petite Heure Minute Relief Rat, which comes in either white or red gold 41mm cases. They have hand-engraved and hand-painted 18ct gold appliques in relief depicting rats and pomegranates and set with rubies.

Prices range from £26,000 to £69,150.


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