Chinese New Year is just weeks away, on February 12, and will be celebrated as the Year of the Ox for the first time since 2009.
Watchmakers are already unveiling special editions designed to appeal to the Chinese shoppers, although the foreign travel that normally brings thousands of potential customers to retail hot spots like New York, Los Angeles and London will not be happening this year.
Brands will be aiming to push sales within China, while American retailers will be reaching out to expatriate communities.
Here are a dozen of the watches that caught WatchPro‘s eye this year:
Blancpain celebrates Chinese New Year with two limited series of 50 watches dedicated to this tradition and its festivities.
Two versions, one in platinum and the other in rose gold, are built around a traditional Chinese calendar bearing the engraving of the ox features.
The exclusive complication appears on an elegant Grand Feu enamel dial.
L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Ox
Elegance, opulence, mastery of ancestral techniques: the L.U.C collection once again picks up the aesthetic codes of the finest Asian craftsmanship to create the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Ox timepiece.
Dedicated to this symbolic year conducive to harvests and wisdom, this 88-piece limited series is ultra-thin and exquisitely refined.
Its Urushi lacquer dial made by Japanese master lacquer artisans reveals a scene evocative of ancestral toil, humble prosperity and timeless elegance. Its L.U.C 96.17-L in-house movement testifies to the horological expertise of the artisans at Chopard Manufacture.
L.U.C XP Urushi Spirit of Shí Chen
Chopard’s L.U.C XP Urushi Spirit of Shí Chen is the first L.U.C timepiece to display the traditional Chinese timekeeping system, Shí Chen.
The animals of the zodiac that symbolizes them parade slowly by on an Urushi lacquer disc, accompanied by the symbol of prosperity and its god Lu Xing.
This creative new complication exists as an 88-piece limited edition. Its L.U.C 96.29-L Chopard Manufacture movement is housed in a 40 mm ethical 18-carat rose gold case of peerless symbolic and physical finesse.
Gucci’s creative Director Alessandro Michele has imagined a dedicated collection of special items that feature Doraemon, a famous Japanese manga character, disguised as an ox.
Two Gucci Dive watches have been given dials featuring Doraemon on the GG Supreme canvas. Both of them have a GG Supreme-canvas-look leather strap. One watch presents the original Doraemon x Gucci blue character on the dial and is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the cartoon, while the other features the cat in an ox disguise in brown on the dial to celebrate the Year of the Ox.
Altiplano Grand-Feu Cloisonné
This year, Piaget is celebrating Chinese New Year and the Year of the Ox with a special edition of its ultra-thin Altiplano timepiece with a grand-feu cloisonné dial featuring an ox, crafted by the celebrated artist Anita Porchet.
This ultra-thin 38mm timepiece comes in an 18ct white gold case adorned with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.71 ct.) and is powered by the brand’s 430P hand-wound movement that measures 2.1mm in thickness.
It is paired with an elegant black leather strap that is fitted with an 18-karat white gold pin buckle.
Grand Bal Jardin Fleuri
In celebration of Chinese New Year, Dior has ignored the ox and created a nature-inspired Grand Bal Jardin Fleuri 88-piece limited edition.
It is equipped with an automatic movement, exclusive to the Maison Dior, the “Dior Inversé 11 1⁄2” calibre, featuring an oscillating weight and dial that recreate a warm-colored and mystical garden.
The flowers in this marvelous Eden are adorned with gold, diamonds, pink sapphires and rubies. The swirl of the luxurious oscillating weight sprinkles the embossed red mother-of-pearl dial with tiny gold specks.
Harry Winston is marking the Year of the Ox with a rose gold timepiece added to its Premier collection with the powerful figure of a diamond decorated ox dominating a red mother-of-pearl face framed with 57 brilliant cut diamonds.
The ox on the dial is adorned with 105 brilliant-cut diamonds and there is an additional emerald-cut diamond at 12 o’clock.
There will only be eight of the limited edition made of the mechanical automatic piece with 68 hours of power reserve. Price is on application.
Ox Rocks 21
The Ox occupies the second position in the Chinese zodiac. Strong, reliable and tough are characteristics shared by the Swiss made Swatch Big Bold watch line and those born in the year of the Ox who are said to also be active, motivated and determined.
Look closely, and the dedication to ‘exist together in harmony’ will reveal itself on the front of the dial together with the Yin Yang oxen illustration that expresses the power of peace, especially in today’s unbalanced world.
Every Chinese zodiac year is defined by one of the five elements, and 2021 will be the year of the Metal Ox. The golden tones bring luck and prosperity while red symbolizes happiness, success and good fortune – things we could all do with right now.
Jaquet Droz is ringing in the New Year under the Chinese zodiac sign of the Ox.
Legend has it that the Jade Emperor chose the animals in the 12-year zodiac cycle based on a race. The ox is portrayed carrying a rat on its back, which is ultimately how the rat won the race.
The Maison selected two distinctive artisanal techniques to represent the new zodiac sign.
First, miniature painting, which appears on two 35 mm x 41 mm timepieces with a majestically peaceful ox against a background of mist-covered mountains.
A hand-painted and softly serene pastoral scene.
The other two feature relief engraving, an artisanal technique cherished by Jaquet Droz. This method is used to create an ox that literally seems to be coming out of the dial as it calmly saunters on to the pitch-black onyx face towards a gold plum tree with red ruby blossoms.
Each of these handcrafted compositions are being released in a series of eight.