No offence to the nifty rodent in real life, but the Year of the Rat has been rough, to say the least. However, it is intrinsically human to hope for a better tomorrow, and the qualities of the Ox — the animal feted in the coming Lunar New Year — does seem to promise good times. It denotes hard work, positivity and honesty, and together with the element for 2021, metal, these qualities are said to be even stronger. The ox has been represented in religion, art, literature and popular culture throughout East Asia for centuries, a motif now expressed beautifully in an haute horlogerie series. An apt indulgence to celebrate surviving a tough year as we welcome a new one, we say.
Master enameller Anita Porchet lends her expertise to the grand feu cloisonné dial of Piaget’s ultra-thin Altiplano watch, which features an ox in mid-movement. Each dial is then fired in a kiln multiple times before it is varnished, sealing in the image of strength and resilience.
Forged in platinum, Blancpain’s 50-piece limited-edition Traditional Chinese Calendar watch combines timekeeping traditions from both the East and West — the grand feu enamel dial of this exceptional timepiece reveals Chinese calendar indications with those of the Gregorian calendar and moon phases, with an elegant ox in mid-prance at 12 o’clock.
Jaquet Droz’s Petite Heure Minute collection provides an ample canvas for micro-painting and for the Lunar New Year, showcases a softly serene pastoral scene featuring oxen and mist-covered mountains. Choose between a diamond-studded 35mm version and a larger 41mm model with a polished finish.
Harry Winston celebrates the Year of the Ox with a captivating rose-gold timepiece from its Premier collection. Emblazoned with the powerful figure of an ox dominating a vivid red mother-of-pearl landscape, the dial sparkles with the radiance of Harry Winston diamonds set within a 36mm case.
An ox replaces the rat in Vacheron Constantin’s Métiers d’Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac collection this year. Two new creations in platinum and pink gold combine the technical excellence of Caliber 2460 G4 with the beauty of hand-engraving and grand feu enamelling.
Breguet pays tribute to the coming festivities with two very different watches that celebrate this well-loved animal in ways that profile its exceptional craftsmanship in engraving. Within the oval, diamond-studded case of the Reine de Naples Ref 8955, an ox is carved into a shell dial while the Classique Ref 7145 (pictured) features a fiercer-looking pair of these creatures in a more masculine setting.
This article first appeared on Feb 1, 2021 in The Edge Malaysia.