Happy Chinese New Year. It is the year of the Horse. The Horse is one of the most powerful symbols in the Chinese zodiac. The sign is symbolic of speed and strength, are people born under it are said to be energetic and independent with a free, unbounded spirit. They also demonstrate great taste — especially if one judges by the timepieces being created in honor of this year. Yesterday and today we bring you some exceptional horse-inspired timepieces — today via a slide show.
While yesterday’s Ulysse Nardin presentation showed the wild stallion in all its amazing beauty, today’s L.U.C XP Urushi special edition watch is more festive in nature. It is created using an ancestral Japanese decorative art known as Urushi. The entirely hand-painted dial depicts a prancing horse adorned with lotus flowers – much like the noble horse of Chinese lore. The “paint” is actually a varnish of sap derived from the Urushi tree. The resin can only be harvested once annually . Once the dial is painted, the artists turn to another technique, known as Maki-e, in which the lacquer is sprinkled with a metal powder. The gold dust is applied using bamboo tubes. The watch houses the ultra thin mechanical self-winding Caliber 96.17-L that is equally as beautifully decorated. (It is estimated the watch will retail for somewhere around $30,000.)
Horses are also the subject of watches from Jaquet Droz and Vacheron Constantin. The Jaquet Droz watches, part of the brand’s Petite Heure Minute collection, are a series of three pieces, each utilizing at least one of the following arts: engraving, painting and Grand Feu enamel. The three models range in price from approximately $30,00 and up, and each is made in a limited edition of just 88 pieces. From Vacheron Constantin, as part of its Métiers d’Art collection, comes the series called The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac. The horse watch is offered in two versions: pink gold or platinum. Each features an enamel and engraved prancing horse. Arnold & Son has created 28 pairs of watches featuring a depiction of the horse often found in traditional Chinese ink-wash painting. The watches are offered in 18-karat gold with a mechanical movement and black or white lacquered dials with the horse hand painted in miniature.
Each of these watches is such a stunning rendition of art, craftsmanship and technology that even if you are not born in the year of the horse, you’ll want to giddyup to the store and corral one anyway.