The Chinese New Year 2022 roars onto the scene on February 1 and many zodiac-loving people will be pouncing on the newest sign: Year of the Tiger. One of the most beloved of the 12 Chinese Zodiac signs, the Tiger signifies fortune and confidence and, according to Chinese culture, people born under this sign are said to possess confidence, ambition and courage. They are also known to have an innate sense of justice. Now, to celebrate that all-important jungle cat who is both beautiful and powerful, Ulysse Nardin, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget and Chopard all release their newest Metiers ‘ Arts Chinese zodiac watches.
Ulysse Nardin Classico Year of the Tiger
This Ulysse Nardin Classico Tiger watch deftly continues the brand’s work in the Chinese zodiac. The Classico Watch is crafted in 18-karat rose gold and the dial brings together the arts of champleve enamel where recesses are created and then filled with enamel, and paillonne’ enamel that uses tiny pieces of gold or silver leaf that is coated with translucent enamel to create the shimmering metallic effect. This dial boasts a background of rich blue, with tiger in gold leaf and champleve enamel. The moon is also silver leaf. Each dial is incredibly time consuming to create and each is a unique masterpiece. This watch is powered by the self-winding UN-815 movement with 42 hours of power reserve. Just 88 pieces will be made.
Vacheron Constantin Legend of the Chinese Zodiac Year of the Tiger watch
This year, Vacheron Constantin’s Legend of the Chinese Zodiac Year of the Tiger makes its debut. It is a deft blend of mechanical mastery and Métiers d’Arts. The hands-free watch boasts apertures that display the hours, minutes, day and date – thereby leaving the entire center of the dial free to showcase the sculpted and engraved tiger in all his glory. The watch is offered in two versions: platinum with a blue dial and rose gold with a brown dial. Just 12 of each of the 40mm watches will be made. Both boast a meticulously engraved sculpted tiger in the center, staring right at the wearer. The magnificent three-dimensional creature is created using an antique paper-cutting art known as Jianzhi, reinterpreted using engraving and some enameling, as well. The watch is powered by the in-house-made Caliber 2460 G4 movement with 237 parts and carrying the Geneva Seal. Each is finished with a Mississippienis alligator strap.
Piaget Altiplano Year of the Tiger watch
Once again turning to its ultra-slim Altiplano timepiece to depict the fearless tiger on, Piaget utilizes the arts of cloisonné’ and grand feu enamel and turns to one of the world’s leading artists, Anita Porchet, to reinterpret the beast. The 38mm Altiplano Year of the Tiger watch is crafted in 18-karat white gold and boasts a shimmering mother-of-pearl dial. On it, Porchet masterfully portrays the white tiger with fangs bared and paw up and in motion. Using cloisonne (a 4,000-year-old decorative technique), Porchet uses ribbons of gold to create the miniature partitions that form the body of the tiger. The enamel pigments are then painted within each cloisson (segment) in black, white and intense shades in between. Even the bold red tiger tongue and nose, along with his bright green eyes are made using enamel. The dial is then heated in a kiln and fired multiple times to ensure the depth of color for each partition. Once complete, the dial is varnished – sealing in the beauty forever. The watch is powered by the manual wind, ultra-thin 430P in-house-made movement. Finishing touches on this grand piece include a case set with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds. Just 38 pieces, each unique, will be made.
Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Tiger watch
Turning to the ancient Japanese art of Urushi lacquer to create its superb Chinese zodiac watches, Chopard’s rendition of the tiger in the newest L.U.C XP Urushi year of the Tiger watch is superb. Created in 18-karat ethical rose gold, the watch depicts the tiger in the foreground with water and the mountains in the background. The alluring dial is created using sap that has been tapped from the Urushi trees (only once every year) and then left to temper and steep into a hard lacquer over the course of many months. The master artisan then works with the lacquer to hand paint each and every dial of the 88-piece limited edition. In this year’s zodiac watch, the tiger stands in all his majesty, looking back behind him to the forest, with the water below. His coat is a beautiful blend of golden hues with black stripes and his bright green eye captures attention. His tongue is created in a realistic rose instead of a bold red and his fangs are gold. Powered by the L.U.C 96.17-L movement, the ultra-thin watch is created in a limited edition of just 88 pieces.
Want to see more Chinese zodiac Year of the Tiger watches? Check back here tomorrow.
(This article by Roberta Naas first appeared on her column on Forbes.com)