10 ‘Year of the Rat’ watches featuring the most exquisite artistic crafts


By Su Fen Tan

10 ‘Year of the Rat’ watches featuring the most exquisite artistic crafts

Every year, a handful of the watch industry’s most revered names celebrate the Lunar New Year in the best way they know how — with beautiful, decorative creations highlighting the zodiac animal of the year. This upcoming festive season, we’ll be welcoming the Year of the Rat. Coming in as the first sign in the Chinese zodiac cycle, the rat symbolises strong vitality, wisdom and intelligence (read about the Chinese zodiac origin story here). It is only fitting that such traits are matched with technical, artistic crafts that are just as exquisite. Below, 10 limited-edition timepieces that are sure to induce wrist envy:

Panerai Luminor Sealand — 44 mm (PAM00863)

The Panerai Luminor Sealand was first introduced in 2009, created in tribute to the Chinese zodiac. This year, the Year of the Rat edition closes out the 12-year cycle as the 12th model, making it very special indeed. Like its predecessors, it features the ancestral technique of sparsello on the lid, where threads of gold are carefully layered onto the engravings then hammered flat; a process that takes over 50 hours. The P. 9010 Calibre beats at its heart, with a three-day power reserve and 100-metre water resistance. A semi-matte gold calfskin strap with beige stitching completes the timepiece. Only 88 pieces will be issued.

Vacheron Constantin Metiers d’Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac – Year of the Rat

Vacheron Constantin’s limited-edition Metiers d’Art The legend of the Chinese zodiac is once again presented in two precious metals: platinum and pink gold, realised in only 12 models each. The hand-engraved rat takes centre stage on the dial, surrounded by a foliage motif based on classic Chinese iconography. The beautiful blue or bronze background is achieved by way of Grand Feu enamelling, while the hands-free time display is powered by Calibre 2460 G4, telling the time through four apertures showing the hours, minutes, days and dates.

Blancpain Métiers d’Art Porcelaine

Blancpain honours the Year of the Rat with its first ever timepiece with a porcelain dial. The traditional Chinese skill of porcelain production is a delicate process; coupled with freehand enamel painting, the Métiers d’Art Porcelaine is truly a stunning display of dexterity, patience and meticulous attention to detail. The masterpiece of a dial is framed with 48 brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel and a 33 mm white gold case. Each of the eight limited-edition timepieces created will be complemented by an elegant blue alligator strap.

Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Rat 35 mm, 39 mm and 41 mm

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Jaquet Droz presents not just one, but four exclusive variations of the Petite Heure Minute for the occasion. The Maison pairs the animal of the hour with the pomegranate, a symbol of life and fertility, making the creations doubly auspicious. On the 35 mm and 39 mm models, the dainty image of two rats on a bed of leaves and pomegranates is painted on the enamel dial. The 41 mm versions showcase a deep black onyx dial, setting the scene for a rat holding a pomegranate seed made of a brilliant-cut ruby in its hands. The opulent dial also features a pomegranate with snow-set rubies on the left, and a branch of gold pomegranates to the right. All four are limited to just 8 pieces each.

Piaget Altiplano Chinese Zodiac

On a dial set in graceful light gray hues, a pair of silver-toned rats adorns this Piaget Altiplano timepiece. The Manufacture looked to renown enamel artist Anita Porchet to work her magic, showcasing the cloisonné enamel technique to great effect. The 38-mm white gold case is set with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds and beats to the rhythm of the ultra-thin Piaget Caliber 430P. A limited edition of 38 pieces are available in select Piaget boutiques worldwide.

Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rat

Chopard rings in the Lunar New Year with a new L.U.C XP defined by the Year of the Rat and the ancient Japanese art of Urushi lacquer. All 88 pieces are painted by hand, with flecks of gold mixed in the lacquer to achieve depth and dimension. The result is a dynamic scene depicting a golden rat standing on an ear of corn (signifying abundance) alongside a persimmon (a fruit representing longevity) and a plant painted in the three lucky colours of the zodiac sign: blue, green and gold.

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