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With the holidays upon us, so many watch brands offer diamonds, glitter, glitz and gold. Some, however, at the very high end also look to the Métiers d’ Arts as it relates to the Chinese New Year. Next year, beginning on February 8, 2016, ushers in the year of the #Monkey.
In honor of the beloved, clever creature that stands for intelligence, adventure and quick wit, Harry Winston and Chopard unveil the ‘Year of the Monkey’ timepieces. Roberta Naas, a veteran watch journalist, author of six books on timepieces, and founder of the online watch publication spills all the minute details on both the extravagant pieces for the spoilt monkeys out there.
Monkey Automatic 36mm watch. Part of the Premier collection, the watch features a small open-worked gold monkey whose tail is wrapped around an emerald-cut diamond at 12 o’ clock. The gold work recalls a Chinese art form known as Jianzhi, or paper cutting. It has been applied to gold in this instances and features applique’ work and gold cutting in marquise forms.
The elaborate monkey is set against a stunning pink mother-of-pearl dial with inlaid 24-karat gold flecks. The money sports an emerald-cut diamond eye. The monkey is the ninth of the 12 animals that comprise the Chinese zodiac.
The 36mm 18-karat rose gold watch is set with 57 brilliant-cut diamonds weighing more than 2.3 carats, and is finished with a black satin strap with a gold and diamond-set buckle. A mechanical automatic movement that consists of 186 parts powers the Premier Monkey, including a flat silicon balance spring for optimal precision. Just eight of this limited edition watch will be made.
We expect that this is the first of many “Monkey” dials to come from top watch brands. Last year, at least half a dozen top brands portrayed the Year of the Goat in stunning glory on their watch dials.
CHOPARD CELEBRATES, AS WELL, BY INTRODUCING THE L.U.C XP URUSHI “YEAR OF THE MONKEY” WATCH. INDEED, THE CHINESE NEW YEAR THAT STARTS ON FEBRUARY 8, 2016, MARKS THE YEAR OF THE WITTY AND CLEVER MONKEY.
The Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi “Year of the Monkey,” a continuation of the brand’s tradition of annually creating a new, exclusive series of L.U.C XP watches dedicated to the Chinese zodiac.
The watch is superb in several different ways. First, it embraces the ancient art form of Urushi — Japanese decorative lacquer – to depict the monkey. This is no easy feat in the Métiers d’ Arts world, as the varnish is actually made from sap that is harvested from the Urushi tree just once a year – making the material quite rare.
Additionally, Chopard typically combines this lacquer painting with the art of Maki-e – a sprinkling of gold dust applied using tiny bamboo tubes. In all, the hand painting of the dial is long, tedious and time-consuming. However, Chopard only works with the best. The painting is designed and supervised in Japan by Master Kilchiro Masumura, who has achieved the rank in Japan as “living human treasure” due to his abilities. The execution of the painting is done by Master Minori Koizumi of Yamada Heiando, official purveyor to the Japanese Imperial family.
This depiction of the monkey shows him gathering peaches and is a fabled Chinese concept that is believed to bring good luck. The red-coated monkey is depicted on a warm-tone background meant to reflect a golden sunset behind the peach branches.
The L.U.C XP watch is a 39.5mm 18-karat gold case that houses the ultra-thin (3.30mm thick) L.U.C Caliber 96.17-L. Built in-house in Chopard’s Swiss workshops, the self-winding movement is equipped with the brand’s Twin® technology that offers two barrels to ensure 65 hours of power reserve. The movement, with its exquisite finishings and 22-karat gold micro-rotor, is visible via a transparent sapphire caseback.