China is the world’s biggest market for luxury watches, so it is not surprising that one of the big annual launches for many of the leading watchmakers is a tribute watch to honor the Chinese zodiac animal sign. 2021 is the Year of the Ox (or the Buffalo), and at least three brands have launched new models to honor the animal, which represents qualities like perseverance and reliability, and a period conducive to both nature and agriculture.
Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Relief Buffalo
The 2021 Petite Heure Minute collection is made up of three pieces in red gold, and one in white gold. They are decorated using two distinctive artisanal techniques to represent the new zodiac sign. The 35mm ladies’ version comes with a gem-set bezel and lugs, and one of the 41mm versions comes with a miniature painting of a serene pastoral scene with an ox against the background of mist-covered mountains. The pitch-black onyx face of the other two feature relief engraving on an ox, as it calmly saunters towards a gold plum tree with red ruby blossoms. The hand-engraved raised gold applique tableau on the hour rings is crafted in red gold and in white gold, with a gem-set bezel and lugs. The oscillating weights of the self-winding movements are also engraved with the head of an ox against an onyx background. Each version is limited to eight pieces.
Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Ox
This 88-piece limited series of watches stand out for its dial, which has been hand-crafted by the best of Japanese artisans using the traditional Urushi lacquer technique. Captured between the layers of lacquer that are drawn from the sap of the Toxicodendron vernicifluum tree, are gold flakes that illuminate a background featuring a golden ox with straight horns and an abundant coat, harnessed to a wagon. Comes in a 39.5mm case sculpted from a block of 18K rose gold. The automatic winding L.U.C 96.17-L in-house calibre has a power reserve of 65 hours.
Blancpain Villeret Collection Traditional Chinese Calendar
This limited edition watch (50 pieces) comes with a Grand Feu enamel dial which, in addition to the hours and minutes, date and moon phases, also features the main indications of the traditional Chinese calendar: double hours, days, months, and leap months, zodiac signs, five elements, and 10 heavenly stems. The ox appears in an aperture at 12 o’clock above the doublehour counter. The two sub-dials indicate the celestial stems and the five elements, as well as pointer type month and date indications and leap months through a round aperture. The moon phases that determine the months of the Chinese calendar are at 6 o’clock, while a blued serpentine hand sweeps over the date numerals around the dial circumference. Comes in a 45mm platinum case with a crown set with a cabochon-cut ruby. The self-winding 3638 calibre is endowed with a seven-day power reserve.