Dogs: Man’s best friends, Instagram sensations, and now, stars of your latest luxury timepieces. The year of the furry four-legged critters has arrived, and with it, a slew of special edition Year of the Dog watches to commemorate 2018 and its new zodiac.
As a symbol of loyalty, reliability and unconditional love, dogs are undoubtedly the perfect subject for a watch dial, and it’ll celebrate the beginning of its reign on 16 February 2018 during the Lunar New Year. And while most prominent watch brands are from Switzerland, the massive Chinese market has spawned oriental influences on their creations, resulting in a special series of watches every year to accommodate the lavish lifestyles of their prized Eastern consumers.
Taking the baton from the rooster, these Year of the Dog watches each reinterpret the canine in unique ways, from the trusty Akita on Chopard’s L.U.C. Urushi to the playful Pekingese on Jacquet Droz piece. The zodiac series is also always a platform for these brands to brag their impeccable technique. As usual, Chopard engages its Japanese “national human treasure” to reinterpret the canine, while Panerai uses an Italian master engraver for the sparsello technique.
Here are the Year of the Dog watches that are worth a bark or two this Lunar New Year.
A three-dimensional sculpted dog in platinum or pink gold (depending on the version) marks Vacheron Constantin’s annual Zodiac Metiers d’Art this year. As always, the level of detail is emphasised by fine etching and engraving — look closely and you’ll see its fur is ruffled as if in motion.The blue or bronze enamelled dial is also suitably oriental, with vine and foliage motifs resembling that of traditional Chinese paper cuttings. Instead of using traditional hands for timekeeping, four strategically-placed aperture windows display the hours, minutes, day and date without disrupting the fine craftsmanship.
Set in an 18k rose gold case, the affectionate dog is portrayed via Grand Feu enamelling methods that gives it the vibrancy and colour intensity it’s synonymous with. As an ancient art of enamelling, this decorative technique is incredibly rare, hence the 88-piece limited edition collection. Powered by the self-winding UN-815 movement with a 42-hour power reserve, the 40mm watch mirrors the reliability and elegance of canines.
As the tenth Zodiac model created since 2009, the Year of the Dog Luminor 1950 Sealand retains the same 44m curved square steel case top with an intricately engraved gold and black canine using the traditional sparsello technique. Gold threads are hand-inlaid into grooves. Beneath the cover is a minimalist grey dial, while at the back, a clear caseback that reveals Calibre P.9000 automatic, which provides three-day power reserve and 100-metre water resistance. A limited — and auspicious — number of 88 pieces are available worldwide.
As an ancient breed that’s originated from China and whose appearance is often likened to Chinese guardian lions, it was only fitting that the lively Pekingese is star of Jaquet Droz’s latest zodiac series. Limited to 28 models, the timepiece’s dial is made of the “Sonora Sunrise” variety of cuprite from Mexico. The copper oxide-rich mineral exudes red hues that reference good fortune and prosperity in Chinese culture, while decorative gold details showcase the bas-relief openwork with great finesse. A largely contrasting onyx dial breaks the gilded monotony.
To celebrate the Lunar New Year festivities, Chopard has once again called upon the expertise of Master Kiichiro Masumara to oversee its latest L.U.C XP Urushi dial for the Year of the Dog. The “national human treasure” of Japan painstakingly creates these minute works of art with a mix of lacquering, hand-painting, applique and traditional Maki-e technique to create a multi-faceted Akita against a vibrant garden. Beneath, a modern ultra-thin Calibre 96.17-L self-winding movement provides a 65-hour power reserve to this 88-limited edition timepiece.