The year 2020 marks an incredible milestone on multiple avenues. First, it’s the start of a brand new decade and second, it’s also the start of a new 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle. With Chinese New Year quickly approaching, it’s that time of the year to flex on your many relatives that you probably meet only once a year. And what better way to do so than with your favourite luxury watches that draw inspiration from the Year of the Rat?
As the rat is the first of all zodiac animals, it seems only fitting for it to be the main highlight for various luxury watch brands. Each design features a unique representation of the Rat with different materials. Some of the biggest names in the industry include Panerai, Chopard, Vacheron Constantin, and Piaget.
Be sure to scroll down and peep the full list of luxury watches for the Year of the Rat that you can put on this Chinese New Year.
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Panerai brings the Chinese zodiac calendar in full swing with its Luminor Sealand that encompasses an articulately detailed design on the front cover. The decoration has been engraved by hand by Italian master craftsmen using the ancient art of sparsello. Underneath the beautifully designed engraving lies a signalling mirror, which protects the 44mm grey dial with luminous SuperLumiNova dots.
The Swiss luxury watchmaker reveals its latest timepiece in the shape of the Blancpain Métiers d’Art Porcelaine with its first-ever porcelain dial. It features hand-painted enamels showcasing three Rats foraging for fruits. The watch itself is a 33mm white-gold case with 48 brilliant-cut diamonds around the bezel. Each of the eight one-of-a-kind timepieces of this limited edition will be presented with an alligator strap.
Since 2012, Piaget has been one of the few Swiss luxury watchmakers who have been celebrating the Chinese New Year with a different limited edition Altiplano inspired by Chinese astrology. This year, it pays homage to the Year of the Rat with a cloisonné “Grand Feu” enamel by artist Anita Porchet. Its delicate 38mm white-gold case is adorned with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds while the dial features delicate light grey tones with two silver-toned Rats. This watch is also highly limited to only 38 pieces worldwide.
Chopard’s take on its Year of the Rat timepiece is a limited-edition, 18-karat rose gold L.U.C XP Urushi. Chopard has collaborated with Yamada Heinado, a Japanese lacquerware specialist to create the handcrafted dial. On it, a golden Rat is perched atop an ear of corn with a persimmon right next to it. This symbolises abundance and longevity respectively while the colours used — blue, green, and gold — symbolise luck.
Vacheron Constantin is one of the two luxury watchmakers on this list to feature its Year of the Rat-themed timepiece in two different shades — blue and bronze. However, that isn’t what makes it an eye-catching piece. That is due to its seamless blending of two traditional handcrafts: Swiss and Chinese paper-cutting techniques. Grand feu enamel is used to great effect, allowing for a contrasting backdrop against the hand-engraved Rat.
Following suit, Jacquet Droz introduces four different variations of its latest Petit Heure Minute timepiece in conjunction with the Year of the Rat. This is split into two different designs with each coming with two pairs. The first pair comes in two sizes (35mm and 39mm) and features the watchmaker’s signature grand feu enamelling that showcases a pair of Rats noshing on pomegranates. The next pair features a more 3D approach with a singular gold Rat on the dial, which is a mixture of painting and engraving set on onyx. It’s only available at 41mm in either rose gold or a white-gold case. Each watch is limited to just 28 pairs worldwide.
This limited-edition timepiece from Harry Winston kicks things up a notch with an 18k rose gold case that features more than 100 brilliant-cut diamonds. But it’s on the dial where the intricate detailing really shines. The design draws inspiration from jianzhi, the Chinese paper cutting technique that was developed in the Tang dynasty. It’s bright red painted mother-of-pearl dial features the Rat in a delicate beaded design with diamonds all around. The dial comes in a shade of red, which represents luck and happiness to go with the gold to symbolise good fortune. There are only eight pieces made, which is also the luckiest number in Chinese numerology.