On the 12th of February this year, the Chinese had celebrated the start of the lunar new year. Dubbed the Year of the Metal Ox, the new year begins on February 12th 2021, and ends on January 31st 2022.
Over the years, we have seen a myriad of brands introducing many new special edition watches to capture the attention and hearts of Chinese collectors. After all, for the Chinese, the Lunar New Year is an extremely big and important occasion. And for watch collectors, buying a new watch – especially one that is cased in gold and filled with auspicious symbols – is certainly a good way to kick start the new year in the Chinese calendar.
So, for the first Sunday of the new lunar year, we will be introducing some watches that collectors – especially the Chinese – might be interested in. As mentioned, most of these watches are either special editions for the Year of the Ox, or they are simply watches with auspicious elements. What are some of the watches that we have chosen? Let us find out!
Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Ox
We begin the article with a timepiece that best represents the spirit of the theme: Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Ox.
Since 2013, Chopard has dedicated a L.U.C Haute Horlogerie timepiece to the concurrent symbol in the Chinese zodiac. Featuring an ultra-slim case with a stunning Urushi dial, the timepiece is certainly a treat to the eye. This year, with the Ox being the official symbol in the Chinese zodiac system, means that the Geneva-based manufacturer will produce a timepiece that represents the second animal in the cycle.
The 39.5mm rose gold watch, as per the past iterations, is brilliant to say the least. The highlight certainly lies in the dial, where the brand commissioned Master Minori Koizumi of the Yamada Heiando company to produce it. Notably, the traditional Maki-e technique was used in the production process, and the attention to detail was second to none. For more in-depth explanation of the entire manufacturing process, we would highly recommend you to read this review article.
The Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Ox retails at S$34,000, and it is limited to a run of 88 pieces. This is a remarkable watch, and it makes it even more special if the owner was born in the Year of the Ox.
Swatch Big Bold Ox Rocks 2021
Moving on from the Chopard, we have something that is slightly more casual and fun with the new Swatch Big Bold Ox Rocks 2021.
The 47mm timepiece, which is an extension of the Big Bold collection, is an outstanding and striking timepiece – as suggested by its nomenclature. Clad in a plastic case and silicone strap, the Big Bold Ox Rocks 2021 is presented in three colours: Black, Red, and Gold. The combination is fantastic, and it certainly adds a lot of vibrancy especially during this festive season (and beyond, of course).
This special timepiece is priced at S$194. It is quite a fun watch, and it will definitely add some vibrancy into any watch collection with its interesting dial design and vivid colour scheme.
Hublot Big Bang Unico Red Magic
If your goal is to paint the town red this Lunar New Year, then perhaps the Hublot Big Bang Unico Red Magic might just be the perfect timepiece that you are looking for.
The most obvious characteristic of the watch lies in its case. The watch is cased in the first “vibrantly coloured ceramic” using technical and aesthetic ceramics. According to Hublot, its proprietary manufacturing process allows them to produce a bright red ceramic case that is extremely dense and hardy – a first of its kind in the industry itself. The result is certainly amazing, and its combination with the large 45mm case makes the Red Magic a rather conspicuous watch.
Powering the watch is Hublot’s in-house Unico Calibre HUB1242. It is a self-winding movement that boasts a date function and a flyback chronograph complication. In addition, the 330-part movement boasts a decent power reserve of approximately 72 hours. The Red Magic retails at S$37,200, the limited-edition timepiece (of 500 pieces) is certainly something that will stand out in the crowd. And for the Chinese, it is especially an auspicious object with the amount of red present on the wristwatch.
Arnold & Son Perpetual Moon “Year of the Ox”
For some regular readers of Deployant and it’s Sunday columns, the Arnold & Son Perpetual Moon should not be unfamiliar. Afterall, it is one of the most raved watches that features the moon phase complication – all thanks to the fact that the timepiece comes with one of the largest moon phase display that is available in the wristwatch universe.
While the original iterations are impressive, the 8-piece special edition – dubbed the “Year of the Ox” – takes it up a notch. This particular edition features a sublime Hematite dial, as well as a golden bull sculpture and a pair of hand-painted pink gold pagodas. The Métiers d’Art elements definitely make this beautiful watch even more stunning, and it looks even more impressive in the dark with the application of Super-Luminova on the pagodas’ windows, moon, and the constellation. An absolute work of art!
The 42mm timepiece is priced at CHF49,900 (approximately S$74,165). The original iteration – especially with the aventurine dial – is already staggering, but this piece is simply phenomenal. We reckon this will certainly be a hit with many Chinese collectors, or even those who are working in Wall Street.
Ludovic Ballouard Half Time Chinese
From the world of independent watchmaking, we now look at a timepiece that we think is rather interesting especially for the Chinese-speaking folks. Cue the Ludovic Ballouard Half Time Chinese.
The Half Time is an interesting concept. It features two discs, in which it dissects the Chinese numerals into two halves. The top disc rotates in an anti-clockwise position, while the bottom disc rotates in a clockwise position. When the two discs meet at the 12 o’clock position, it will form a proper Chinese numeral in the window. In the example above, the one in Rose Gold shows that it is currently 1:31, while the one in Platinum tells us that it is approximately 2:40. On top of that, the watch is also fitted with a retrograde minute display.
Priced at CHF70,000 (approximately S$104,020) for the rose gold variant, the Half Time will definitely impress your Chinese friends or relatives this coming Lunar New Year. The concept is truly unique, and a technical masterpiece undoubtedly from a brilliant watchmaker.
Blancpain Villeret Calendrier Chinois Traditionnel
Last but not least, we have the most complicated timepiece for today, in the form of a timepiece that features both the Gregorian and Chinese calendar. Introducing the Blancpain Villeret Calendrier Chinois Traditionnel.
Blancpain is a brand that is known for its expertise in calendar complications, and this particular Villeret is certainly no slouch. This watch, similar to the 2012 iteration, is the only model in the world that combines basic time-telling functions with elements of the Chinese calendar – which includes cycles of the zodiac, and the five elements with 10 celestial stems.
Powering this impressive 45mm watch is the Calibre 3638. This is a 434-part self-winding movement, which boasts an astonishing power reserve of around 7 days. It features a myriad of calendar displays, and finishing is done in high standards. It is pretty much faultless, and we dare say that it is perhaps one of the most fascinating calendar watches that we have seen thus far – especially for the fact that we are Chinese.
This platinum watch is priced at S$121,500, with a limited series of 50 watches. The Villeret Calendrier Chinois Traditionnel is truly a watch above the rest, and for those who are deeply keen in Chinese culture, this is an apt piece to include in your watch collection.
We have highlighted a variety of timepieces to welcome the Year of the Metal Ox. Most of these watches are limited edition pieces that are created specially for this occasion, with the exception of the Hublot. The latter, however, is a symbolic and important addition as red is considered to be an extremely auspicious colour for the Chinese. We reckon that it will be a strong hit amongst the Chinese, regardless of whether Hublot had intended to produce it with the market in mind or otherwise.
For the non-Chinese readers, we hope that you have gained some nuggets on the Chinese culture from the little details that have been incorporated into some of these watches. In fact, we think that some of these watches might even be popular with collectors in the finance industry – due to the symbolism of bull and its association with a favourable financial market.
Finally, let us know your thoughts on today’s selection, as well as some of the watches that you think deserves a spot on this list. Till the next time!