This year Chopard is dedicating a new exclusive series of its LUC XP to the Chinese zodiac, and combine this with the traditional Japanese art of Urushi to introduce the Chopard LUC XP Urushi. The Chinese year beginning on February 8th 2016 is ascribed to the monkey and provides the theme for an exceptional Urushi lacquered dial. Hand-crafted in Japan in small series by a master lacquer artist, it depicts a popular scene believed to bring good luck and drawn from Chinese iconography: a monkey gathering peaches.
The Japanese art of Urushi
Urushi? Well, what exactly is that? It literally means ‘lacquer’ picture, referring to 2 different types of Japanese artworks: paintings painted with actual lacquer, and particular woodblock printing styles which use regular ink. Urushi lacquer comes from the sap of the ‘lacquer’ or ‘Japanese varnish’ tree. It is skilfully harvested, aged and then treated to become a transparent lacquer that is applied in a series of extremely fine layers.
The Urushi master uses it to imprison gold dust motifs created using the extraordinarily meticulous Maki-e technique. Each of these delicate gestures, performed exclusively by experienced masters of this exceptional skill who dedicate their lives to improving their art, are driven by a relentless pursuit of excellence.
Chopard LUC XP Urushi “Year of the monkey”
The Chopard LUC XP Urushi “Year of the monkey” features an exquisite Urushi dial. A red coated monkey is perched on branch laden with fruit, with this year’s Chinese zodiac animal to be the monkey. The monkey gathering both the red and blue peaches (8 of them) represents longevity and good fortune, peach symbolizing good health and eight is a lucky number. The dial is exceptionally beautiful with a backdrop of the golden valleys. Sitting inside a rose gold of the case, it sure is breath-taking scene.
This is not the first Urushi dialed watch Chopard has made. As with the earlier collaborations, Chopard have elected to work again with the firm Yamada Heiando who are the official purveyor to the Japanese imperial family.
Master Kilchiro Masumura has designed and supervised the creation of all dials, which were executed by Master Minori Koizumi, an Urushi master chosen by Chopard for his extreme artistic mastery.
Fitted with a black alligator leather strap, the L.U.C XP Urushi “Year of the monkey” comes in a special presentation box also decorated using Urushi techniques. Black on the outside and gold Maki-e inside, it is shaped like an octagon, an oriental symbol of gaiety.
The movement LUC Caliber 96
We move on to the beating heart of this beautiful watch. The L.U.C calibre 96.17L, an ultra-thin movement measuring just 3.30mm thick is what’s sitting in the watch.
The fully in-housed manufactured self-winding movement has a 22-carat gold micro-rotor that is incorporated into the overall thickness of the movement to provide slenderness with practicality. Powering for 65 hours, it is equipped with two barrels.
Technical details Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi – Year of the monkey
Recommended Retail price S$30,970
In 18-carat rose gold
Total diameter 39.50 mm
Thickness 6.80 mm
Water resistance 30 metres
18-carat rose gold crown with L.U.C logo 4.00 mm
Glareproofed sapphire crystal
Mechanical self-winding L.U.C 96.17-L
Total diameter 27.40 mm
Thickness 3.30 mm
Number of jewels 29
Frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve 65 hours
Two barrels, Twin® technology
Bridges adorned with Côtes de Genève
Dial and hands:
Dial crafted using the Urushi technique with monkey motif
Gilded Dauphine-type hours and minutes hands
Functions and displays:
Central display of the hours and minutes
Strap and buckle:
Hand-sewn alligator leather strap with Alsavel lining
18ct rose gold pin buckle
Ref. 161902-5061 – in 18-carat rose gold
with special “Year of the monkey” dial