As the Year of the Rat is impending, traditionally watch maisons offer timepieces with rat motifs as part of their celebration of the 12 year animal cycle that is a feature of the traditional Chinese calendar system. Here are three which peaked our interest – from Jaquet Droz, Panerai and TAG Heuer.
According to legend, the Rat finished first in a great race hosted by the Jade Emperor, the ruler of all gods. The animal is said to have used its wits and speed to finish ahead of animals much more powerful than it, such as the Ox and Tiger, as well as those less agile, such as the Sheep and Rooster. The Rat is said to have won the race – as well as the first place in the zodiac calendar – by crossing a river on the back of the Ox. Just before reaching the shore and the finish line, the Rat jumped off the back of the Ox to win first place.
Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Rat
As usual, Jaquet Droz proposes several options. This new year, they offer 4 options, all from the Jaquet Droz’s Ateliers d’Art. The first two models (Petite Heure Minute 35 mm and 39 mm) depict two rats on a bed of leaves dotted with pomegranates, set on a Grand Feu enamel dial. Both variations are produced in red gold, and the 35 mm model is set entirely with diamonds (case and pallet lugs). The case back of both models houses an oscillating weight designed especially for this limited series of 28 pieces. A second scene, engraved in red gold, depicts two rats reveling in a basket of pomegranates, continuing the metaphor of prosperity, abundance and intelligence.
For the 41 mm version, the Petite Heure Minute is available in two other animal-inspired variations that explore the same theme yet feature an onyx dial in a shade of black that is as pure as it is intense. This incredibly deep black serves as the backdrop for a Rat holding a pomegranate in its hands. These two prestigious pieces are crafted in either red gold or white gold (case, rat, hands, and oscillating weight engraving). In addition, the white gold version is set with 272 diamonds that illuminate its ring and pallet lugs with radiant sparkle while creating contrast with the dark intensity of onyx.
The retail prices are as follows:
· Petite Heure Minute Rat (35mm, with diamonds) – SGD 59,000
· Petite Heure Minute Rat (39mm) – SGD 49,000
· Petite Heure Minute Relief Rat in red gold – SGD 111,000
· Petite Heure Minute Rat in white gold – SGD 127,000
Panerai Luminor Sealand – 44 mm (PAM00863)
From Panerai, the Year of the Rat is celebrated with the Luminor Sealand – 44 mm (PAM00863)
A distinguishing feature of every Sealand, the decorated cover – with a signalling mirror inside – is hinged at 12 o’clock on the brush-finished AISI 316L steel case of the 44-mm model. This aesthetic and functional element protects the grey dial with its printed Arabic numerals and linear hour-markers, supplemented by luminous SuperLumiNovaTM dots.
The decoration of the cover has been engraved by hand by Italian master craftsmen using the ancient art of sparsello. This technique is named after the tool, like a little scalpel, which is used to make incisions. These are then inlayed with gold threads which are carefully hammered to fill the recesses. This operation takes up to 50 hours of work for each watch.
The mechanical movement of the new Luminor Sealand – 44 mm is the P. 9010 Calibre with a power reserve of three days provided by twin spring barrels, and rapid time adjustment which also changes the calendar. With automatic winding and only 6 mm thick, it was entirely conceived and developed at the Panerai Manufacture in Neuchâtel. Water-resistant to a depth of 10 bar (about 100 metres), the new Luminor Sealand – 44 mm is fitted with a semi-matt calf strap, gold in colour with beige stitching, and it is presented in a pear wood box. It is supplied with a second strap of black rubber, a special tool for changing the strap and a screwdriver to remove the buckle.
Retail price is S$33,900.
TAG Heuer Autavia CNY 2020 Year of the Rat Special Edition
TAG Heuer’s offering is the Autavia in a bronze case, and features an intricately designed the Chinese character “鼠” to replace the traditional index at 1 o’clock, signifying the Rat as the first animal in the 12 year calendar cycle. The case back features the engraved silhouette of a lively little rat wearing traditional pilot goggles and holding a steering wheel, an echo to TAG Heuer’s motor racing roots, along with the engraved Chinese character “鼠”. The vibrant red dial enclosed by a black ceramic bezel echoes the calfskin leather strap and both contrast against the brushed bronze case, forming a distinctive design that subtly celebrates the Chinese New Year.
Inspired by the original Heuer Autavia wristwatches and dashboard timers of the 1960s, this bronze 42mm three-hand timepiece from the reintroduced Autavia collection brings together functional, versatile style and COSC-certified chronometer precision thanks to its Calibre 5 automatic movement. The bronze case tells a unique story with an ever-changing patina that captures the wearer’s adventures. Bronze is not only elegant and characteristically timeless, it is also rugged and ready for a lifestyle that includes the great outdoors, while the unique patina naturally develops on the bronze case over time, based on the wearer’s habits. Suited for any adventure or style, the strap or bracelet of every model in the Autavia collection is easily interchangeable. The cockpit-inspired watches are perfectly legible in any condition thanks to their Super-LumiNova® details.
Retail price is S$5650.