In the next couple of days, the Chinese community will be celebrating the Lunar New Year and ushering in the Year of the Tiger.
This year, according to the Chinese zodiac, is represented by the tiger. As with past traditions, brands and manufacturers were quick to launch watches associated with tigers. This is not a surprise, given the interest in Chinese zodiacs and the inherently large market of Chinese consumers.
Over the years, we have seen many fine timepieces with these Chinese zodiac motifs. We love the artistry and craftsmanship behind it, especially those with intricately-made details. So, what are some of the finest examples that we have this year? Let us find out!
Casio G-SHOCK MTG-B10000CX
We begin the article with something fun. Cue the new Casio G-SHOCK MTG-B1000CX.
The brand takes a different approach to welcome the Year of the Tiger, with a bold timepiece that features a golden case with the tiger stripes motif and a bright red resin strap. In Chinese culture, red and gold symbolises luck and prosperity respectively. The combination of these two colours for this timepiece certainly makes it a rather compelling option indeed – especially for the Chinese consumers.
Retailing at S$1,599, the G-SHOCK MTG-B1000CX is definitely a great conversation starter during the festivities. We like its striking approach, and also the multitude of functionality that comes along with it. Definitely a timepiece to consider for collectors who like something fun and loud.
TAG Heuer Carrera Year of the Tiger
Moving back to something that is more conventional in terms of design, we have the TAG Heuer Carrera Year of the Tiger.
Unlike most of the watches that we have featured today, TAG Heuer’s take is a tad more contemporary, and perhaps something that the majority are more accustomed to. We like how TAG Heuer had incorporated the tiger stripes onto the dial of the watch, with a two-tone design that offers both depth and texture. In addition, there is also a blue-and-black tiger motif on the caseback, to further reinforce the theme. We also like the additional rose gold touches on the indices and crown, which adds a rather classy touch to this timepiece.
The 41mm watch is powered by the brand’s ubiquitous Caliber 5, and it is priced at S$5,250. It is limited to a production of 300 pieces, and we reckon this TAG Heuer offers an interesting option for someone who wants a tiger-inspired timepiece.
Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Tiger
Following the TAG Heuer, we have the Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Tiger.
Chopard is no stranger to the scene, with the manufacturer presenting a new timepiece specifically for the Chinese zodiac calendar annually – with the Urushi lacquer dial, no less. This year, the 39.5mm watch features the motif of a tiger – with the urushi work done by lacquer master Minori Koizumi. The artwork on the dial is immaculate, and it is done using the traditional Maki-e technique.
Movement-wise, the watch is fitted with the Caliber L.U.C 96.17-L. This micro-rotor movement is used in earlier L.U.C XP models, and the finishing is nothing short of exquisite.
The 88-piece limited edition timepiece is available only in rose gold, and it is priced at CHF25,400 (approximately S$36,955). We love the attention to detail of the watch, as well as the intricacies of the dial. Talk about East meets West.
Ulysse Nardin Classico Tiger
Continuing with the theme of blue dials, we introduce the exquisite Ulysse Nardin Classico Tiger.
Ulysse Nardin is an interesting brand, and the acquisition of Donzé – a master in producing enamel dials – has definitely made the Le Locle manufacturer a more holistic brand in terms of its offerings. The Classico Tiger is an example, where it features classic enameling techniques such as champlevé and paillonné. For the uninitiated, the former involves carving elements on the dial and filling it with enamel, while the latter has thinly hammered strips of metal placed in between layers of enamel (to create patterns or motifs).
We love how Ulysse Nardin is not afraid to show its prowess, especially when it comes to such artisanal techniques. The 40mm Classico Tiger is undoubtedly a stunning piece, and at CHF40,600 (approximately S$59,107), the 88-piece limited edition watch is a great option for someone who appreciates the finer things in life.
Piaget Altiplano Chinese New Year of the Tiger
Then, we have Piaget, with the Altiplano Chinese New Year of the Tiger.
This year’s timepiece from Piaget is a collaboration with master-enameller Anita Porchet. The 38mm watch is fitted with a magnificent cloisonné grand feu enamel dial, which is notably a 4000-year old decorative art. This is done through the use of gold ribbons to form the shape of the subject (i.e. the tiger, in this case), before the cavities are filled with enamel pigments and baked in the oven.
Priced at S$102,000, the white gold timepiece is set with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds and powered by the Maison’s ultra-thin manual-winding Caliber 430P. This watch is limited to a production of 38 pieces, and this piece is a testament to the brand’s competencies in artistic craftsmanship and watchmaking.
Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art “Year of the Tiger”
Vacheron Constantin is another manufacturer that is no stranger to the world of Chinese zodiac, and the latest timepiece from the Métiers d’Art collection is yet another masterpiece that amazes us once again.
This is a tasteful watch, with a myriad of techniques used in the production of the timepiece. The centerpiece – which is the dial – features both engraving and grand feu enamel. In addition, VC had also incorporated the paper-cutting technique, known as Jianzhi, through the etching of the vegetal motifs on the metal. The employment of all these artistic techniques certainly elevate the entire timepiece on a whole new level altogether.
Powering the watch is the Caliber 2460, which gives the watch its distinctive four apertures that feature the hour, minute, day, and date display. The finishing is also done in accordance with the criteria of the Hallmark of Geneva.
The 40mm watch is available in two variants, in rose gold and platinum. They are priced at S$167,000 and S$203,000 respectively, and the watches are limited to a series of 12 watches per reference.
Tigers are one of the most admired animals within the Chinese zodiac, thanks to its symbolism as a creature of power and immense beauty. They are known as the king of the jungle after all, together with the lion.
These watches have definitely done justice to the animal. Most of the pieces that we have highlighted today focuses on intricate artisanal techniques, and they have managed to portray the tiger in a manner that is simply breathtaking. We are thoroughly impressed, for sure.
So, what are your thoughts on such timepieces? Do you enjoy watches with such artwork, or do you prefer timepieces that focus more on other finishing techniques and complications? Let us know in the comments section below, and for our Chinese readers – here is wishing you a happy lunar new year!
P.S. Photos courtesy of Casio, TAG Heuer, Chopard, Ulysse Nardin, Piaget, and Vacheron Constantin respectively.