Ox-fresh: Celebrate Chinese New Year with wristworn art from Blancpain to Swatch Ox-fresh: Celebrate Chinese New Year with wristworn art from Blancpain to Swatch

Ox-fresh: Celebrate Chinese New Year with wristworn art from Blancpain to Swatch

Thor Svaboe

The Swiss maisons are at it again, bringing their entire arsenal of craftsmanship to celebrate the Chinese New Year. As we all know, the Chinese market is huge and a great reason for watch brands to bring out the big guns. By big guns, however, we really mean the opposite here, as tiny instruments and loupes are dusted off to bring artisanal handmade details to the forefront and start off 2021 with an artful bang.

Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Spirit of Shi Chen

Chinese New Year

Lustrous gold meets inky black framed in the classic L.U.C case from Chopard that offers a perfect balance of pebble-round comfort and swoopy lugs. The 40mm dial is a beautifully crafted surface of the Urushi lacquer we know from the best wristworn examples of Japanese craftsmanship, here delightfully integrated into Chopard’s design. The dial has a large crescent-shaped window in the upper half of the dial displaying the animals from the Chinese cycle of the Zodiac, with a balanced Chinese symbol in the centre. This large and engagingly symmetrical symbol of prosperity lends an almost architectural formality to the background. Arrowhead indices and the contemporary sword hands of the L.U.C series brings a sharp modernity that works, in what is a rich, warm and perfectly balanced piece of dial art. Price: $38,000

Blancpain Villeret Chinese Traditional Calendar

Chinese New Year

Boasting a wealth of exquisite details, this Blancpain is a joint celebration of  the Swiss craft of watchmaking as much as welcoming the Year of the Ox. In a large 45mm case of platinum or red gold, Chinese calendar indications are artfully combined with the Gregorian calendar, and yes it needs a large canvas. The two classic skeletonised feuille hour and minute hands are juxtaposed with the delicate swooping whimsy of the blued seconds hand, in a detailed but balanced dial that concludes with a traditional moon phase at 6 o’clock. The manufacture movement is just as intricately detailed as the dial is complex with an astounding seven-day power reserve driven through three barrels in series.  Price: The limited edition platinum case is $87,800 USD while the non-limited 18-karat red gold version is $66,400 USD

Dior Grand Bal Jardin Fleuri

Seriously. The Dior Grand Bal Jardin Fleuri is the most intricate, delightful design of a ladies’ watch I have surely laid my eyes on in 2021 (and the year before!). The 36mm case holds a classic diamond-set bezel that here looks almost minimalist framing the incredible Haute Gioallerie theatre that constitutes a dial. If we can even call it that. And it is a moving theatre, the 11 1/2 movement being an inverse automatic movement with the beguilingly intricate garden motif in gold and precious stone functioning as the rotor. This will keep you thoroughly distracted from reading the time, swaying back and forth in a glittering arc before a background that looks like an embroidered carpet of flowers flecked with gold. Dior has limited this hypnotising masterpiece of watchmaking and jewellery skills to a very Chinese allocation of 88 pieces, all presented on a red alligator strap. Price: On application

Swatch Ox Rocks 21

Swatch bring the FUN with this immensely cheerful piece of wrist-worn Pop Art. Loud colours in the traditional Chinese palette of red and gold are paired with a cool black strap in the largest of Swatch’s Big Bold cases. Two oxen form a vibrant swirly dance of yin and yang on the dial, with the crispest of white for the rounded, minimalist hands, and a cheerfully huge crown at two o’clock. Boom! Price: $125 USD