Before we go any further, let me start this post by wishing you a 恭禧發財/恭禧发财! That’s Happy New Year in Chinese!
To celebrate with you on this occasion, we compiled together some of the more important watch brands that are marking the year of the Wooden Horse, by launching timepieces with an equestrian inspiration.
We’ll try to cover a broad range, from the really high end, limited edition pieces, to the more affordable quartz watches that on this occasion made it into this list because of their design.
Vacheron Constantin — The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac
To mark the Year of the Horse, Vacheron Constantin has added two new extraordinary pieces to its Métiers d’Art collection. Engravers and enamellers have worked alternatively on this Year of the Horse model, crafted in pink gold or platinum and limited to 12 pieces each, reserved for Vacheron Constantin Boutiques exclusively.
The hands-free display is revealing through four windows the hours, minutes, day of the week and date. Inside the 40 mm case, you’ll find the Hallmark of Geneva certified Calibre 2460 G4, beating at 4Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour) .
Ulysse Nardin — Classico Horse
Ulysse Nardin found its inspiration for the Calssico Horse, in the graceful power and free spirit of wild horses.
Ulysse Nardin employs the intricate champlevé method where cells are carved with a chisel directly on the dial and filled with enamel. Its earth-tone palette of black, white, tan, gray and green is created from different metallic oxides, perfectly depicting the natural landscape and its small band of beautiful creatures. The piece is then fired until the enamel melts and is polished when the surface cools. The result: an exceptional creation produced by the hands of master artisans.
A limited edition of 88 pieces in 18-karat rose gold, the Classico Horse 40mm features the self-winding UN-815 movement, visible through its sapphire crystal exhibition window located on the case back. The timepiece has a power reserve of approximately 42 hours and COSC-certified chronometer.
Piaget — Altiplano “A Mythical Journey by Piaget”
“A mythical Journey by Piaget” is a very special collection, consisting of 32 models and 16 pieces of jewellery, inspired by the mythical Silk Route and the Spice Route. With this collection Piaget is taking us on an imaginary voyage from China to India, embracing crafts, such as micromosaic, embroidery, bullino engraving and enamel.
Enamel was initially used for gold work and jewellery. Watchmakers took it up in the fifteenth century. Since then, craftsmen have been continually refining and adding to their techniques. Champlevé, cloisonné, flinqué, and miniature enamel techniques are all different ways of playing with a substance that is immune to the effects of time.
On the Altiplano model, the cloisonné technique adds even more fire to the spirited rearing horse. The entire animal is filled with the vitality of Yang.
Panerai – Luminor Sealand PAM847
The Panerai Luminor Sealand (PAM847) is part of the series of timepieces dedicated to the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac. This is the sixth pieces, following the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon and Snake editions.
The stainless steel hinged case cover is decorated with a hand-engraved horse motif. The resulting grooves are inlaid with gold, than hammered until they are filled.
Limited to 100 pieces, it is available exclusively trough the Panerai boutiques.
Chopard – L.U.C XP URUSHI
Proclaimed a “Living National Treasure” by the Japanese authorities, artist Kiichiro Masumura has created this unique dial for Chopard based on the time-honoured lacquering techniques of Urushi and Maki-e. Marrying ancestral craftsmanship with the highest degree of Swiss watchmaking, this majestic work of art portrays the Chinese astrological sign of the horse. Magnificently showcased within the understated lines of the ultra-thin L.U.C XP in 18-carat rose gold, this exceptional timepiece is equipped with the mechanical self-winding L.U.C Calibre 96.17-L.
Jaquet Droz — new Ateliers d’Art models
Three exclusive models have been created using the exclusive know-how of Jaquet Droz’s master craftsmen, specialized in highly complex techniques: engraving, painting and Grand Feu enamel.
Loyal to its spirit of exclusivity, Jaquet Droz is offering each of these new models in a limited edition of 88 pieces with a red gold case and available on a brown or black alligator leather strap.
Cartier – Ronde Louis Cartier with horse motif
This and the Cartier piece bellow, were not launched on the occasion of the Year of the Horse, but I felt that they deserve to be part of this list, due to their equestrian inspiration.
Part of the “Cartier d’Art” collection, the Ronde Louis Cartier with horse motif is demonstrating the jewellery-making know-how of the Maison.
The craftsman coats the dial with brilliant blue enamel and fires it. Then, with a fine brush, he progressively draws the motif in Limoges white, which evolves during a series of six to eight different firings. The enamelling of this piece takes almost 40 hours to complete.
The rhodium-coated 18-carat white gold case is set with 61 brilliant-cut diamonds totalling 1.57 carats.
Limited to 80 pieces.
Cartier — Santos-Dumont XL
Launched in 2012, the Cartier Santos-Dumont XL is a breathtaking miniature gemstone mosaic enclosed in a white gold case. The horse on the dial is created with a long inventory of colourful gems: Earth jasper, Kalahari jasper, grey Madagascar jasper, chocolate obsidian, pink opal. The horse head is constructed with irregularly cut Cacholong pieces.
On each piece, the Cartier artisans are working more than 120 hours: 50 hours to render the horse and 70 hours to complete the background.
This model is highly limited to only 40 timepeaces and just ten timepieces set with baguette-cut diamonds.
Swatch — Year Of The Horse
The design recalls traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy with its inky black brush strokes and watery grays on white ground, and its dynamic impressions of horses in motion are a fitting tribute to the Year of the Horse.
The explosive power of a horse in motion dominates the Special Packaging, as well. Lenticular printing brings gold, red, blue and black horses to life, highlighting powerful silhouettes against bold red, black and blue skies.
Price: $90 and available at Swatch Boutiques and Kiosks across Canada.
Fossil — Year of the Horse, For Her and For Him
Fossil is celebrating the Chinese New Year with two limited edition watches. The ladies’ version has a gold tone case on a white leather strap and engraved case back. For him, Fossil is proposing a black case on black leather strap and engraved case back.
UPDATE – Arnold & Son HM Horses Set
Launched after the publishing of this story, the limited edition Arnold & Son HM Horses Set, with hand-painted lacquer dial is a remarkable example of artistry. Click here to find out more details about this wonderful set.
Now, it’s time for you to let us know, which model caught your eye.