We look at the haute horlogerie timepieces that have been specially designed to celebrate the year of the dog.
It's the Year of the Dog in Chinese astrology. According to the ancient Eastern zodiac system, man's best friend is a symbol of good fortune. Those born under the watchful sign of the canine are considered to be generous, loyal and committed. And they may just have a hyper-developed preference for red roses and the number 3.
Inspired by Eastern superstition, some of haute horlogerie's finest watchmakers have celebrated our canine chums with a stunning array of watches that seek to capture the enduring relationship between man and dog.
Graham Chronofighter Vintage Nose Art Ltd Kelly
Graham extends its pinup girl theme with Kelly, who wears a traditional Chinese dress and is joined on the dial by her faithful dog — the canine is placed between 3 and 4 o’clock, considered lucky numbers for those born in the Year of the Dog. The watch is inspired by vintage aviation timepieces from the 1940s, and is available in a 44mm stainless steel case with a fast-action start/stop trigger and reset pusher. Limited to 100 pieces, it houses the automatic Caliber G1747 with a power reserve of 48 hours.
Chopard L.U.C Perpetual T Spirit of the Chinese zodiac
Intended for the “most discerning collector”, Chopard’s one-off creation portrays the entire Chinese zodiac on the case middle. The 12 signs are individually represented using the champlevé engraving technique, where fine cavities are hollowed out and then filled with black patina. Chopard reminds us this technique is highly complex — the engraver devoted 200 hours to create the zodiac signs, adding to the special status of this timepiece. The 43mm rose gold case houses the hand-decorated L.U.C Calibre 02.15-L, and includes a perpetual calendar, a tourbillon and the four-barrelled Quattro system capable of more than seven days of autonomy.
Harry Winston Midnight and Premier Year of the Dog
Harry Winston has also selected the chow-chow for the dial of this rose gold limited edition of eight 42mm pieces for men, and eight 36mm pieces for women. The dog is crafted with techniques borrowed from cloisonné enamelling and applied to marquetry, where delicate pieces of mother-of-pearl are introduced to an underlying gold base. There’s also a Havana-hued backdrop that “sparkles like a magical constellation”. The ladies’ version is further embellished with 76 brilliant-cut diamonds. The series uses the HW2008 automatic movement, with a power reserve of 72 hours.
Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Dog and Petite Heure Minute Relief Dog
Circa 1860, Pekinese lapdogs were brought over to Europe from the Summer Palace at Beijing, where they enjoyed a sacred status. Jaquet Droz has chosen this adorable breed for different iterations that showcase the brand’s fine artistry. The products of its Ateliers d’Art, the first two feature miniature paintings in 39mm and 35mm red gold cases, the smaller set with diamonds for a more feminine touch, and the larger without to appeal to both men and women. Two relief versions, also limited to 28 pieces, see a red gold case contrasted with yellow gold engraving and an onyx centre, and a piece in white gold embellished with a white mother-of-pearl centre.
Blancpain Traditional Chinese Calendar
Blancpain pays tribute to an age-old culture with the Traditional Chinese Calendar. On the dial, the hours, minutes and the Gregorian calendar “rub shoulders” with the main indications of the Chinese calendar. The moon phases are prominently presented and play an important role, given the link between the lunar cycle and traditional Chinese months. The self-winding Caliber 3638 that packs in a seven-day reserve powers the 45mm platinum-encased watch. It is limited to 50 pieces, but a non-limited version with a pink gold case is also available.
Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dog
The L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dog edition honours the beautiful Asian Akita breed. Chopard describes the dial background as “a lush natural setting” dotted with wild orchids and enhanced by the “fluttering presence” of a dragonfly, which is considered a lucky charm and a good omen. The artwork is the result of a painstaking mix of hand painting, lacquering, appliqué and other traditional techniques. The 39.5mm case houses the mechanical self-winding L.U.C 96.17-L movement with a power reserve of 65 hours. The L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dog is limited to 88 pieces.
Panerai Luminor 1950 Sealand 3 Days Automatic Acciaio
This is the 10th watch in Panerai’s series of Chinese zodiac-themed timepieces. Limited to 88 pieces, it comes with a polished-steel cover that features a dog surrounded by cherry blossoms. The intricate engraving is created using the ancient Italian technique called sparsello, where the grooves are carved in the base material and then inlaid with gold threads. Flipping it open reveals a grey dial with seconds displays at 9 o’clock and the date at 3 o’clock. The 44mm brushed-steel case houses the automatic Caliber P.9000, with a power reserve of three days.
Piaget Altiplano Year of the Dog
Since 2012, Piaget has been “masterfully reimagining” Chinese zodiac signs on the dial of an Altiplano, using the delicate Grand Feu cloisonné enamelling technique. For 2018, renowned enameller Anita Porchet has played with light and shades “to create the most subtle nuances and give the dog its life-like glistening coat of fur”. This artwork is framed by 78 brilliant-cut diamonds and set in a white gold 38mm case. Powered by the 430P ultra-thin mechanical manual-winding movement with 43 hours of power reserve, the watch is limited to 38 pieces.
Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art the Legend of the Chinese Zodiac — Year of the Dog
Vacheron Constantin’s ties with China date back to 1845, and the watchmaker has welcomed the Year of the Dog with two Métiers d’Art creations, available in 40mm pink gold or platinum cases and limited to only 12 pieces each. The blue, or bronze, Grand Feu enamel dial is etched with foliage motif that wraps around a hand-engraved dog in pink gold or platinum. The watch is hands-free — it is equipped with the automatic Calibre 2460 G4, where four apertures in the dial display the hours, minutes, days and date.
The Villeret Valentine’s Day 2018 model is limited to 99 pieces