January 28th marks the beginning of the Year of the Rooster, the 10th animal in the Chinese Zodiac. As per recent tradition, a handful of luxury watch brands — always cognizant of their Asian markets — have created special timepieces to commemorate the occasion. Here are six worth crowing about.
1. Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Monsieur Bovet Métiers d’Art Rooster
This timepiece features a white lacquered dial with Roman numerals on the front, and a white mother-of-pearl dial with a miniature painting of a rooster (pictured) on the reverse side. The 43-mm case, in either 18k rose gold or 18k white gold, is in Bovet‘s hallmark Amadeo style, which allows the watch to be converted from wristwatch to pocketwatch to miniature table clock with ease. The movement is Bovet’s manual-winding Caliber 13BM09AI, which controls all timekeeping displays (hours, minutes, a patented co-axial small seconds subdial, reverse hand-fitting for hours and minutes displays on both sides of the dial) and a front-side indicator for the watch’s impressive seven-day power reserve. The watch comes with both a full-skin alligator strap and a gold or rhodium-plated silver pocketwatch chain. It is priced at $73,500 in rose gold and $76,700 in white gold.
2. Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi – Year of the Rooster
The watch has a 39.5-mm case in 18k rose gold, and contains Chopard’s automatic Caliber L.U.C 96.17-L, which is visible through a clear sapphire caseback. It uses a 22k gold microrotor for winding the two mainspring barrels, which offer a 65-hour power reserve. The movement is also a treat for the eyes, with its high-end horological decorations, including beveled and polished chamfers, polished screws, and côtes de Genève on the bridges. The L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rooster watch comes on a hand-sewn black alligator strap and retails for $24,290.
3. Harry Winston Premier Automatic 36mm
From Harry Winston‘s elegant Premier collection comes this very limited (eight pieces) watch, in a 36-mm rose gold case with emerald-cut diamonds and a hand-painted, grand feu enamel dial. An artist used a fine sable-hair brush to paint the proudly poised rooster, directly onto the dial’s gold baseplate, under a microscope. The layers of enamel are fired at temperatures of at least 800º Celsius and then cooled before the next layer of enamel paint can be applied. The white magnolia flowers surrounding the rooster represent the feminine “yin” to the rooster’s masculine “yang.” The Harry Winston name has been hand-painted next to the rooster’s red comb. The deep blue feathers allude to Harry Winston’s passion for blue diamonds, in particular the famous Hope Diamond. The watch is powered by a Swiss automatic mechanical movement (HW 2008), with a 72-hour power reserve and a silicon balance spring. The price is $48,500.
4. Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Rooster
The Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Rooster — one of four Year of the Rooster-themed pieces from the brand’s Ateliers d’Art collection — is limited to just 28 pieces. Its talking points are the miniature sculpture of a rooster, executed in the same rose gold as the case, and the hand-engraved dial inlaid with jadeite and mother-of-pearl. (Jade is, of course, one of the most precious materials in Asia, symbolizing luck and health.) After being engraved, the dial is then patinated and hand-painted in monochromatic shades that enhance the relief areas.
The self-winding movement in the watch has a double barrel, holding a 68-hour power reserve, and a silicon escapement. It is visible through a sapphire window in the back of the 41-mm rose-gold case. The winding rotor, also in rose gold, features an intricately engraved figure of a rooster, ensuring that the back of the timepiece is just as eye-catching as the front. The Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Rooster carries a retail price of $68,300.
5. Panerai Luminor 1950 Sealand 3 Days Automatic Acciaio – 44mm
Panerai‘s ninth special-edition watch devoted to the Chinese Zodiac features a distinctly Italian style of decorative engraving. The rooster illustration on the polished steel cover over the dial was created by hand using the ancient “sparsello” technique, named after the special tool used to execute it. First, grooves are made in the steel and then inlaid with gold threads in multiple layers. The threads are then beaten until they completely fill the grooves to create the finished image. The process is extraordinarily challenging, since the process of inlaying the gold takes place after the lid has already been engraved and polished, meaning the slightest error could undo all the earlier work.
Under the decorative cover is a gray-tinted Panerai dial, with large Arabic numerals, linear hour markers, a date window at 3 o’clock, and a small-seconds subdial at 9 o’clock. Inside the 44-mm case, made of brushed stainless steel, beats Panerai’s self-winding P.9000 movement, which stores a power reserve of three days and winds its mainspring with a bidirectional rotor. The watch is water-resistant to 100 meters and mounted on a soft brown leather strap, with an additional black rubber strap, changing tool, and screwdriver included. Available exclusively in Panerai boutiques, it is limited to 99 pieces and priced at $21,300.
6. Piaget Altiplano 38mm in Cloisonné Enamel
Piaget has been offering Chinese New Year-themed, limited-edition versions of its ultra-thin Altiplano watch since 2012. This year’s model, like many that preceded it, showcases the grand feu cloisonné enameling expertise of world-renowned master enameller Anita Porchet. The rooster image on the watch’s dial, with its plumage glistening in distinct shades of gray, white, and black, is achieved by this technique, in which Porchet partitions the enamel pigments using cloisons — tiny areas divided by wires — before firing them in over-800º Celsius ovens. This system enables the enameller to better isolate the shades, from light to more intense, in order to arrive at the subtle details displayed on the dial. A tiny splash of red appears amidst the gray tones, on the rooster’s comb and wattle.
The watch has a 38-mm, 18k white-gold case set with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds and contains Piaget’s wafer-thin, manual-winding 430P movement with a 43-hour power reserve. Offered on a black leather strap with white-gold ardillon buckle, it is limited to only 38 pieces and priced at $61,000.