We have just begun the year of the goat (19 February 2015-7 February 2016), and several watch brands have launched goat watches thinking specifically of the Chinese market. While I can understand this, to be honest these goat watches are so far removed from the brands’ habitual style that they may seem more of a marketing operation than works that reinforce the brands’ image and positioning in the luxury market. Here are four examples of watches that combine elements of Oriental crafts with a wholly Western approach to watchmaking.
Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi “Year of the Goat”
The decorative motifs are in Japanese lacquer, the ancient art of Urushi in which a varnish secreted as a sap by the Urushi tree is used after a lengthy ageing process lasting from three to five years. The same lacquer is used in the Maki-e technique in which the lacquer is sprinkled with gold dust. The watch is powered by the in-house calibre L.U.C 96.17-L ultra-thin movement that enables the thickness of the finished watch to be limited to 6.8 mm. Two barrels provide a power reserve of 65 hours. The case diameter is 39.5 mm; the watch is made in two versions, rose gold and white gold, and it is delivered in a presentation box with Maki-e decoration inside and black lacquer outside. The box is octagonal, a shape that symbolizes joy in China.
Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’art models
The large seconds subdial of the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde has been replaced by three goats on the summit of an imaginary mountain. The goats are sculpted in white or red gold, according to the case material, on a dial with a plum blossom pattern in champlevé enamel. The result recalls the Jianzhi paper-cut patterns that are an ancient tradition in China. The two models are limited editions, with 28 pieces in the red gold version and 28 in white gold.
Ulysse Nardin Classico Goat
Ulysse Nardin’s goat is in champlevé enamel, used to create a totally naturalistic depiction. The piece is a limited edition of 88 pieces, with the automatic, COSC-certified UN-815 movement visible through the sapphire caseback and providing a 42-hour power reserve.
This is the third piece in the Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac collection, following the snake and the horse. The watch is interesting for its digital indications, with two windows above for hours and minutes – dragging indications, so in constant movement – and two below for day and date, which are jumping indications. As the windows are placed at the edge of the dial, there are no hands and no central pivot, leaving the maximum amount of space for the goat, sculpted in gold or platinum, with a dial decorated with a honeysuckle motif in grand feu enamel. The watch is powered by the Calibre 2460 G4 Calibre, with oscillating weight visible through the transparent caseback. The day and date indications can be adjusted using recessed pushers on the case side: the piece is supplied complete with a corrector wand, and a magnifying glass for examining the craftsmanship. This limited edition is available in two variants, pink gold and platinum, with 12 pieces for each. Read more here.