It’s been a Chopard tradition every Chinese New Year for the brand to produce a watch in celebration of that particular year’s Zodiac animal.
This year, it’s the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rat that comes to the fore, with a dial that depicts a golden rat standing on an ear of corn, a symbol of abundance, and in front of a persimmon, a symbol of longevity, along with a bouquet of flowers that depict the three lucky colours of its zodiac sign – blue, gold and green.
Now I’ve always loved the combination of crafts that Chopard applies to their Zodiac watches since they have a refined aesthetic that really feels extremely difficult to create. Like the other Zodiac watches previously, Chopard makes use of the ancestral Japanese art of Urushi for the dial base and that of Maki-e, for the design elements of the dial.
It is a delicate and refined craft that can only be done by a few master craftsmen to the level seen on the dial and it basically consists of a lacquered dial base (Urushi) with gold, silver dust or ash sprinkled on (Maki-e) to create the picture.
The result is a mesmerising 3D effect that is a joy to look at, with the shimmering previous metal dust against the depths of the black lacquer.
Chopard called on long term collaborator, Master Minori Koizumi of Yamada Heiando Studio for this special dial. The design is first transferred to the lacquered dial based, and then the elements of the dial are painstakingly applied.
The L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rat is an 88-piece limited edition crafted in an 18k rose gold case and powered by an in-house ultra-thin movement, the L.U.C 96.17-L, which measures just 3.3mm thick and has a comfortable 65-hour power reserve. The case itself is 40 mm in diameter and 6.8 thickness, perfectly sized to fit the wrists of Asian customers, for whom the L.U.C XP Year of the Rat is naturally intended.