Serpentine Overtures To Key Luxury Market
After last year’s “year of the dragon” edition extravaganza, which saw everything from espresso machines to watches, slippers to sports cars (and everything in between) imprinted with the mythical creature, we thought that 2013 — the year of the snake — would herald a few less over-the-top overtures to the China market. But from the looks of the rollouts we’ve seen thus far, what could be lost in quantity this year might be gained in flash.
Without further ado, here are some of the “year of the snake” editions that have caught our eye so far:
Vacheron Constantin Métiers d‘Art – The Legend of the Zodiac 2013
Perhaps unsurprisingly — considering what we saw last year — it’s a no-brainer that we’ll see several limited editions in 2013 by major luxury watchmakers. Last year, we’d say the competition for most over-the-top “year of the dragon” edition was a three-way tie between Piaget, Glashutte Original and Blancpain, but this year Vacheron Constantin has brought out the big guns early with its “Legend of the Zodiac 2013” series.
Comprising all 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac — starting with the snake — the edition includes pairs of timepieces, crafted in enamel and engraved pink gold or platinum and available exclusively at Vacheron Constantin monobrand boutiques. According to the watchmaker, creating this series is highly time-intensive, with the snake engraving itself requiring at least 30 hours of painstaking work by artisans. Price TBD, but we can expect this to be a situation in which the phrase “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” applies.
Dartz Motorz SS (Snake Skin) Bentley GT
As luxury watchmakers create highly ornate limited edition timepieces with the craftsmanship-minded Chinese buyer in mind, automakers and — in this case, auto customizers — continue to make localized cars with the “taste-impaired coal boss” in mind. Following up last year’s absurdly extravagant $7 million “Black Dragon” SUV, Latvia-based customizer Dartz recently re-rolled out it suitably named Bentley SS — a snakeskin-covered GT originally announced back in 2010 for release in early 2013.
Swathed, inside and out, in farmed snakeskin (or a vinyl substitute, for more animal-friendly coal bosses), the Dartz customization job adds an additional $13,000 to the Bentley GT’s nearly $200,000 price tag.
Surprisingly enough, snakeskin isn’t the most ridiculous material Dartz has planned to use to customize a vehicle. Back in 2009, the company became the target of worldwide laughter/scorn for its abortive idea to use whale penis leather for the interior of its Pombron Monaco Red Diamond Edition SUV.
Cross “Year of the Snake” Pen Collection
Featuring an etched serpent in hand-polished blue or high-gloss black lacquer, the Cross “Year of the Snake” pen — available in fountain, ballpoint and rollerball — is only the first of several localized high-end writing instruments we expect to see in the months ahead. Price: US$450.
Chow Sang Sang Year of the Snake Gold Collection
Inspired by traditional Chinese paper-cuts, Hong Kong-based jeweler Chow Sang Sang (previously on Jing Daily) recently released its “year of the snake” gold bar collection, available in 10 gram, 20 gram, 50 gram and 100 gram weights.
Moleskine x Shanghai Tang Year of the Snake Notebook
Imprinted with a snakeskin pattern, Moleskine’s “year of the snake” notebook series — developed in collaboration with Shanghai Tang — includes a hardcover journal and three softback notebooks. Available in an understated navy, as well as Shanghai Tang’s trademark vivid lime and fuchsia, the series stands out for its weekly planners, which incorporate horoscopes, auspicious dates, and motivational tips from Shanghai Tang’s go-to feng shui expert, Koon Zhi Zheng. Available now.
Adidas Superstar “Chinese New Year”
As always, athletic brands are among the first to come out of the gates with commemorative snake-covered editions. Available in in grey or red snakeskin colorways with black accents and laces and a white sole, the collection will hit the streets next spring.
New Balance 574 “Year of the Snake”
Following up last year’s ML574 “Year of the Dragon” Edition, the New Balance 574 “Year of the Snake” celebrates 2013 with a multi-colored navy upper, black snakeskin accents on the collar, and serpentine laces and gum outsoles. Available in December.