As the list of special-edition Chinese New Year luxury products gets longer, Swiss watch and jewelry company Chopard joins Vacheron Constantin in crafting a year of the horse watch to celebrate the January 31 holiday.
The watch is part of the brand’s prized Urushi series named for the Urushi method of lacquer art used on the watch, and follows a year of the snake edition that was unveiled last year. The timepiece is 39.5 mm in diameter and 6.8 mm thick with a black alligator leather strap. Chopard has chosen to present it in a black and Maki-e gold box featuring an auspicious octagonal shape.
Jewellery News Asia has a detailed description of the Urushi technique used to create the watch’s design:
Urushi is a long-established lacquering art. The varnish is derived from the sap of the Urushi tree, also called the “lacquer tree” or “Japanese varnish tree,” mainly found in Japan and China. Somewhat like rubber from the hevea brasiliensis tree, the resin can only be harvested once a year, and in very small quantities. Three to five years after it is collected, the resin is treated to transform it into an extremely resistant, honey-textured lacquer. It is applied in very thin successive layers, traditionally on everyday objects such as bowls or boxes.
Maki-e, a technique derived from the art of Urushi, consists of sprinkling the lacquered coating with metal powder – in this case gold – in order to accentuate its outlines. The gold dust is applied using bamboo tubes and small natural-hair brushes in order to trace extremely fine lines. This art requires a degree of skill and meticulous care such as only a few experienced Urushi specialists still master, according to Chopard.
In addition to gold dust, the design was also created using gold foil and mother-of-pearl. Although the price hasn’t been announced, the watch is expected to cost around $25,000.