Timepieces An auspicious year

February 16 marks the start of the Chinese New Year. In honor of this millennia-old culture, several watch brands have issued models inspired by the Chinese zodiac sign associated with the coming year – the dog.


Based in Brassus, a small village in the Joux Valley of the Swiss Jura, Blancpain is a watchmaker that specializes in timepieces for people who want an original take on time. To get the Year of the Dog off to a good start, the brand has released a new Blancpain Traditional Chinese Calendar.

Sporting a 45-mm diameter platinum case fitted with a self-winding Calibre 3638, its sophisticated mechanism shows the time according to the Gregorian calendar, indicates the 10 celestial stems, and follows variations in the traditional Chinese calendar, which is lunisolar and varies over the decades – the reason why there is no fixed date for the Chinese New Year.

20, place Vendôme, 1st. Tel. 01 42 92 08 88.


Each year, Chopard draws inspiration from Chinese astrology by adding to its collection of watches with Urushi lacquer dials, made using an age-old Japanese technique. This year, the L.U.C. XP Urushi Year of the Dog is a masterly interpretation of the eleventh sign of the Chinese zodiac, a symbol of generosity and loyalty.

Painstakingly produced by a master lacquer-maker, this awesome piece has a self-winding L.U.C 96-17-L manufacture caliber visible through a transparent case back that echoes the design of this 88-piece limited series, to convey a message only understood by those who recognize the symbolism of the qualities associated with this animal…

1, place Vendôme, 1st. Tel. 01 55 35 20 10. 72, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 8th. Tel. 01 42 66 67 30. Printemps du Carrousel du Louvre. 99, rue de Rivoli, 1st.


In keeping with its image as a traditional watchmaker, Breguet was never going to pass up an opportunity to produce a timepiece for an event as festive as Chinese New Year.

Inspired by the Year of the Dog, the company’s craftsmen have given pride of place to engraving and guilloché work, the brand’s hallmark, on this model etched with a chow – one of the most popular dogs in China – on the dial. A work of art, the watch Classique 7145 in white gold with a 40-mm case, issued in a very limited edition of eight numbered models, is fitted with a sophisticated extra-slim self-winding manufacture caliber.

6, place Vendôme, 1st. Tél. 01 47 03 65 00.

Vacheron Constantin

Vacheron Constantin has formed a very special relationship with China, which is once again the inspiration of one of its designs. Part of an on-going conversation with admirers of beautiful high-end timepieces and Eastern art, to mark the Year of the Dog, the Geneva-based watchmaker recently added to its Métiers d’Art, the Legend of the Chinese Zodiac collection. Issued in ultra-limited editions of twelve, one in platinum, another in pink gold, with a 40-mm diameter case, this year’s model is graced with expert designs executed by master engravers and enamellers. Combining a 3D effect with Grand Feu enameling, these timepieces fitted with the celebrated self-winding 2460G4 caliber and stamped with the hallmark of Geneva-certified timepieces, sport a floral dial that leaves the center free to express its timely charms.

2, rue de la Paix, 2nd. Tel. 01 40 20 17 55. Galeries Lafayette. 40, boulevard Haussmann, 9st. Tel. 01 42 80 64 19.


Panerai has added a new model to its watch range, in a limited edition of 88, to celebrate the start of the Year of the Dog. The Luminor 1950 Sealand 3 Days Automatic Acciaio 44mm is fitted with a spring-hinged metal cover reminiscent of the pocket watches of old, and decorated by master engravers using a traditional technique called Sparsello. This new self-winding timepiece is the tenth model in a series launched in 2009 by Officine Panerai in honor of the Chinese horoscope. This deftly crafted piece, decorated with a dog – a loyal and honest companion – and a plum tree blossom – a symbol of harmony and longevity – is sure to please watch enthusiasts and collectors alike.

3-5, rue de la Paix, 2nd. Tel. 01 70 75 30 01.
5, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 8st. Tel. 01 70 70 03 37.

Jaquet Droz

Jaquet Droz made its first contact with the Middle Kingdom in the 18th century, during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. To celebrate this historic relationship, and its ability to grasp the subtleties of this millennia-old country’s mythology and culture, the watchmaker, whose logo is the twinning of two stars, has released Petite Heure Minute Relief Chien to mark the start of the Year of the Dog on February 16. Inspired by this member of the Chinese zodiac, the manufacture’s craftsmen have created a dial with a Chinese-style miniature relief decoration for a self-winding, 39-mm diameter watch in red gold issued in a limited edition of 28, and dedicated to this animal – Pekingese in this case – associated with passion, tradition and honesty.

8, rue de la Paix, 2nd. Tel. 01 55 04 75 20.

By Vincent Daveau. - Published the

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