Among the animals of the Chinese Zodiac, there are some that are humbler than others. The Year of the Ox in 2021 is a good example of an animal that’s understated but linked to the positive attributes of hard work, positivity, and honesty. Now, we are preparing to welcome the return of one of the more striking animals – the tiger – whose year will begin on February 1, 2022. Those born in a tiger year can be charismatic and ambitious leaders, but they can also be short-tempered. Perhaps you can pinpoint one such person in your life! Soon we will share a gallery of tiger inspired jewels that celebrate Chinese New Year, here, but for now, let’s review some wonderful new watches that use the tiger as a creative starting point.
Breguet 7145 Classique Year of the Tiger
The detailed dial of this watch was formed using a combination of bas-relief engraving and guilloche, requiring an entire week’s worth of carving and decorating time from Breguet’s craftsmen. Parts of the tiger are coloured using a black galvanic treatment to make the contours appear sharper and more defined. It’s finished in 18k rose gold and set atop an ultra-thin movement, suspended from an alligator leather strap.
Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Tiger
Chopard is once again celebrating the Chinese New Year with a series of 88 watches hand-decorated using the ancient Asian technique of Urushi lacquer sprinkled with gold dust. The traditional aesthetic of the dial has been created by master lacquer artist Minori Koizumi of the Yamada Heiando Imperial lacquerware workshops, coupled with a slimline 18k rose gold case and a blue alligator leather strap.
Dior Grand Soir TigerThe Dior Grand Soir collection has unveiled this feminine and feline new timepiece just in time for Chinese New Year. The stainless steel, pink gold and diamond-set case houses a decorative dial, adorned with a tiger’s head atop a layer of white and golden feathers. The dial is also decorated with marquise and trillion-cut diamonds. For the finishing touch, Dior offers this limited-edition watch with a choice of a beige silk taffeta or black satin strap.
Graff GyroGraff Endangered Species TigerUsing a métiers d’art Graff has christened ‘diamond-marquetry’, this tiger themed timepiece is comprised of 127 diamonds, custom-cut to fit the slightly abstract design, alongside 35 cognac hued sapphires. In total, the piece contains 12.90 carats of diamonds and 1.60 carats of sapphires, including a geometric diamond-set bezel. The GyroGraff signature double-axis tourbillon, a spherical moon phase complication and a power reserve indicator at 1 o’clock are all visible on the futuristic-looking dial too.
Harry Winston Premier Chinese New Year Automatic 36mmIn a twist on traditional depictions of the tiger, Harry Winston has designed a new timepiece with cartoon-inspired tiger cubs playfully wreaking havoc on a watch dial. Each tiger is crafted in 18k rose gold with stripes rendered by filling cut-out areas with red beaded mother of pearl. The scene is housed in an 18k rose gold case, set with 57 round brilliant-cut, and accented with a vibrant red alligator leather strap. This watch is limited to just eight pieces – the luckiest number in Chinese numerology.
Piaget Altiplano Year of the TigerThis new métiers d’art creation by Piaget features grand feu and cloisonné enamelling by renowned craftswoman, Anita Porchet. Limited to 38 pieces, this new Altiplano is remarkably sleek and monochromatic, with only hints of yellow, red, pink and blue to add extra detail to a snarling tiger on the dial. The Maison’s ultra-thin manual-winding movement is housed in a 38mm 18k white gold case decorated with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds and worn on a black alligator leather strap.
Ulysse Nardin The Classico Tiger
Crafted using champlevé and paillonné enamel techniques, the dial of the Ulysse Nardin Classico timepiece perfectly contrast the warm tones of 18k gold with a night sky in hues of royal blue. The piece, which features a more traditional depiction of this year’s Zodiac animal, is limited to 88 pieces and incorporates the house’s self-winding UN-815 movement with a 42-hour power reserve.
Vacheron Constantin Métiers d'Art Year of the Tiger
In what is now a recognisable style for the master watchmaker, this homage to the Year of the Tiger follows in the design aesthetic of the wider “Métiers d’Art The legend of the Chinese zodiac” collection. Two options are available – platinum with a blue dial or pink gold with a bronze-toned dial – decorated with grand feu enamel and a hand-engraved tiger. Both versions are limited to just 12 pieces and contain the house’s automatic calibre 2460 G4 movement.
Interpreting the animals of the Chinese Zodiac into miniaturised works of art is a creative avenue that many brands walk down. Through the subtle and not-so-subtle variations in techniques, ideas and finishes, we can begin to see the distinctive aesthetics of each brand while celebrating the start of the Chinese New Year in style.