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Making a ‘Year of the Dog’ Dial

Well before the start of the Chinese New Year, several watch companies debuted new timepieces to celebrate 2018, the Year of the Dog. We have shown you several of these watches in previous posts and within the iW Weekly newsletter.

Breguet and Jaquet Droz have each weighed in with Year of the Dog dials, all with an emphasis on artisanal dials in symbolic celebration of 2018. Blancpain veers toward a more functional expression with its platinum-cased wristwatch equipped with the Traditional Chinese Calendar on a white grand feu enamel dial. Vacheron Constantin’s entry is found within its Metiers d’Art collection. The Classico Dog celebrates the year at Ulysse Nardin, while Piaget’s ultra-thin Altiplano Chinese Zodiac watch honors the occasion. Even Panerai has created a watch for the New Year, with the Luminor 1950 Sealand 3 Days Automatic Acciaio.

Chopard late last year also debuted its own Chinese New Year watch, the 39.5mm L.U.C XP Urushi –Year of the Dog in an 88-piece limited series. Price: $25,600.

The casebook view of Chopard's L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dog.

Inside Chopard's L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dog is this L.U.C 96.17-L caliber.

Chopard has also documented how its Urushi master and the master-watchmaker at Chopard Manufacture in Fleurier work together to create these artisanal pieces. Chopard explains that it decided to embody the canine aspect of the celebration through a representative of the Asian ‘Akita’ breed depicted in a lush natural setting dotted with wild orchids and enhanced by the fluttering presence of a dragonfly (an insect regarded as a lucky charm and a good omen.)

Chopard adds that it required several artisans to oversee the dial making process: Master Kiichiro Masumaro and Urushi Grand Master Minori Koizumi. For this collaboration, Chopard secured the services of the Yamada Heiando company, official purveyor to the Japanese imperial family.

Below Chopard’s photographs document the time-consuming Urushi dial-making process.

First, the dial is drawn.

Lacquer painting by Master Minori Koizumi begins.

The dial is smoothed and cleaned.

Gold powder is applied.

Gold powder is brushed.

The Mother-of-pearl elements are cut.

The final details are painted on the dial.

Master Minori Koizumi finalizes the dial.

A finished dial.

A closer view of the finished dial.

Urushi lacquer colors.

Master Minori Koizumi.

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