This year, a number of watch brands – they tend to be the same ones – pay tribute to the Chinese zodiac with watches dedicated to the animal of the year. They are generally given a métiers d’art treatment, and are often produced in limited series featuring the number 8 – a favourite number of the Chinese. 2018 is the Year of the Dog, the eleventh sign in the Chinese zodiac. Being born under the Sign of the Dog myself, and having two real-life examples at home, I was the obvious choice among the WorldTempus editorial team to draft this article, in which dogs feature almost more than watches.
The most obedient
Métiers d’Art La légende du zodiaque chinois année du chien © Vacheron Constantin
As a brand that has gone by what some consider a radical shift over the previous twenty years because Loth took the helm, many are wondering exactly what to expect next. These days, however, Loth affirms to us that Graham Watches has finally hit it’s stride, and also the important projects they’ve helped build during this time of growth, not only for the brand but for the global community, has generated a solid future which we will see develop through our younger generations. In reality, he thinks that we will return and realize that history was made now. As they say, watch what occurs next.Price for the Graham Chronofighter Oversize Navy SEAL Foundation featured in this report is $8,050, and it’s limited to 500 pieces, using some of each sale going to the Navy SEAL Foundation.Graham has just announced a new version of its Moon Watch, which includes an outsized moon phase indicator and flying tourbillon. It now comes in a 18k white gold case, using a dark sapphire bezel and a black dial decorated with diamonds — all delivered in a bid to make the beautiful and colossal Moon stand out on the dial even more.For this year, Graham is publishing a new variant of its Graham Geo.Graham The Moon Watch that’s comparable in most facets, but has an 18k white gold case and black dial instead. It’s hard to choose between them both, but I think this new black dial version catches the soul of the moon more fully and I particularly like how it contrasts against the diamonds which are set from the dial. To wrap it all up, this fresh Graham Geo.Graham The Moon Watch also has a dark Milky Way sapphire painted bezel.The fresh Graham Geo.Graham The Moon in white gold will probably include a matching black crocodile strap and is restricted to just 8 pieces, and will be priced at $295,000.
Vacheron Constantin’s dog, with its determined stare and alert posture, embodies loyalty and obedience. Hand-engraved to produce a highly realistic effect, the animal occupies the centre of the blue or bronze grand feu enamel dial decorated with foliage carved in relief to create an illusion of depth. The 40 mm Métiers d’Art La Légende du Zodiaque Chinois Année du Chien comes in red gold or platinum. It is fitted with the automatic manufacture movement 2460 G4, which displays dragging hours and minutes, days of the week and a jumping date, in four windows arranged around the dial.
The most loyal
Classico Dog © Ulysse Nardin
The only splash of color on the watch looks on the sapphire caseback, together with the white Foundation logo set against the red, white and blue of Old Glory. The black rubber band (with pin buckle made from black ceramic) has been fortified with carbon fiber and includes a relief Clous de Paris pattern more frequently seen on dials and motion elements of other high end watches. Beneath the colorful caseback is Graham’s automatic G1747 chronograph movement, with 25 jewels, a frequency of 28,800 vph, Incabloc shock absorber and 48-hour power reserve.The Graham Chronofighter Oversize Navy SEAL Foundation will retail for $8,050; Graham will contribute a percentage from the sale of each watch to the Navy SEAL Foundation. “The Navy SEAL motto, ‘the only simple day was yesterday,’ is a motto we at Graham live by,” states Eric Loth, Graham’s creator, “as we’re always trying to discover a means to make a much better watch and a much better world. We were drawn to the Navy SEAL Foundation because of their excellent work encouraging those who give so much to encourage others.” Says Robin King, CEO of the Navy SEAL Foundation: The Navy SEAL Foundation is humbled by GRAHAM’s generous commitment of support to the warriors and families of Naval Special Warfare through the creation and sale of this very beautiful limited-edition timepiece.” Scroll down to see some photos of this watch taken by WatchTime contributor Rob Velasquez at the launch event aboard the Intrepid.
Ulysse Nardin’s Husky, striking a similar pose to Vacheron Constantin’s hound, looks more like a family pet, with his attentive gaze and fluffy coat, against the backdrop of a Chinese landscape. The dial is in grand feu and champlevé enamel. This Classico Dog 40 mm in rose gold, produced in a limited series of 88, houses the COSC-certified automatic UN-815 movement.C.
The most sophisticated
Petite Heure Minute Chien © Jaquet Droz
Jaquet Droz has chosen the Pekinese, a lap dog which enjoyed almost sacred status in China’s imperial court, to represent the eleventh sign of the Chinese zodiac. The four Petite Heure Minute Chien and Petite Heure Minute Relief Chien timepieces are each produced in a limited run of 28. The first two rely upon miniature painting to create a naturalistic representation of the animal against a floral background, while the other two focus on relief engraving, and use semi-precious stones including cuprite and onyx, as well as mother-of-pearl. On the back, the oscillating weight of the Jaquet Droz 2653 calibre is decorated with another dog.
The most devoted
Chronofighter Vintage Nose Art Ltd Kelly © Graham
The white dog on the Chronofighter Vintage Nose Art Ltd Kelly by Graham, Kelly’s devoted companion, is somewhat sidelined by the pin-up dressed in a traditional Chinese dress, who casually ignores the begging canine. Its position between 3 and 4 o’clock is deliberate – these are the two lucky numbers (along with 9) of those born under the Sign of the Dog.
Classique 7145 Chow-Chow © Breguet
Breguet has chosen the most iconic Chinese breed for its Classique 7145 Chow-Chow, which features the favourite hunting dog of the emperors. The cuddly chow-chow, with its blue tongue, is engraved by Breguet’s artisans to one side of the delicate guilloché gold dial. The 40 mm white gold watch, just 8 of which will be produced, encloses the ultra-thin automatic Calibre 502.3, numbered and bearing the Breguet signature.
The most colourful
L.U.C XP Urishi Year of the Dog © Chopard
The Akita posing in the centre of the extra-flat L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dog by Chopard actually comes from Japan, as does urushi, the traditional lacquer technique used on the dial, which is made in Japan. The lacquer contains minuscule iridescent flecks, which lend a luminosity to the exquisitely delicate relief painting, bringing out the minutest details of the dog’s coat and the surrounding flowers. This 88-piece limited edition in rose gold is driven by the automatic L.U.C 96.17-L movement with twin barrels and an off-centre micro-rotor, providing a power reserve of 65 hours.
The most floral
Lately, Loth also believes, unlike so many today chasing the tech watch innovations, that it is once more the individual element – mankind’s metaphysical appreciation of artwork – that will make the watch business endure the test of time. While Graham would appear to be the perfect fit for the next high-tech “smart watch” with military purposes, Loth instead thinks that the value in cellular technology and watches aren’t always connected and that the real value of “wrist technologies” hasn’t yet been discovered. In an interesting sci-fi twist, he shows to us that he believes chip-implant mobile technology is going to probably be discovered and publicly available within the next 10 decades. My cash is on the engineer. Anyone know any great chip development stocks?Eric Loth tells me that the Graham watch customer is somebody who has grown from the first consumer stage of “wanting to have a watch to help them fit in with everybody else.” The Graham clients are in a stage of success in their personal and professional lives where they find the liberty to think for themselves and also don’t necessarily want to mix with their peers. He informs me that the Graham client is a customer who now appreciates being distinct and expressing themselves personally as such through their watches.
Luminor 1950 Sealand 3 Days Automatic Acciaio 44mm © Officine Panerai
Panerai’s dog might come as a surprise to anyone not familiar with the previous 9 pieces produced by the Italian watchmaker as a tribute to the Chinese horoscope. Here, realism is discarded in favour of Chinese symbolism, represented by cherry blossom. The polished steel cover protecting the dial of the Luminor 1950 Sealand 3 Days Automatic Acciaio 44 mm is hand-engraved using the ancient technique of sparsello, which involves carving channels into the base material, which are then filled with gold wire. This model, also in a run of 88, is driven by the automatic P.9000 movement, manufactured entirely in-house by Panerai.
The most discreet
Calendrier Chinois Traditionnel © Blancpain
You have to look quite hard to find the dog on the dial of Blancpain’s Calendrier Chinois Traditionnel in white gold, in a limited run of 50. It has been banished to the small window at 12 o’clock, which displays the zodiac sign of the current year. As its name suggests, in addition to hours, minutes and the Gregorian calendar we use in the West, this timepiece also supplies the main indications of the Chinese lunar-solar calendar, in which each month begins with the new moon. The automatic 3638 movement requires no fewer than 464 components to drive the various displays and manage the irregular calendar cycles. Another dog is pictured on the white gold rotor.