L-R: Vacheron Constantin, Swatch, Piaget
The last of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac is also the fifth most intelligent animal in the world. It gets its moment this year – intricately hand-lacquered or just super cute on a golden dial.
Here are five to break your piggy banks for, whether your budget is $125 or $32,000.
Swatch’s Gem of New Year watch features an auspiciously golden sunray dial, on which an inconspicuous outline of a pig is engraved. It also comes with a matching gold and red silicone strap, and for extra kitsch factor, a red pig-shaped holder that oinks when it’s opened. $125.
Every year, Swiss jeweller and watchmaker Chopard launches a new zodiac watch in its L.U.C XP Urushi collection of watches, paying tribute to the year’s representative zodiac sign. Limited to 88 pieces, 2019’s watch features the pig, which, like all its predecessors, is crafted with the traditional Japanese lacquer technique known as Urushi.
The whimsical, fairytale-like scene on the dial features a golden pig with a protruding stomach – a symbol of abundance and joviality, according to the brand – pottering around a colourful forest. $32,000.
3. Vacheron Constantin
Photo: Vacheron Constantin
Vacheron Constantin’s Metiers d’Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac – Year of the Pig is also part of a series of limited edition watches that launches just once a year.
Each timepiece has a dial that is hand-enameled by skilled artisans from the Swiss luxury watchmaker, on which sits a lifelike, engraved pig in either platinum or pink gold.
To ensure that the pig is always fully visible in all its glory, there are no hands on the dial – the hour, minutes, date, and day are instead displayed in four windows at the 10, two, four and eight o’clock positions of the dial respectively.
To celebrate Chinese New Year, Piaget first launched its own range of Altiplano timepieces inspired by Chinese astrology in 2012. This year’s ultra-thin Altiplano Year of the Pig watch features an grey-hued dial with a cloisonne “Grand Feu” enamel by artist Anita Porchet. The mechanical watch also has a 38mm white gold case set with brillant-cut diamonds, and an accompanying black alligator-skin strap.
Panerai’s tribute to the Year of the Pig, its new Luminor Sealand PAM00859: Year of the Pig, combines an age-old Italian technique with ancient Chinese beliefs.
Italian craftsmen use the ancient technique of “sparsello” to decorate the cover. It is an intricate process that involves engraving the steel, then inlaying layers of gold threads in the grooves, before the threads are beaten until they completely fill the grooves, forming the outlines of the pig and the decoration around it. Only the very skilled can perform this – as inlaying the threads of gold happens after the cover has already been engraved, the slightest error can damage all previous work done.
A version of this story first appeared in the February 2019 issue of Her World.