If there’s anything the world needs more of as we bid adieu to the past three pandemic-ridden years, it’s good vibes. That’s reason enough for us to believe astrologers who say the rabbit is the luckiest of the 12 creatures in the Chinese zodiac. To celebrate the upcoming Year of the Rabbit, which kicks off on Jan 22, several fine watch brands have created artistic timepieces bearing varying bunny motifs.
With its Classique 9075 “2023 Chinese New Year” edition, Breguet gives us not just one, but six, of the floppy-eared animals. In a multilayered tableau created using a mix of engraving and enamelling techniques, the half-dozen white rabbits are depicted frolicking amid the clouds around a garden setting. Viewing the dial through a microscope, the engraver used precise tools to chisel highly dimensional images in a small space. With enamelling, it is essential to understand how colours change as the enamel is repeatedly applied and fired at high temperatures of around 800 deg C.
Powered by the self-winding calibre 591C, the timepiece is housed in a 33.5-mm white gold case. Only eight pieces will be made. Best hop to it.
The first IWC Portugieser wristwatch was delivered in 1939, a Rabbit year. Some eight decades later, the minimalist timepiece serves as the model for an edition celebrating the Year of the Rabbit. In a subtler take on the zodiac watch, the bunny is found on the back of the 40-mm watch, with the gold- plated rotor taking the creature’s form. A rich burgundy tone gives the dial an auspicious yet tasteful appearance.
For Piaget’s hand-wound Chinese New Year timepiece, master enamel artist Anita Porchet used grand feu cloisonné enamel to create an image of two adorable, watchful rabbits. With cloisonné enamelling, thin gold wires are used to create outlines filled with enamel and fired repeatedly at high temperatures. The 38-piece limited edition comes in a 38-mm white gold case set with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds.
Each year, Blancpain releases a new version of its 45mm Traditional Chinese Calendar timepiece, which has one key difference from its predecessors — the zodiac animal is engraved on the rotor. This year, a pair of rabbits decorate the oscillating weight, which is also set with a Madagascar ruby. The platinum timepiece is distinguished by its Chinese lunisolar calendar displays, set against a white grand feu enamel dial. At 12 o’clock, a window displays the animals of the Chinese zodiac.
Those who identify with speedy hares can keep track of their elapsed times with Tag Heuer’s commemorative Carrera Chronograph. With an automatic Calibre Heuer 02 movement, the 44-mm steel watch has a new black dial with wavy lines representing rabbit fur. The hour indexes and hands are plated with gold and lacquered red, adding to the festive feel. The finishing touch is a cheerful red rabbit printed on the sapphire caseback.
Red and gold bring even more auspicious vibes to the luckiest creature in the Chinese zodiac in Chopard’s festive Happy Sport timepiece. Here, the transferred golden outline of a rabbit has been placed on a red-gradient, mother-of-pearl dial, which is further enhanced by transferred waves. Adding an even greater sense of movement to this 33mm steel, self-winding watch are the five dancing diamonds on the dial.
Chopard’s L.U.C XP Chinese zodiac timepieces are always delightful works of art, and this year’s iteration is no exception. Available as an 88-piece limited edition, the 39.5mm rose gold watch features a tableau of two frolicking rabbits. Each dial is crafted by maki-e master artisan Minori Koizumi, using Urushi lacquer, gold powder and mother-of-pearl inlays. Each of these slim, self-winding timepieces is just 6.8mm thick.
The traditional Chinese art of paper-cutting, or jianzhi, inspires the botanical background of Vacheron Constantin’s ongoing Chinese zodiac series. For the Year of the Rabbit, the brand releases two self-winding timepieces, one in platinum with a blue dial and one in pink gold with a brown dial (pictured). Each version is available in a limited series of nine pieces. The 40mm timepiece features a bright-eyed rabbit that has been hand-engraved and applied, and is crafted from platinum or pink gold to match the case.
Now, here’s a Year of the Rabbit timepiece we weren’t expecting. Made by Franck Muller in collaboration with Japanese streetwear brand Fxxking Rabbits (aka #FR2), the #FR2NCK MULLER Vanguard is a playful and fresh take on the festive timepiece. It features #FR2’s signature motif — a pair of randy rabbits — on its dial, as well as a clean black and white palette.
Measuring 49.95 x 41 x 12.2mm, the case is made of a new carbon and glass-fibre composite. The watch is limited to 800 pieces, and is only available in South-east Asia and Australia.
This article was first published in The Peak.