[dropcap size=small]T[/dropcap]he animal in the last position of the Chinese zodiac is also the last to come to mind when one thinks of glamour or sophistication. But in the hands of watchmakers gifted in metiers d’art, the pig motif manifests what its zodiac symbolises: prosperity and hard work.
The motif is obviously made to celebrate the Chinese New Year, but Jaquet Droz’s interpretations don’t deviate from its storybook style. The first is the Petite Heure Minute Pig, which showcases the art of miniature painting. The ripe wheat crop in the background represents abundance and prosperity, while the visible disinterest of the pig before it displays its calm and good sense. The men’s and women’s models each have 28 pieces available.
The Petite Heure Minute Relief Pig is more dramatic in style, with a relief engraved pig depicted in front of eight oak trees on an onyx dial. It is limited to 28 pieces for the red gold model, and eight pieces for the white gold model with diamond-set case and lugs.
Engraving is also applied in Vacheron Constantin’s Metiers D’Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac Year of the Pig. Instead of engraving in relief, the hand-engraved pig is applied to the centre of the dial. The delicate foliage decorating the watch face is inspired by Chinese iconography and is etched directly in the metal, giving the appearance of them floating over the dial. There are two references — one in platinum and the other in pink gold — and each is limited to 12 pieces.
Over at Chopard, the art of Japanese lacquering continues to thrive. Its latest L.U.C XP Urushi model shows off a golden pig with a protruding stomach (the symbols of abundance and joviality) appearing against a colourful forest background. All 88 dials were created by Urushi grand master Minori Koizumi of the Yamada Heiando company, under the watchful eye of Master Kiichiro Masamura, a Living National Treasure in Japan.