Usher in this Lunar New Year with special-edition zodiac watches commemorating the Year of the Tiger.

TAG HEUER

Carrera Year of the Tiger Limited Edition

Courageous, confident, and adventurous are the qualities we associate with the Tiger, which heads the 2022 Chinese calendar. These attributes are also perfectly applicable to the TAG Heuer Carrera. To celebrate the Chinese New Year, TAG Heuer unveils its new limited-edition Carrera Year of the Tiger Edition, a fitting tribute to the history of one of its most iconic models.

The elegant dial on this piece marries a discreet, bluish and water-tone hue with the dark stripes so characteristic of a tiger’s fur. The lighter blue tiger stripes are made of horizontally brushed metal coated with blue PVD treatment while the darker stripes are made of painted textured metal. A blue tiger waiting to attack also adorns the sapphire crystal, which provides a view of the oscillating mass, and the case-back of this Carrera timepiece limited to 300 pieces is engraved “ONE OF 300”.

The dial makes several references to the fur coat of the animal kingdom’s largest feline. We see this in the 18k rose gold plated used for the indexes, the three hands (hours, minutes and seconds) and the day and date apertures, not to mention the TAG Heuer logo at 12 o’clock. These same colours appear on the elegant blue calfskin strap, featuring a delicately stitched double gold colour border.

Limited to 1,300 pieces, the watch comes in a 41mm steel case and is sold in a blue lacquered box, which features the same blue tiger-stripe design as the dial of the watch.

SWATCH

Big Bold Tiger Power 2022

Swatch knows how to transform a wristwatch into something special, and the Tiger Power 2022 is no exception. The brand’s latest Chinese New Year Special is rich in symbolism and style that even those not born in the Year of the Tiger will want to flex the watch on their wrist. The Tiger is the third of the 12-year cycle of animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac. People born in the Year of the Tiger are known for possessing traits such as power, strength, and bravery. They are charming, natural leaders and have a strong sense of justice and adventure, not to mention a rebellious streak.

The BIG BOLD’s color combination not only looks good but means good, too. The gold-toned dial with Tiger head graphic symbolizes prosperity, while the red, featured on the stopper, loops and hands, is associated with joy, luck, vitality and happiness. The black of the bio-sourced strap and BIOCERAMIC case and bezel represents immortality, knowledge, stability, and power. The case measures 47 mm and provides plenty of room for the striking and shiny tiger head graphic, created using a metalized microstructure 3D printing technique.

 

Swatch infuses the watch with meaningful details. “Year of the Tiger” is written on the bezel and the Chinese translation 虎年 is printed onto the inner strap. The striking black, gold, and red packaging, complete with the intricate Tiger illustration, also warrants a special mention.

JAEGER-LECOULTRE

Reverso Tribute Enamel “Tiger”

When the Reverso was created in 1931, its signature swivelling case was an ingenious functional solution to the problem of protecting the dial and glass of the watch when worn on the polo field. It quickly became apparent that the blank metal of the case-back was an ideal canvas for artistic expression, lending itself naturally to decoration with engraving, enamel and other crafts.

In 2022, nine decades after the Reverso was born, Jaeger-LeCoultre presents the latest episode in this story: the Reverso Tribute Enamel “Tiger” – a remarkable expression of the Manufacture’s craftsmanship and creativity. Created to coincide with Chinese New Year, the new timepiece pays tribute to the Year of the Tiger.

Swivelling the watch case to its reverse side reveals a magnificent tiger. Engraved into the pink gold case metal, it seems to leap out from its background of black opaque Grand Feu enamel, the polished surface of the tiger’s coat and the contrasting rhodium-brushed texture of its stripes catching and refracting the light to create the illusion of movement and power.

To maximise the sense of volume and bring depth to the engraving, the artisan engraver used a technique called modelled engraving, using differently sized chisels to sculpt the metal step by step – a precise and exacting task that requires absolute focus and remarkable dexterity. Adding to the challenge of creating this interpretation of the Reverso Tribute Enamel, the engraver’s work began not, as is usual, with a bare metal surface but with one that already had its coat of Grand Feu enamel. An unprecedented accuracy of gesture is necessary in order to avoid all risk of damage to the pristine enamel, and the engraver devoted 55 working hours to the creation of this masterpiece.

The dial of the Reverso Tribute Enamel features the same opaque black Grand Feu enamel as the case-back. The elegant simplicity of the Reverso Tribute dial, with its faceted appliqué hour-markers, chemin de fer minutes track, and Dauphine hands – in this case, perfectly matched to the pink gold of the case – places full value on the subtle beauty of the glowing black background.

The apparent simplicity of the pure black enamel is deceptive because in Grand Feu enamelling, the outcome of the firing process is never entirely predictable. Building up the enamel layers to create a black of such depth and richness, with each new layer followed by firing, the enamelling of the two surfaces of the Reverso Tribute Enamel “Tiger” required no less than 20 working hours. Jaeger-LeCoultre remains one of very few watch Manufactures to have its own in-house enamelling atelier, safeguarding and advancing this ancient craft.

FRANCK MULLER

Vanguard Gravity Tiger

Franck Muller has mastered all of the finest complications in haute horlogerie, but it is best known for its mastery of the tourbillon. It was one of the first watchmakers to house the tourbillon on the front of the movement and dial, allowing watch owners to admire the rotating escapement freely. It was also the first watchmaker to develop a triple-axis tourbillon on the wristwatch.

The Vanguard Gravity is another example of a unique tourbillon design by Franck Muller. This oversized tourbillon has an elliptical carriage, with the bridges and pillars of the tourbillon that are arched in convex and concave forms, echoing the design of the case and dial and bringing a distinct three-dimensional appeal to the watch. It’s also one of the lightest tourbillons around, thanks to its anodised aluminium tourbillon cage which enhances the precision of the watch.

Now, the watchmaker has further embellished the Vanguard Gravity to commemorate the Year of the Tiger, with a hand-sculpted, life-like tiger leaping over the Gravity tourbillon, amidst a background of glittering gemstones that sparkle like stars in the sky. The Vanguard Gravity Tiger features a hand-sculpted, hand-lacquered tiger that leaps over the tourbillon carriage on the dial, placed on a dial and case that’s set with exquisite gemstones of the highest quality.

The reference comes in three variations: in 18k rose or white gold, set with a total of 643 brilliant-cut diamonds on the dial and case; or in an 18k white gold case with black PVD coating, set with 465 brilliant-cut black diamonds on the case, and 63 green diamonds coupled with 48 brilliant-cut black diamonds on the dial. Each is paired with a matching leather strap with diamond-set buckles and limited to just three pieces, exclusively available at Franck Muller boutiques and retailers.

The tiger sculpture that sits on each dial is made entirely in-house at the brand’s manufacture in Les Bois. A master of miniature sculpting crafts the incredibly life-like cat, which is then struck on a thin piece of brass. The sculpture is then shot-blasted to smoothen out the surface, then hand-painted with lacquer, layer by layer, to create the exact shades of colour on the beautiful feline. A total of 36 layers of tinted, translucent lacquer are applied to bring the Asian tiger to life, with 10 layers just for the eyes alone.

ARNOLD & SON

“Year of the Tiger” Perpetual Moon

The Year of the Tiger starts on Tuesday 1 February 2022. It is particularly auspicious. The tiger’s courage and power are tempered by the element of water. The year is set fair to be full of enthusiasm, surprises and dynamism. The animal featured on the dial of the “Year of the Tiger” Perpetual Moon is therefore standing on a riverbank, ready to welcome in a new world.

On the canvas offered by the dial of this exceptional piece, Arnold & Son has accommodated a large moon. In a wide window a turning disc reveals the waxing and waning of the celestial body, the appearance of the crescent moon and its light. For this moon is crafted from mother-of-pearl enhanced with Super-LumiNova, and its relief is painted. In daylight it is grey, almost white. In the dark it lights up from the interior and takes on a new aspect, brimming with gleaming detail. This is complemented by all the aquatic details on the dial, also hand-painted with luminous pigments. In the background, the disc bearing the star is made of a deep black aventurine glass.

The centrepiece of this dial is, however, the tiger itself. Sculptured in three dimensions, it is crafted from 18k rose gold. Its expression, its pose and the details of its fur are hand-engraved and burnished. This meticulous, high-calibre work is a testimony to Arnold & Son’s exceptional attention to detail in their limited editions paying tribute to the Chinese zodiac.

The same holds true for the dial. A decoration depicting bamboo is painted in gold powder on the hematite disc with glittering inclusions. To round off this dazzling scene, the “Year of the Tiger” Perpetual Moon is mounted on a glistening black alligator strap backed with red alligator leather and stitched with platinum thread.

Last but not least, the moon-phase display of this movement will remain accurate for 122 years before deviating from the actual lunar cycle by one day. The “Year of the Tiger” Perpetual Moon is thus part of an astronomical, astrological cycle; a perspective of eternity.

Check out Part 1 of the story below:

written by.
KC Yap
Editor, Augustman Malaysia

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