Chopard once again honours Asian traditions, as the ancestral Japanese art of Urushi is enlisted in creating an L.U.C XP inspired by the “Year of the Goat” theme.
The most artistic of the Chinese zodiac signs provides an ideal subject for a refined dial, the face of a watch driven by an ultra-thin L.U.C movement.
The quintessence of Urushi, the ancestral Japanese lacquerwork, combines with the ultimate degree of Swiss horological refinement om giving rise to the new L.U.C XP Urushi “Year of the Goat”. Chopard has now established a tradition of celebrating each new cycle of the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Wood Goat begins on February 19th 2015 and will end on February 7th 2016.
Art and serenity
The dial of this new Zodiac watch is entirely crafted by hand. It places Asia in the limelight by using the traditional Japanese lacquer technique, Urushi. The scene depicts a serene goat, viewed from the side. Portrayed on a bed of flowers beneath colourful stylised clouds, it inspires a sense of merriment and tranquillity. As traditionally represented in the Chinese zodiac, the goat is a peaceful creature, even if it cannot bear injustice, which it is always keen to oppose. Endowed with a creative rather than a belligerent personality, it draws upon art to assert its point of view. Easy-going and generous by nature, it is the bearer of soothing virtues and heralds a sense of harmony associated with values relating to the land and to family.
An ancestral Japanese pictorial art
It is the sap of the Urushi tree, known as the “lacquer” or “Japanese varnish” tree and found in Japan and China, that secretes the varnish which gave rise to this ancestral form of lacquerwork. Its resin is harvested once a year in extremely small quantities. Only after three to five years and a specific treatment will this resin become a highly resistant lacquer with a honey-like consistency.
Maki-e, a technique stemming from the art of Urushi, consists of sprinkling the lacquer with gold dust in order to create or accentuate a motif. The precious dust, applied using bamboo tubes or tiny natural bristle brushes, traces exquisitely fine lines. This art requires a skill and a degree of meticulous care acquired only by a handful of Urushi Masters after years of assiduous practice.
Exceptional watchmaking expertise
A work of art such this dial could not be better served than by the refinement of the L.U.C XP, a discreetly elegant ultra-thin timepiece measuring 39.5 mm in diameter and a mere 6.8 mm thick. It is an eloquent symbol of Chopard’s horological mastery. Chopard Manufacture is one of the rare movement makers capable of producing a mechanical self-winding calibre equipped with twin barrels ensuring a 65-hour power reserve. The watchmakers of the Manufacture in Fleurier have achieved this feat by means of an off-centred micro-rotor. The latter, instead of topping the movement in order to rewind it, is integrated into its overall thickness so as to keep the ensemble slim and ensure smooth and practical winding.
Entirely hand-decorated by the artisans of the Manufacture Chopard in accordance with the craftsmanship traditions of fine watchmaking, L.U.C Calibre 96.17-L may be admired through the transparent sapphire case-back. The case comes in a choice of 18-carat rose gold or white gold. Fitted with a black alligator leather strap, the L.U.C XP Urushi “Year of the Goat” is delivered in a special presentation box, also decorated according to Urushi techniques. Black on the outside and adorned with Maki-e on the inside, it is shaped like an octagon, the oriental symbol of joyfulness.
Chopard’s in-house approach to watch manufacturing
Chopard is a family business with a strongly ingrained philosophy of independence. The steps involved in making L.U.C watches are all performed in-house at the group’s Meyrin production sites. Movement development, gold casting, finished product design, stamping and machining of the cases, movement components and metal bracelets, traditional hand-crafted decorations, surface treatments, polishing, assembly, quality control: such is the comprehensive range of watch product operations fully mastered by Chopard and involved in the making of each L.U.C watch.