21 Jan 2023
A work of gold and lacquer, mechanics and craftsmanship, the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rabbit timepiece celebrates the advent of the year of the water rabbit through an original 88-piece series inspired by the Chinese zodiac calendar. The 39.5 mm-diameter case in ethical 18-carat rose gold frames a dial portraying the rabbit – a cautious and alert animal – and its relationship with the moon. Its dial graced with Urushi lacquer, gold powder and mother-of-pearl inlays is made by a Japanese artisan drawing on centuries of expertise. It brings a sense of both symbolism and prosperity to this coveted edition. Finally, its L.U.C 96.17-L in-house movement endowed with a 65-hour power reserve testifies to the watchmaking expertise of Chopard Manufacture’s skilled artisans.
The Chinese year that will begin on January 21st 2023 is that of the Water Rabbit. In keeping with a longstanding tradition, Chopard annually produces a series dedicated to the Chinese zodiac sign of the current year. The unchanging characteristics of this creation – that is always eagerly awaited by collectors – includes a limited 88-piece production run; an extremely slender L.U.C XP case in ethical rose gold and an ultra-thin L.U.C Calibre 96.17-L with automatic winding via a micro-rotor. Finally, the dial is crafted each year in Japan by a world-renowned artisan specialising in the Maki-e technique. The variations of each edition stem from the interpretation and symbolism attached to the zodiac sign that Chopard portrays on this dial from year to year.
As the Chinese New Year approaches, Chopard is proposing a theme subtly linked to the zodiac symbolism of the rabbit. In the foundational legends of the zh?nx?ngshù system, the rabbit inhabits a jade moon to which it keeps company. It represents prudence and agility. In combination with the element (water) that characterises the year of the water rabbit, it heralds longevity, peace and prosperity.
The Japanese master lacquerers called upon by Chopard have accordingly created a dial on which two rabbits – one grey and the other red – frolic under a full moon in a landscape dotted with Chinese olive trees – a fragrant Asian native shrub symbolising success and achievement, qualities often associated with the rabbit. The scene unites the animal’s essential symbolic elements while suggesting its energy, intelligence and alertness. Finally, the pair’s sharp eyes and pricked ears remind us that the rabbit is always on the alert.
Faithful to tradition and the preservation of craftsmanship, Chopard works with the finest Japanese artisans specialised in the traditional Maki-e lacquering technique. The 88 iterations intended for the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rabbit are produced by the workshops of the century-old company Yamada Heiando and crafted by master artist Minori Koizumi, a meticulous task requiring no less than 160 hours of work.
In accordance with this refined ancestral technique, gold flakes – placed between layers of lacquer made from the sap of the Toxicodendron vernicifluum tree – light up the background. The artisan’s attention was focused on each detail of the little scene so as to reveal its realism and lyrical beauty.
The case of the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rabbit timepiece is entirely sculpted from a block of 18-carat rose gold, sourced from an ethical supply chain pioneered by Chopard. It measures 39.5 mm in diameter and its slim bezel ensures a broad dial opening. In addition to its graceful design and refined ornamental execution, the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rabbit is also an ultra-thin timepiece that is a mere 6.80 mm thick.
This thinness is made possible by the use of the 3.30 mm-thick in-house L.U.C 96.17-L self-winding movement equipped with an off-centred 22-carat gold micro-rotor incorporated into the overall thickness of the calibre. Its strong inertia ensures efficient winding of the two barrels, which are stacked according to Chopard Twin technology and store the energy required for the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rabbit to offer a total 65-hour power reserve. Once off the wrist, it will remain on time and accurate for more than two and a half days, neatly corresponding to a long weekend.
The L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rabbit is part of a continuing story that began when, under Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s leadership, Chopard established the L.U.C collection, devoted to the art and traditions of fine watchmaking. The first watch in the line, the L.U.C 1860, was introduced in 1997. The collection has expanded over the years, consistently offering exquisite, often highly original complications in watches devised, developed, produced, assembled, decorated and certified according to the finest traditions of Swiss watchmaking in Chopard’s Fleurier and Geneva watchmaking workshops. The audacious L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rabbit marks the next chapter in this enchanting tale, simultaneously demonstrating Chopard’s undimmed capacity for reinvention and surprise. This 88-piece timepiece is a rare and playful interpretation of Chopard’s watchmaking and design codes that is ideal for collectors.