Richard S. Cunanan

Faithful Forever

Chopard’s L.U.C line has made a watch paying tribute to the Year of the Dog, and it’s a stunning piece of art. So no, they’re not just throwing them a bone.

Chopard habitually gives a lot of love to diamonds, which are said to be a girl’s best friend. Now, they give recognition to the best friend of a man. The L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dog watch is a beautifully crafted tribute to the creature who always stands by us.

It’s part of Chopard’s artistic recreation of the Chinese Astrological Cycle, which denotes the upcoming year as that of the Dog. In Chinese Astrology, Dogs (and therefore, people born in the year of the Dog) are faithful, sensitive and eager for justice. Those are good qualities. Dogs devote all their strength to serving others, but do not impinge on their freedom. They are committed, serious, and devoted for life.

To embody these qualities, Chopard has selected the Akita breed of dog to be pictured on the dial. This calls to mind of course the famous Japanese dog Hachikō, the extremely loyal dog who waited for his master at the train station for nine years. Hachikō had always met his master as he returned from work. However, one day his master passed away giving a lecture at the university. Hachikō waited on regardless, faithful until his own death nine years later.

It would take a heart of stone to be unmoved by this loyalty, and the Chopard watch chose correctly when they selected the Akita breed to embody the qualities of a dog that we value so highly.

The calendar used may be Chinese, but Chopard is using the ancient Japanese technique of Urushi to render to Fido that which is Fido’s.

“This calls to mind of course the famous Japanese dog Hachikō, the extremely loyal dog who waited for his master at the train station”

Urushi is an extremely patient art. It’s a lacquer technique, and it uses a particular resin from a particular tree. That resin can only be collected in very small quantities, once a year, and then it has to sit and age for three to five years before it is treated into lacquer. When it is finally complete, the lacquer has within it tiny glittering flecks that give it depth and a luminosity. Chopard is utilizing the services of Master Kiichiro Masumaro to oversee the dial creation. He is considered in Japan as a “national human treasure.” The dials were created by Urushi Grand Master Minori Koizumi. The amount of time, patience and artistry that is going into the creation of these watches is truly impressive. Fortunately, the interior watchworks are equally worthy, the L.U.C 96.17-L self-winding mechanical movement, beautifully rendered and decorated. Just like the heart of a dog, it is loyal and reliable in equal measure.

Chopard is choosing from among the rarest materials, using the most painstaking of techniques, and requesting the craftsmanship and artistry of the very finest masters to pay tribute to this warmest of animal companions. To honor our most loyal friends, we should do no less.