It’s become a tradition: Chopard Manufacture annually presents a new timepiece eagerly awaited by collectors for its timelessly elegant dial adorned with a motif inspired by the Chinese zodiac calendar according to the perfectly preserved ancestral Urushi lacquer technique. This year, the L.U.C collection welcomes the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Tiger timepiece, an 88-piece limited series dedicated to the Tiger. Housed in an ultra-thin case, its L.U.C 96.17-L movement testifies to the watchmaking expertise of the Artisans at Chopard Manufacture.
Since 2013, Chopard has dedicated a collector’s timepiece to the sign of each Chinese zodiac year, designed on the basis of the L.U.C XP ultra-thin model, featuring a dial adorned using the Urushi Maki-e technique – combining lacquering and gold dust – within a highly symbolic stage-setting and systematically produced in an 88-piece limited series. In 2022, this tradition is embodied in an exceptional version eagerly awaited by collectors and made from ethical 18-carat rose gold: the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Tiger.
A highly symbolic timepiece
The Year of the Water Tiger will begin on 1 February 2022 and end on 21 January 2023. A sign of Earth and recurrent emblem in Chinese artistic depictions, the tiger has long been associated with the figure of the emperor and state dignitaries. It symbolises fortune, wisdom, intelligence and creativity. It is therefore a resolutely optimistic zodiac sign, an auspice that Chopard has seized upon in interpreting one of its most artistic creations.
The result of a meticulous craftsmanship process
True to tradition, Chopard works with the finest Japanese lacquer craftsmen, who produce dials using the ancestral Urushi lacquer technique. The 88 dials of the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Tiger timepiece are produced in the workshops of the century-old company Yamada Heiando and crafted by Master lacquer artist Minori Koizumi who devotes no less than 160 hours to this meticulous task.
In accordance with Maki-e technique, gold flakes – placed between layers of lacquer made from the sap of the Toxicodendron vernicifluum tree – light up a background featuring a tiger perched above a bay surrounded by cliffs, against a starlit background. Claws out and jaw turned sideways, it appears to be deliberately flaunting its strength and majesty. The lacquerer’s attention has been focused on each detail of this scene in order to reveal its blend of realism and lyrical beauty.
Exquisite technical refinement
The case of the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Tiger timepiece is entirely carved from 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 Tiger is also an ultra-thin timepiece measuring a mere 6.80 mm thick.
This thinness is enabled by a 3.30 mm-thick in-house L.U.C 96.17-L movement that is self-winding despite its extremely modest size. It is equipped with a micro-rotor – a small off-centred oscillating weight made of 22-carat gold – which is incorporated into the overall thickness of the calibre. Its strong inertia enables it to ensure 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 Tiger timepiece 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.
Heritage meets modernity: 25 years of Chopard Manufacture
Since 1996, Chopard Manufacture has been reflecting the inspired vision of the Maison’s Co-President, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. Twenty-five years after presenting its first movement, the Manufacture offers an exhaustive range covering the entire spectrum of horological complications, all crafted in-house in a blend of tradition and innovation.
Movement development, finished product design, gold smelting, stamping and machining of cases and movement components, engraving and traditional hand-crafted finishes, gemsetting, surface treatments, polishing, assembly, adjustments and quality controls: its Swiss workshops in Geneva and Fleurier enable Chopard to master the entire production process involved in each creation of the L.U.C collection. The work of experienced Artisans, these timepieces with their simple and pure design express the highest degree of mechanical sophistication.