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Monkey Watch

王烨昇 Johnny Wang 2016-01-14 11:10


Speaking of communication between the Eastern and Western world, Vacheron Constantin is one of the best examples, it's had a relationship with China since 1845. This year, Métiers d’Art La Légende du Zodiaque Chinois Year of the Monkey is the piece to celebrate the Chinese Monkey New Year. The foliage motif appearing on the dial and based on classic Chinese iconography is etched directly in the metal. The pattern remains semi-em-bedded and stands out from its gold base by a subtle stage-setting of variously accentuating reliefs creating an effect of depth, making the vegetation appear to float over the dial. Then comes the stage of Grand Feu enamelling, a technique invented in Geneva and that remains the preserve of a very few, particularly skilled artisans. By applying the enamel in successive layers, the enamel specialist enhances the intensity of the blue or bronze-toned dial. Achieving the necessary mastery of colour and reactions to firing at temperatures between 800 and 900 degrees Celsius, calls for an expertise that can only be acquired over many years of experience. The monkey, made of platinum or gold, is hand engraved and delicately applied to the centre of the dial.


Cute Face

Although the carving creates a good 3D effect, the enamel lends a vivid aesthetic. Passionate creativity fashioned by boldness and artistic freedom has given rise to this watch, which is worn as an affirmation of gentle yet con dent femininity with its bezel set entirely with white diamonds.

It houses a monkey with a coat of cognac diamonds, drawn from life and set amongst leaves in eight colours of champlevé enamel. Champlevé enamel is applied to the cells engraved by the craftsman according to the design.

Several stages of craftsmenship and rings at around 800°C are required to create a single dial. The final image emerges after more than 36 hours of highly precise work, brightening up the silhouette that is flush with the enamel.


Three In I

As the debut to the Only Watch auction in the fight against muscular dystrophy, the Three Apes is a piece of art dedicated to the traditional crafts of guilloche main, skeletonisation and red enamel. The unique thing about it is the incorporation of various demanding techniques in one single watch. The dial has first been lavishly decorated with guilloché main and then lent a fascinating depth and three-dimen-sionality thanks to transparent fired enamel on top. The three apes featured on the dial are a symbol of the typical human reaction to diseases (denial), and are meant to create awareness for the cause of muscular dystrophy.


Elegant Skill

Since the monkey as the icon of a year is uniquely found in the Asian world, it must be ttingly special to portrait this animal with Asian skills. To create this dial, as well as the case for previ- ous L.U.C XP Urushi editions, the craftsmen have worked with the rm Yamada Heiando, of cial purveyor to the Japanese imperial family. Raised to the rank of “living human treasure” in Japan and acknowledged as the finest exponent of his art, Master Kilchiro Masumura has designed and supervised the creation of all dials, which were executed by Master Minori Koizumi, an Urushi master chosen for his extreme artistic mastery. Urushi lacquer comes from the sap of the “lacquer” or “Japanese varnish” tree. It is skilfully harvested, aged and treated to become a transparent lacquer that is applied in a series of extremely ne layers. The Urushi master uses it to capture gold dust motifs, created using the extraordinarily meticulous Maki-e technique. Each of these delicate operations, is performed exclusively by experienced masters of this exceptional skill, who dedicate their lives to improving their art, driven by a relentless pursuit of excellence. On the dial, a red-coated monkey is perched on a branch laden with fruit. It is gathering peaches beneath a golden sky, ablaze with the last rays of the sun. Behind it, golden valleys compose a warm scene in soft tones that make a perfect match with the rose gold of the case.


Spanish Story

Upon arriving at the court of Madrid, the young Empress received a gift from her beloved Lisbon.  A Cantonese Chinese man from Macau, from a Portuguese port in China, requested a private audience with Queen Isabella in the name of her brother, John III of Portugal. During that private meeting, the mysterious emissary was commissioned with giving the queen an amulet brought directly from his distant lands. “Your Majesty, in this chest I bring you a gift from His Majesty King John and also of mine, an amulet from my land: the Monkey. In China, women who trust in its power are just and fair and enjoy eternal love with their husbands. Your brother King John has wanted to grace you with these gifts secretly and in private, so that you may reign alongside the Emperor with a rm hand, and also so that love will always over ow in your royal union. Keep this amulet close to your heart.” When the queen was alone she stared at the red box. Upon opening it, she discovered a small monkey’s head in gold. She took it and hung it on the left side of her chest, near her heart, keeping it hidden under her dress as her most intimate secret. She kept the amulet there until the day of her death. Isabella governed the vast Holy Roman Empire and Spain during the king’s long absences on the battle- eld and she was always rm and just in her work. Furthermore, the marriage between her and Charles was an example of love and respect. When Queen Isabella died, the king mourned her for the rest of his days.


Glossy Light

By using appliqué and marquise-cut openwork, evocative of Jianzhi – a prized Chinese art form used for centuries to convey lifelong prosperity – this piece brings the design to life. The dial by Harry Winston is enhanced with ecks of 24K gold, each set one by one in individual- ly carved hollows, creating a magnificent pink and gold constellation. An 18K gold monkey with a diamond for an eye hangs delicately against this luminous backdrop, as if grasping the bezel at 9 o’clock, while his tail winds effort-lessly around an emerald-cut diamond at 12 o’clock.


Soft Image

This piece by Breguet features its soft visual effect by the carving craftsmanship on the moth-er-of-pearl. The dial is carved into several layers and the tender monkey sits right in the center of the dial. With this skill, the portrait is detailed with soft and fine hair that makes people feel like touching it.


Small & Cute

This piece from Boucheron is in the shape of "a monkey protecting the precious gem". Its body is covered with gem stones in yellow hues in order to portray the natural hair of a monkey. The arms with the blue gem symbolise good wishes.


Funny Face

The brooch from Tiffany & Co. is cute as well. It is composed of rose gold, yellow gem tones and diamonds, which vividly expresses the mon- key's pose and skin colour.

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