Many people don’t know much about Chinese zodiac, but January 31, 2014 will usher in a new Chinese year just thirty days after the Western calendar turns a page. 2014 is year of the horse, and some companies are already set to capitalize on that fact. Horse merchandise will be more prominent in retailers and China Towns across the world, but it’s not just knick-knacks popping up. Swiss watch designer Vacheron Constantin has designed a watch that’s inspired by the year of the horse that will debut on the first full day of the Chinese New Year: February 1st.
The designer from Switzerland has incorporated the likeness of a horse in precious metal so that it protrudes from the face of the watch. The 3D horse is the same material of the watch bevel, and Vacheron will produce two types: one in platinum and the other in pink gold. The dial of the pink gold watch is bronze, while a blue dial complements the platinum watch. The creators use a process of applying enamel at high kiln temperatures to produce a vibrant color on the dial. The A dozen pieces each will become available to consumers in February.
Elements associated with China, including bamboo and leaves, have been engraved into the watch face in the style of Swiss paper-cutting known as Scherenschnitt. Chine has a similar art that is represented by this style. The watch face has windows for the hour, minute, seconds and day to show through from below the face in a stage-setting technique that gives the impression of multiple levels within the watch. The caseback consists of translucent crystal-sapphire, allowing consumers to view the intricate inner workings. These windows replace the traditional hands of a watch while remaining incredibly stylish and sophisticated.
Marketers believe the watchmaker targets those of Chinese descent and fans of the culture because it’s so old. Younger cultures, such as that in the United States, wouldn’t necessarily pay top dollar for a timepiece that depicts cultural icons. In China, people born in the year of the horse are thought to be wild an energetic, and ideal that the designer strove to reach with this magnificent watch. People born in the year of the horse are rumored to know how to dress, and anyone sporting this limited-edition Vacheron Constantin watch about town will certainly make the best-dressed lists.
The timepiece is set to be exclusive, too. Only 24 models will be made, so enthusiasts had better get their hands on the Year of the Horse watch while there’s still some left. The watches will be available at Vacheron’s Chinese boutiques, so anyone traveling through the country early next year has a chance to see the gorgeous pieces for themselves.
Vacheron is not alone in this marketing effort revolving around the 12-year cycle that’s to important in China. By creating a dozen of each design, Vacheron Constantin is showing attention to detail, and the details just happen to be China’s cultural practices and beliefs. Of course, American consumers are just as likely to purchase and wear a watch as a sign of culture.
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