Get Hopping with 6 Sensational Watches Celebrating the Year of the Rabbit
Sunday, January 22, was the Chinese New Year. And with 2023 marking the Year of the Rabbit, we put together a list of beautiful, whimsical watches that will help you leap into the new year with style.
The Chinese zodiac consists of 12 animals, and the rabbit is the fourth in the lineup. Known as the luckiest of the 12 animals, the rabbit symbolizes beauty, prosperity, and mercy, and people born in the year of the rabbit are said to be peaceful and kind-hearted.
Only a handful of watch brands celebrate the Chinese New Year with specialty timepieces, and because Chinese tradition often characterized as having a special relationship with the moon, most of this year’s watches depict the moon rising in the background. As a result, the brands honoring the Year of the Rabbit are doing so with wonderfully artistic dials and pieces that are either incredibly realistic or totally whimsical.
Let’s take a look at six watches that may have you hopping.
This year, Chopard surprised us with two watches celebrating the Year of the Rabbit. Each model is limited number to just 88 pieces, but the two are very different.
First, the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rabbit watch is an ultra-thin 39.5mm timepiece made in 18-karat ethical rose gold. The movement is the 3.3mm thick automatic winding L.U.C Caliber 96.17-L with a micro-rotor and 65 hours of power reserve. Overall, the watch measures just 6.7mm in thickness.
Its artistically decorated dial is made using the ancient Japanese technique called Urushi Maki-e – a technique combining gold flakes and lacquer made from the toxic sap of the Urushi (or Chinese lacquer) tree. The dials were also hand-painted in Japan by master artisan Minori Koizume at the Yamada Heiando workshops. And since the dials are individually hand-lacquered and layered with gold dust between layers during the 160-hour dial creation process, each one is unique.
The L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rabbit boasts two rabbits jumping across the center of the dial on a field of sand against a black background. Surrounded by Chinese olive trees on either side, the realistic-looking rabbits are gray and tan and situated beneath turquoise and blue clouds floating next to the golden-hued moon. The L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rabbit retails for $26,200.
The second watch from Chopard is the Happy Sport Year of the Rabbit, and it embraces the traditional Chinese red – the color of joy and fortune – for the dial and matching alligator straps.
The dial is a gradient with a texture reminiscent of velvet, and the sitting rabbit at its center is outlined with gold. Instead of fur, the rabbit has a mosaic of gilded gold floral motifs. Five seemingly free-floating diamonds also move around the dial with every wrist motion.
The 33mm artistic yet whimsical watch is crafted in stainless steel and ethical rose gold for the diamond-set bezel and strap pins. The 148-part Chopard 09.01-C automatic mechanical movement powers the piece and offers 42 hours of power reserve. The Happy Sport Year of the Rabbit retails for $18,900.
Perhaps the most beautiful and realistic Year of the Rabbit watch is the Altiplano Grand Feu Cloisonné enamel (a.k.a. the Altiplano Zodiac) from Piaget.
The stunning dial boasts a hand-enameled likeness of two adorable white bunnies, each outlined in gold with their ears raised and cabochon eyes looking toward 3 o’clock in an alert position. With shadows falling on them to create gray and white fur, the bunnies sit against a snowflake background in pale hues of blue, gray, and white. The portraitures are so realistic, in fact, that you can see the fur, thanks to the magnificent work of master artisan Anita Porchet.
Fitted with a black alligator strap, the 38mm white gold watch boasts a bezel set with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds. Thanks to the ultra-thin Piaget manual-wind 430P mechanical hand wound movement, this piece measures just 6.6mm in thickness and offers 43 hours of power reserve.
This alluring watch is a limited edition of only 38 pieces, each of which is unique thanks to the grand feu enamel work by Porchet. The Altiplano Zodiac Year of the Rabbit retails for $71,000.
The venerable brand of Vacheron Constantin also offers two renditions of its Year of the Rabbit watch – the same design but different colorways. And as part of the brand’s Legend of the Chinese Zodiac line of the Métiers d’Art collection, these pieces are technical and artistic feats.
Thanks to its use of the complicated 237-part Calibre 2460-G4 movement, made entirely in-house and carrying the Geneva Seal, the dial of each watch is devoid of hands. Plus, all its timekeeping information is visible via apertures on the dial, providing plenty of room for the rabbit to take center stage.
The three-dimensional rabbit is hand-sculpted of either rose gold or platinum, depending on the model. And each is so finely chiseled that you can see every detail of the rabbit. The two versions – limited to nine pieces each – include a rose gold model with an 18-karat rose gold case, a rose gold rabbit, and a brown dial with gold floral motif and a platinum version with white gold rabbit and a blue dial background with pale blue floral pattern. The color-coordinated apertures showcase the hours, minutes, day, and date. The rose gold watch retails for $108,000, and the platinum version sells for $131,000.
A watch that will make anyone smile is the Classique 9075 Year of the Rabbit watch from Breguet.
With a rich blue dial and pale blue center motif that emulates a Chinese garden, the watch depicts six rabbits in different playful positions around the outer portion of the dial. The white and gray rabbits perfectly pop against the enamel dial and fluffy clouds.
Completed with a matching blue alligator strap, the 171-part self-winding 591C calibre features a silicon Swiss lever escapement and flat balance spring. It beats at a frequency of 4 Hz and has a 38-hour power reserve. Limited to only eight pieces, the Classique 9075 Year of the Rabbit retails for CHF43,000.
For a playful take on the beloved bunny that won’t wipe out your bank account, Swatch offers a highly affordable Year of the Rabbit watch that also embraces the traditional Chinese red for the strap and dial.
Crafted in black bioceramic, the 6 o’clock position on the Year of the Rabbit Special Edition features a cute bunny face in gold – complete with whiskers. Although instead of ears, the hour and minute hand top the head and make their way around the dial to indicate the time. Finally, an outer minute track and its markers are also rendered in gold.
The Swatch Year of the Rabbit Special Edition retails for a wallet-friendly $105.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)