Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year Of The Rat: Malaysia Price And ReviewWritten by Leong Wong
Auspicious tidings at Chopard.
Rats may not have a stellar reputation in western culture, but it’s a different matter altogether in Asia, where they are seen as intelligent, resourceful and shrewd. With the Year of the Metal Rat just around the corner, there is perhaps no better way to illustrate this than the story of how the Chinese Zodiac got its animals. In the Great Race, the Rat relied on these innate characteristics to pip the Ox at the post and secure its place as the first animal in the order.
For its customary annual celebration of a new lunar calendar cycle, Chopard has a special edition L.U.C XP with the wily creature as its focal point. It is rendered in gold to symbolise wealth and success. Also depicted is an ear of corn (representing abundance), a persimmon (denoting longevity) and a bouquet of blue, gold and green flowers (for luck and good fortune).
Limited release of 88 pieces aside, what makes this wrist art rare and special is the fact no two dials are alike. Each one is individually handcrafted by the artisans at Yamada Heinado studio. The renowned master of the ancestral Japanese lacquer art form known as urushi has honed its craft since 1919 and holds a royal warrant by the Imperial Household.
In modern times, we might place great value on precious stones and metals, but urushi has long been similarly treasured due to the time and patience involved in its production. The lacquer comes from the sap of the Asian lacquer tree, toxicodendron vernicifluum, which is harvested in small quantities once a year. Its quality is determined by the amount of urushiol oil in the sap, so the higher the concentration, the better the quality. After it has been filtered and set aside for at least three years, the sap is then treated to create a durable, honey-textured lacquer that is applied in extremely fine successive layers.
Different minerals are used to colour the lacquer. Black lacquer is made by mixing iron, while ferric oxide and cinnabar yield its red equivalent. In the case of the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rat, the addition of gold dust gives the dial its rich sheen. This is further reinforced by the natural ability of the lacquer to absorb moisture from the air, which ensures perpetual shine.
Inside the watch beats the automatic Calibre L.U.C 96-17L with a gold micro-rotor and 65 hours of power reserve, driven by double-barrelled mainsprings stacked atop each other. Truly a timepiece that's beautiful both inside and out, perfect for connoisseurs of horological art.
|39.5mm rose gold|
|Handcrafted urushi lacquer art with gold hands|
Self-winding Calibre L.U.C 96-17L
|Black alligator with brown alligator lining|
|Hours and minutes|
Editor, CROWN Malaysia
A familiar face in Malaysia's horological publishing scene, Leong has been involved in lifestyle journalism since the mid-1990s. Besides watches, he takes a keen interest in cars and men's fashion.