International Watch Review

It's Time for Artful New Animal Motifs

Drawn from fashion as well as mythology, animal motifs are a new trend that showcases a brand's creative talent and, for some, the know-how of their workmanship.
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Jaquet Droz

The king of the jungle stars in this ultra-limited series of watches by Jaquet Droz, a fervent promoter of fine craftsmanship. The house became known in the eighteenth century for its refined automatons and now is most famous for its lacquered dials, but it also excels in the painting of miniatures. The majestic lion seen here is entirely hand-drawn, using brushes so precise that some only have one bristle. The watch is rose gold with a 43-millimeter diameter, automatic movement with hours and minutes, and a black alligator strap. This limited series has only 28 pieces, so if you get your hands on one, you'll be sure to stand out from the pride.


This model is the tenth installment in Panerai's Chinese horoscope series, initiated in 2009. Coming after the rooster, 2018's dog is engraved on a lid that masterfully protects the dial. The Italian engravers used the delicate technique of sparsello, which calls for repeated insertion of gold threads into grooves previously dug in the steel, then striking them to achieve the final pattern. The watch is 44 millimeters in diameter and features precision work, a steel case, automatic movement with hours, minutes, seconds, and date, and a fawn leather bracelet with a steel pin buckle. This limited edition model has 88 pieces.


Two years after the launch of its masculine edition expertly called "Monsieur," Chanel is unveiling a new limited watch. Its black Grand Feu enamel dial features a lion, which is the animal fetish of Coco Chanel, carved in the same beige gold as the case. The caliber, which features hours and minutes, will have you counting down to your next rendezvous. The watch is 40 millimeters in diameter and features a manual winding movement with instant jumping hour and retrograde minute, as well as a black alligator strap and folding beige gold clasp. Chanel is only producing 20 of these watches, so your luxurious lion will be part of an elite group.


This Vallée de Joux horology house updates the shakudo, an ancient alloy from Japan. Made from copper and gold, it uses the different patinas for a better overall look. Above, the coelacanth, a fish with fleshy fins, relaxes at home in a coral reef. Other themes are followed throughout the year in a series of unique pieces mixing shakudo, engraving, and damascene.

This watch has a rose gold case and a 45 millimeter in diameter, and it features manual winding mechanical movement with hours and minutes as well as a brown alligator strap with a red gold folding clasp. It is a unique piece.

Vacheron Constantin

This Chinese New Year, the pig has its moment. Vacheron Constantin is using the holiday to unveil a new watch from its Métiers d'Art collection, which celebrates the expertise of the brand's master engravers and enamellers. The engraved dial features layers of enamel as well as a platinum pig. All of these details are handmade, and as a result, only a handful of collectors will obtain this watch, which has 12 pieces in platinum and 12 in rose gold. The platinum watch is 40 millimeters in diameter and has a steel bracelet and folding clasp, as well as automatic movement with hours, minutes, the day of the week, and date. 

Richard Mille

Dedicated to Jackie Chan, a longtime famous friend of Richard Mille, the whirlwind RM 57-01 features two supernatural animals from Chinese mythology. Engraved and hand-painted, the rose gold phoenix and dragon both feature striking realism as they intertwine the movement for a three-dimensional effect characteristic of Mille's creations. Only 15 will keep time with this rose gold watch, which features a black rubber strap as well as manual winding tourbillon movement with hours, minutes, and a power reserve indicator.

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