You know the power that the Chinese market yields over the luxury brands when they all start launching products in hopes of wooing the ever-strengthening Yuan -- remember Vertu's Signature Dragon Collection and the mahjong set launched by DKNY last year?. Naturally, 2012 saw a plethora of designs all inspired by the mighty Dragon. Never mind that the zodiac year of the Dragon is coming to an end -- if the trend of these brands cozying up to the Chinese market is any indication at all, we can expect another (and another, and another) year of luxury goods adorned by refined versions of the animals of the zodiac.
The first of its lot this year is Chopard's L.U.C XP Urushi Snake, a timepiece touted as the meeting of the very best of ancestral Japanese art Urushi with Swiss horological history. Using the painstaking Japanese lacquering art technique of Urushi, a flowering bush with a golden snake coiled around it is depicted on the face of the timepiece, finished off with a sprinkling of metallic gold dust to accentuate the outlines.
The elegance of the depiction is further emphasised by the slender 18-carat gold case. At just 39.5mm in diameter and 6.8mm thick, powered by a self-winding movement with a 65-hour reserve, the timepiece is an exquisite creation befitting of the zodiac sign's enigmatic appearance. The L.U.C XP Urushi Snake also comes in a octagon-shaped box complete with a silk fastening cordlet.