The Maison Piaget continues its annual Chinese New Year tradition with a limited edition Altiplano Chinese Zodiac timepiece in honour of the Year of The Dog
On the first day of the lunar calendar, families and friends around the world come together for the Chinese New Year, a centuries-old celebration that ushers out any ill-fortune and welcomes in good luck for the year ahead. Every year since 2012, Piaget has marked the most important holiday in Chinese culture with its very own celebration of Asian customs: the zodiac sign of that year masterfully reimagined on the dial of an Altiplano watch using the delicate Grand Feu cloisonné enamelling technique. More than an ultra-thin watchmaking icon, the Altiplano is the Maison’s setting of choice to showcase the virtuosity of the great Métiers d’art. In 2018, the artistry of Piaget’s master enameller brings to life the symbol of the Dog, elegantly staged on the dial of an edition limited to just 38 pieces.
In the Chinese zodiac, the Dog is synonymous with loyalty and kindness. Making others happy takes precedence over success or wealth, and its most notable characteristics are its trustworthiness, reliability and strong sense of morals and ethics. World-renowned master enameller Anita Porchet unleashes her creativity to capture these defining characteristics in her own unique interpretation of the dog. Through the magic of the cloisonné enamelling technique, she has portrayed the animal as a proud and loyal companion, achieving great texture and intricate detail through the infinite shades of grey she has applied.
The elaborate enamelling process starts by transferring her drawing onto the surface using gold thread fixed into place with a special gum, thus creating miniature partitions or cloisons in which the enamel pigments are delicately placed. The enamel is fired multiple times at over 800°C in the kiln, before it can be evened out and finally varnished to give it its ethereal glow. Despite working within the constraints of a watch’s dial, Anita Porchet has mastered this art of excellence in such a way that she is able to play with light and shades to create the most subtle nuances and give the dog its life-like glistening coat of fur.
“Because each sign of the zodiac has its own distinctive particularities, I challenge myself to look beyond the animal and truly immerse myself into Asian culture to bring these traits out within the confines of the watch’s dial» explains Anita Porchet. «By playing with tones of black and white, I can achieve the most subtle nuances of grey on the animal itself and on its surroundings, so that this noble creature truly stands out.”
The precious handcrafted enamel masterpiece, the fifth symbol in the series, is framed by the radiant beauty of 78 brilliant-cut diamonds set on the watch’s white gold case, presented with a black alligator leather strap.
Through the expert skills of the Metiers d’art and their ancestral techniques so passionately nurtured by Piaget and Anita Porchet, the dog is immortalized in homage to the great richness and symbolism of Asian culture.