Welcome To The Jungle – Seven Animal Watches You Need To Know About
In a fiercely competitive watch industry, many Swiss watch manufactures now look at innovative and creative ways to really stand out in today’s concrete jungle. The watches presented in this article represent the very best animal watches in the industry with often an exceptional display of the talent and mastery at these top Swiss manufactures. In some examples, the creation of the dial art display traditional artisanal methods highlighting the continuity of these watch brands and their quest for both innovation and tradition.
Hublot Big Bang Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation
The Hublot Big Bang Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation watch is available in 3 materials, 50 pieces in 18K red gold, 100 pieces in stainless steel and 100 pieces in all black carbon. The collection was designed by founder of the Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation [BJWT], Eduardo Serio, who has a great affinity with animals, especially with the large man-eating cats. The collection of watches not only support a great cause, but they also promote unity with not only human beings – but also all living beings.
The three limited editions were completely inspired by felines. The dial of each timepiece reflects the strength and nature of animals, with a head of a tiger embossed design. Like the original Hublot Big Bang, the case measures in at 44mm in diameter and features state-of-the-art sapphire crystal to view the spectacular dial. The watch is powered by the ever reliable automatic movement Calibre Hublot HUB1401 which powers hours, minutes and seconds and has a power reserve of 42-hours. The black rubber strap, is engraved with the characteristics pattern of the tiger fur.
Richard Mille RM 26-01 Tourbillon Panda
The giant panda enjoys worldwide recognition and has incredible appeal worldwide, no doubt because of their friendly appearance. The large mammal is also an international symbol of peace. It was only natural for the innovative Swiss watchmaker to create a stunning timepiece in honour of this incredible creature. Much like the panda being a protected species, the watch is limited to just 30 timepieces in 18K red gold and 18K white gold.
The watch is powered by the Calibre RM 26-01 manual winding tourbillon movement with hours, minutes and power reserve, inspired by the Richard Mille RM 19. The tonneau shape of the Richard Mille is considered to be the most difficult case to manufacture in the industry, and in the case of the RM 26-01, it is made even more difficult by the fact that the case is set with hundreds of brilliant-cut diamonds on the case and crown. The dial emblem with the panda and bamboo highlight the mastery of the artisans at Richard Mille, as well as the sheer number of man hours gone into every watch.
Patek Philippe Ref 5720/1G ‘Dragon’
To mark the opening of a new branch of Maison Patek Philippe in Shanghai in 2012, one of the most prestigious Swiss watchmakers has released a series of limited edition timepieces including this stunning novelty full pavé-set diamond case, bracelet and dial with a cloisonné enamel dragon striding towards the clouds. In the Chinese culture, the dragon is a powerful symbol os strength, harmony, health and intellectuality.
The 40mm case is in 18K white gold set with full pavé brilliant-cut diamonds, on the case, bracelet and dial, totalling a diamond weight of 9.358 carats. The watch features the Calibre 324S automatic nickel lever movement powering seconds, minutes and hours. Each watch produced is finely decorated with pavé-set diamonds and dragon that extends on to the bezel which is enamelled with 10 different colours. Due to the hand enamelling process, each timepiece is slightly different and therefore can be called unique pieces.
Cartier D’Art Leopard
Released at this years Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie, the Cartier D’Art Leopard is an extraordinary timepiece which showcase the high jewellery and artisanal techniques employed at Cartier. The watch is a beautiful example of the fine jewellery craft, enamelling, engraving and mother-of-pearl marquetry.
The timepiece is 40mm in diameter and cased in 18K yellow gold, with blue steel hands, sapphire crown and sapphire crystal. The leopard dial is created through a number of techniques of enamelling, engraving, and hand painting, with the emblem being created on mother-of-pearl. The distinct lack of information on this particular piece highlight how extremely limited this piece is, and you would have to be extremely lucky to see this timepiece on a wrist.
Richard Mille RM 51-01 Tourbillon Tiger & Dragon – Michelle Yeoh
The Richard Mille RM 51-01 Tourbillon Tiger & Dragon is an collaboration with famous asian actress Michelle Yeoh, whose official collaboration began in 2011 with the Richard Mille RM 51 Phoenix Tourbillon. It is said that the Michelle Yeoh has an active input int he design of the collection, and in the case of the RM 51-01 Tiger & Dragon, wanted to highlight the symbolic themes of the Tiger and Dragon.
The figures on the openworked dial are created in 5N red gold, the figures are carved and incised entirely by hand, using special tools were made specifically for the special artistry of the dial. The watch is powered by the Calibre RM 51-01 manual winding tourbillon movement with hours, minutes and power reserve indicator. The watch case is set with full pavé brilliant cut diamonds and also feature in the torque limiting crown. The timepiece is limited to just 20 pieces and is available in 18K white or red gold.
Vacheron Constantin Métiers D’Art The Legend Of The Chinese Zodiac – Year Of The Rooster
Estimated Swiss watchmaker Vacheron Constantin is renowned for creating stunning timepieces with exceptional movements. This particular model, Métiers D’Art The Legend Of The Chinese Zodiac – Year Of The Rooster, features stunning intricate detailing on the dial, with a high level of quality in enamelling, engraving and gem-setting involved. The release of the watches, available in pink gold and platinum, was a limited edition release for the previous Chinese Zodiac celebrations.
The watches are 40mm in diameter and the dial features an ancient Chinese motifs of flowers done in the style of Chinese paper-cutting called ‘jiānzhī’. This particular art of paper-cutting dates back as far as the second century and shares many similarities to Scherenschnitt in Switzerland and Germany. The base of the dial is Grand Feu enamel, an ancient technique that requires successive layers of enamel.
Patek Philippe 5077P-065 ‘Royal Tigers’ Calatrava
This stunning Patek Philippe Calatrava is an example of the beautiful contemporary collection at Patek Philippe, with this particular model a clear indication of the mastery in marquetry dials. The dial is decorated with a tiger’s head in precious wood marquetry, with 18K white gold hands and 12 diamond hour markers. Each dial requires 50 hours of work by a master technician, using 120 pieces from 8 types of wood.
The watch is 38mm in diameter and is encased in platinum. The watch is powered by the Calibre 240 ultra-thin self-winding movement with sapphire crystal front and caseback. The watch is finished beautifully with an alligator strap with a pin buckle. The watch is a limited edition piece, and was officially released in 2011.