Monkey See, Monkey Do

It’s Time To Monkey Around

In just over a week, it will be time to welcome the Year of the Monkey with the arrival of the Chinese Lunar New Year and spring. Smart, wily and creative are characteristics of the Red Fire Monkey of 2016, along with the element of gold. Here are some smart styles that’ll keep you ahead of being a monkey’s uncle (or aunt).

Time to Monkey Around

Luxury watch houses have been busy rolling out time pieces in time for the Year of the Monkey. The most elegant by far is the Blancpain limited edition Traditional Chinese Calendar wristwatch for the Year of the Monkey. There are only 36 pieces of this elegant luxury collector’s item. It pays homage to tradition quietly, with a monkey image engraved on the back. At the same time it is sheer opulence, with a white gold oscillating weight in this classic signature of the Villeret collection

Blancpain Traditional Chinese Calendar for the year of Monkey

The face of the watch is fascinating. Time-keeping rests alongside the Gregorian calendar, that rubs shoulders with the Chinese calendar, while traditional double-hour indications, signs of the zodiac, as well as the five elements and the 10 celestial stems call for attention. The moon phases, a key element in Blancpain, completes the self-winding Calibre 3638 watch that has 434 parts including 39 jewels. Endowed with a 7-day power reserve, the watch with a 45 mm-diameter platinum case, is fitted with a crown adorned with a cabochon-cut Madagascar ruby.

Another subtle piece is the Ulysse Nardin. The luxury timepiece captures the wit of a capering monkey in rose-gold, recreated in the rare and difficult champlevé method of enamelling. Different from the other Chinese New Year watch offerings, this dress piece borders on the sombre with its black on black finish that shows off the rose-gold casing.

On the other end of the spectrum are the colourful but classy, starting with Chopard.

The Swiss house is dedicating the eighth of its exclusive L.U.C XP Urushi to the ninth creature in the Chinese animal zodiac. The watch features a handcrafted Urushi lacquered dial in hues of red and gold. Each is painstakingly crafted in small batches by a master lacquer artist considered a “living human treasure” in Japan, who’s part of a team of craftsmen serving the Japanese royal household.

Master lacquer artist Minori Koizum hand paints each Chopard

Recreated on the watch face is a scene that conveys good tidings. A monkey sits on a tree with eight peaches, with eight being a lucky number among Chinese and peaches symbolising long life, health and fortune. The monkey has a coat of gold with flecks of red. It sits above hills of gold, in a warm nature scene that offsets the rose gold of the watch case that sits on a hand-sewn black alligator leather strap.

Chopard L.U.C XP for Year of the Monkey luxury handmade watch

This is hand-crafted Chopard Haute Horlogerie encapsulating the best of East and West. The slender timepiece with the dainty bezel highlighting the Japanese Urushi artist’s work, beats with a heart that’s an L.U.C Calibre 96.17-L, and an ultra-thin movement measuring just 3.30 mm thick. A 22-carat gold micro-rotor keeps the self-winding movement in precision time that’s displayed with Gilded Dauphine-type hour and minute hands.

Whether as a gift or part of a collection, Chopard’s L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Monkey will form a significant investment. It comes in a special ocatagon presentation box (an oriental symbol for happiness) with black and gold finishing in the meticulous Maki-e technique. This is topped by multiple thin layers of Urushi lacquer that’s created from sap drawn from a Japanese tree.

Other timepieces that are also being graced by the monkey include Vacheron Constantin with its “Metiers d’Art, Legend of the Chinese Zodiac” collection. Against either a blue or red background, the monkey highlights the art of engraving, enameling and sculpting with the elegant platinum-finished watch.

For the ladies, there’s the House of Harry Winston, with its gem-encircled case set against pink mother-of-pearl with a playful gold-cut monkey sporting a diamond eye. The more practical yet fun, watch of choice would be the limited edition Chinese New Year series Apple Watch.  Available till 22 February, the 38mm or 42mm tech-tock piece is an attention grabber in gold, with a red sports band from the (Product)RED range in support of the fight against AIDS.

Not The Monkey Suit

Red is the colour of choice every new year, but this new year, it’s an exceptional colour of choice since it’s the year of the Red Fire Monkey. Dolce & Gabanna have decided to not only go big on reds, but also lucky oranges too – very useful for those who are not too sure about the practice of gifting mandarin oranges.

Carretto Siciliano collection by D&G

The Carretto Siciliano (Lemon & Orange) Print collection available at all Dolce & Gabbana boutiques combines the traditions and aesthetics of both the Chinese and Italians. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana who confess a deep love and affinity for China have delivered a breezy, Mediterranean touch to the collection that dresses everything from iPhone to well-manicured feet, and of course, the all-important purse for the just-as-important Hong Baos (red money packets).

Carry on the monkey theme throughout the year on a more subtle note, with the House of Ferragamo. Add a touch of cheeky monkey with the Swinging Monkey printed silk tie in five colours (the orange is gorgeous) or Monkey Printed silk tie ranging from blue to red. The ladies also get their chance to monkey around with the silk Monkey and Jungle Print scarf featuring three playful monkeys amid orchids and ferns, on a background of either blue, white or red, of course.

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