Watch of the Week: Piaget Altiplano 38mm Year of the Rooster

Courtesy Piaget

Celebrate the start of 2017 and the beginning of the Year of the Rooster with this new design from the Swiss watchmaker.

There’s no marker of time quite like a rooster, that perennial reminder of a new dawn and a new day. It’s even more timely this month, with the New Year having just begun—and doubly apropos with the start, on January 28, 2017, of the Year of the Rooster, the tenth symbol in the zodiac and the beginning of the Chinese New Year.

In honor of the occasion, and in keeping with the annual tradition, Piaget debuts the limited-edition, ultra-thin Altiplano Chinese Zodiac Year of the Rooster timepiece, which deftly blends the art of enamel work with the precision of Swiss watchmaking.

The Story Behind the Dial

Every year since 2012, the luxury watch brand has celebrated the Chinese New Year with a special dial design honoring the zodiac symbol. For 2017, the brand tapped Anita Porchet, one of the most well-known and respected enamel artists of our time, to create a design honoring this sign—a symbol of reliability, confidence, punctuality, and loyalty.

Porchet embodied these characteristics by rendering in the Grande Feu cloisonné enameling technique a rooster puffing out its chest as it readies for its dawn crowing reverie. Porchet began with an outline of the rooster in thin gold wires and then finely painted each feather using dozens of shades of gray, yielding multiple pigments and visible brush strokes on the rooster’s chest, back, wings, and tail feathers. The comb on its head and the wattle beneath its chin are painted in contrasting vibrant red tone—a difficult one to achieve in enameling. The time-consuming work requires multiple paintings and firings in a kiln (at more than 800 degrees Celsius), making the delicate dial vulnerable to breakage or bubbling. The texture and intricate details of the feathers, especially the long plumage, demonstrate not only Porchet’s fine craft, but also the beauty of the creature.

The Piaget Altiplano Year of the Rooster’s Top Features

The 38mm watch is crafted in 18-karat white gold and set with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds. A complementary black alligator leather strap tops off the design. It is powered by the Manufacture Piaget 430P ultra-thin manual-wind movement and offers 43 hours of power reserve.

Price and Availability

Because each dial is painted by hand, each is a unique piece of art, and just 38 pieces will be made in all. The watch will be available in Piaget Boutiques (and via their online concierge service) exclusively beginning this week. Price: $61,000. piaget.com.

See our pick for 2016's Year of the Monkey Chinese zodiac watch from Jaquet Droz. For more on artisan crafted Piaget Altiplano timepieces, read our review of the Piaget Altiplano 38mm Wood Marquetry watch for women.