Insider: Blancpain Métiers d’Art Shakudo 'Year of the Rooster'. Its Dial Features One of the Most Impressive Japanese Forms of Art.

To celebrate the 'Year of the Rooster' Blancpain and its Métiers d’Art Workshop released a unique piece in 18K rose gold with a rooster crafted in the art of 'Shakudo', this old Japanese technique is now mastered by the manufacture from Villeret and six unique pieces have been released in the past couple of years. Based on the lunisolar Chinese calendar, the months are 29 or 30 days long and always begin with a new moon, due to that, a year could have 12 or 13 months. The years are named using a 60-year cycle and each name is formed by combining a celestial stem from a 10-year cycle and an earthly branch from a 12-year cycle. The 12 earthly branches are directly correlated to the 12 zodiac animals but have different names. Every 60-year cycle is composed of the five elements and the 12 zodiac animals with the rooster being one of them and corresponding to 2017.

Featuring a generous 42 mm 18K rose gold case and equipped with a dark brown alligator strap, this new Métiers d’Art creation along with the 'Battle of the Queen Cows' unique piece we featured here, is one of the most realistic Shakudo pieces ever released by Blancpain. The ancient art of 'Shakudō' was originally created in Japan to be used in different objects including swords and jewelry and is an alloy composed of gold and copper with a very unique look and color.

The Dial

The dial is made of out 'Shakudo' and engraved with gold appliques depicting an extremely realistic rooster. Affixed to the shakudō dial and held in place by miniature feet, these elements are given a rokushō patina, which is a copper salt bath into which the dial is dipped to accelerate the oxidation of the copper and gold alloy. The tint and its intensity are determined by the number of dipping treatments and their duration. It is the studied eye and artistic sensitivity of the engraver that determine the nuances and depth of the rokushō treatment. In the case of the 'Year of the Rooster', the rooster is depicted in its full form including the feathers from its tail.

Additionally, the Blancpain logo at 3 o'clock is hand engraved on the shakudō dial. The beak and tail feathers are in yellow gold and incorporated into these areas as an applique using a damaskeening technique, which consists of hollowing a cavity into the applique to be filled with another metal, in this case yellow gold. The latter is then meticulously hammered into the cavity in order to spread it uniformly and thereby smoothen the surface of the applique that will then be engraved and polished, also by hand.

The Movement

The Blancpain Métiers d’Art Shakudo 'Year of the Rooster' is powered by the manual wound caliber 13R 3A fitted with a power reserve indicator on a bridge on the backside of the movement. Fully visible through the sapphire case back, this movement is exquisitely finished and a real treat for the eyes. This movement featuring 28 jewels and three coupled barrels, provides an outstanding 8-day power reserve while beating at a frequency of 21,600 vph when fully wound.

On the Wrist & Pricing

On the wrist, the Blancpain Métiers d’Art Shakudo 'Year of the Rooster' wears true to its size and with very distinguished wrist presence. An extremely elegant work of art that honors this year's Chinese New Year and also one of the most important animals in the Chinese 'Feng shui' practice. Without a doubt, a unique piece that will be adorning the wrist of an affluent Chinese watch collector or perhaps the wrist of someone that absolutely loves the art of Shakudo and roosters.

Sticker Price $160,600 USD. For more info on Blancpain click here.