In the Chinese Zodiac, the Rat is the first in the 12-year cycle of animals to be featured. 2020 is the Year of the Rat and those born in this year are said to be extremely industrious, thrifty, diligent and positive. But the soothsayers say to tread carefully, as the Year of the Rat for 2020 is predicted to be a time of unpredictability and uncertainty. Those born in the Year of the Rat are warned their luck will be full of ups and downs and it’s possible you will encounter many difficulties throughout the year.
Earlier this year Italian brand Panerai served up the Year of the Pig for its many delighted collectors, and now the new Year of the Rat piece follows in the same tradition with a special edition, again comprising just 88 units, and decorated using the ancient technique of sparsello, named after the tool used to decorate the cover.
The signature Sparsello style is achieved by first making grooves in the steel which are then inlaid with gold threads in multiple parallel layers. These are then beaten until they completely fill the grooves, The resulting ornate style is deliberately reminiscent of Chinese iconography.
Panerai first began the Chinese Zodiac series in 2009 with the Year of the Ox, so the Year of the Rat produced for 2020 is the 12th and final animal in the Chinese Zodiac series to be produced using this unique floral style of engraved illustration.
The trusty base watch for all of this Chinese Zodiac magnificence is the Luminor Sealand 44mm (PAM 00863) model made of brushed stainless steel. The engraved cover protects a grey dial with Arabic numerals at 12 and 6, as well as linear hour markers and luminous dots. A small seconds’ dial is at 9 o’clock and the date window is at 3 o’clock. The cover also features a small signaling mirror on the back.
As with the other watches in Panerai’s Chinese Zodiac series, the Sealand 44mm Year of the Rat runs on the in-house P. 9010 Calibre with an ample power reserve of three days – the standard power reserve for Panerai watches. The power is supplied by twin spring barrels, fitted with springs that are wound by an oscillating weight operating in both directions. With automatic winding, the P.9010 caliber can be conveniently adjusted without interfering with the movement of the minute hand; most useful when changing time zones or moving between summer and wintertime. The date also changes automatically.
Water-resistant to 100 meters, the watch comes on a gold-colored semi-matt calf strap with beige stitching and features a trapezoid buckle clasp in brushed steel. Also available is a rubber strap in black along with a screwdriver and a special tool for changing the strap.
The Year of the Rat will begin on January 25th, 2020, which is also the day the watch will launch in Panerai boutiques. The question is, does any Watchuseek reader have the complete set?
The new Year of the Rat watch will sell for US$23,600