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Many people around the world celebrate the Lunar New Year – and we’re also getting involved in this special occasion at Christopher Ward. But why exactly is the Moon so special? And what impact has it had upon timekeeping throughout the ages? Here’s a quick breakdown.

What is the Lunar New Year?

As you may have probably guessed from its name, the Lunar New Year marks the first day of the year for calendars dictated by cycles of the Moon (as opposed to many western cultures who follow the Gregorian calendar). While predominantly celebrated in a number of Asian countries including China, Japan, Vietnam (‘Tết’), Korea (‘Seollal’), its influence can be felt all around the globe.

There are many theories as to how this tradition started and why its celebrations endure to this day. One legend tells the story of the Jade Emperor, who chose 12 animals to become palace guards. The traits of each animals, and their cunning to be first in line at the palace, would soon form the foundations for the Chinese Zodiac. And 2020? That would be the Year of the Rat!

The Chinese Zodiac

The tales don’t end there, where legend also includes a man-eating beast from the mountains. With this threat of evil, people quickly learned that the best way to rid the beast was with fireworks and explosions. These fireworks are now an emblem of celebration every Lunar New Year, scaring away any evil spirits for the coming months.

What’s the significance of Year of the Rat in 2020?

According to the Zodiac, the Rat has traits of saving and collecting, being financially skilled and leading organised lives. If you were born in the Year of the Rat (1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008), you might already be onto a winner! In particular, 2020 also marks the element of metal; the Metal Rat being renowned for turning unfortunate events into good fortune. It also represents the dualist concept of yang, and the beginning of a new day – who knows what this fresh opportunity might hold in store?

How does the Lunar New Year, or more specifically the Moon, impact watchmaking?

Like astrology, horology looks at time and the study of movements. The Moon plays a vital role in the lunar calendar, so it’s not a surprise that brilliant minds would eventually translate its constant passage across the sky into a series of gears, springs and wheels. Initially appearing in larger wall clocks, a notable example of one remains the Astronomical Clock, located upon the side of Old Town Hall in Prague – it remains the oldest operating astronomical clock in existence, having been finished in 1410.

World's oldest astronomical clock in Prague

Some 605 years later, Christopher Ward would reveal its own take on the moonphase complication: Calibre JJ04. Accurate to within a day every 128 years if kept wound, it also displays the true phases of the moon perpetually thanks to some delicate re-engineering of a Sellita SW220 base movement.

C1 Moonglow layers

JJ04 provides the enchanting backbone of our Lunar Collection, featuring two models: the luminescent C1 Moonglow and elegant C1 Grand Malvern Moonphase.

C1 Moonglow by Christopher Ward

C1 Moonphase by Christopher Ward

So in a week that sees many celebrating the start of a new year – and a prosperous one, we hope! – we also pay tribute to the celestial beauty that is the Moon. To our customers celebrating around the world, ‘Kung hei fat choi!’

For those who frequent the CWBlog or receive our emails, you may well be aware that November saw Christopher Ward partner with marine conservation charity Blue Marine Foundation. In the build-up to Christmas, we told a number of ‘Winter Stories’ – featuring people close to the brand documenting how they’d be spending their festive period, their plans for 2020 and more – with a bestselling CW linked to each. During this time of goodwill, 5% of the proceeds from these watches were then donated to Blue Marine Foundation, whose dedication to creating marine protected areas resounded with our team; our Trident range has partnered many a diver exploring the beauty of our oceans after all!

Following our customers’ outstanding efforts, we’re very pleased to be donating £25,000 to Blue Marine Foundation this month to help assist with their crucial mission. Below are the five models that helped us to reach this fantastic figure:

 

C60 Trident Pro 600

A model synonymous with Christopher Ward, and in its new and improved Mk III update one that sits comfortably alongside many of the world’s finest dive watches. Its inclusion in our list is no doubt helped by the fact that the Pro 600 range offers a great deal of choice, incorporating different sizes, colours and strap options for customers to tailor to their needs and lifestyle.

Dive into our Trident 3 Collection

 

C1 Moonglow

A smash hit that illuminated CW’s 2019, the C1 Moonglow proved that a complication as traditional as the moonphase could be reinterpreted in a way that was innovative and refreshingly different. Released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, its highly luminescent moons – perpetually moving thanks to our JJ04 modification – are coated with Grade X1 GL C1 Super-LumiNova® that emits an ethereal glow. One of the brightest watches CW has made? Very possibly. One of the most unique? Without a doubt!

The Moonglow is available here

 

C65 Trident Automatic

If the C60 Trident Pro 600 showed what CW could achieve when focusing its efforts towards perfecting the modern dive watch, the C65 Trident Automatic is our charmingly vintage equivalent. Slim, sleek and – the name might be a giveaway – powered by a Swiss-made automatic movement, its Submariner-tinged looks are reinforced with the finest engineering available today.

Discover the C65 Trident Automatic

 

C60 Abyss

Yes, the idea of a stealthy dive watch water-resistant to depths of 600m may seem counterproductive. But that’s not really the point of the C60 Abyss. With its blackened colour scheme disrupted by flashes of red, this isn’t a watch that screams for attention; instead, eyes will gravitate towards it in black hole-like fashion. And there’s only one word for its case, finished with a blend of brushed and polished black diamond-like carbon (DLC) surfaces: cool.

Find the C60 Abyss here

 

C65 Black Gold Limited Edition

A watch whose name will cause any petrolheads’ brains to roar into life, this 200-piece limited edition’s colour scheme captures the majesty of the John Player Special livery championed by the Lotus Formula One team during the mid-1970s. It’s a timeframe that neatly links in with the C65’s retro cues, while a hand-wound movement is a conscious reminder of the technicality prominent throughout that era. Now, where’s that track?!

The Black Gold: on the grid now