Since 2016 the House of Harry Winston has unveiled a symbolic timepiece depicting an animal from the Chinese zodiac to honor the Chinese New Year. The year 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit, and the legend of the Jade Rabbit has been selected to grace the dial of this Premier timepiece. Considered the luckiest sign in the Chinese zodiac, the rabbit is associated with wisdom, generosity, ingenuity and empathy. Those born under this sign are said to be elegant and endowed with a sensitive, artistic temperament. A compendium of unmistakable House of Harry Winston codes and allusions to China’s rich cultural traditions, the dial interprets the legend of the Jade Rabbit, underscoring its eternal relationship with the Moon.
Like many timepieces in the Premier collection, the dial is confected from gorgeous beaded mother-of-pearl. When light is reflected on its surface, it produces spectacular iridescent effects. The rich red tone of the mother-of-pearl selected for the background is a color intimately associated with Chinese traditions and festivities.
Gold is another material laden with symbolism, and the marriage of red and gold is considered the apogee of good fortune. In Chinese tradition, the dark markings that can be seen on the Moon are said to represent the silhouette of a rabbit, and how the rabbit reached the Moon is explained by the legend of the Jade Rabbit that is considered as an extension of Chang’e’s destiny.
According to the legend, three sages were in search for a trustworthy medicine maker to create the elixir for immortal life. Realizing that humans could not be trusted with such a task, they materialized on Earth as poor men begging for food from different animals; a fox, a monkey and a rabbit. The fox and the monkey managed to find food for the men but the rabbit was unable to procure anything edible except grass.
In its great goodness, the rabbit decided to sacrifice itself and jumped into the fire to provide the poor men with its own flesh. So touched were the sages with the animal’s selflessness and devotion that they rescued the rabbit and sent it to the Moon Palace, where he became the Jade Rabbit. There, in charge of preparing the heavenly medicine, the Jade Rabbit’s fate intertwined with Chang’e’s, the only other resident of the Moon. Both destined to live on the Moon for eternity, the Jade Rabbit and Chang’e became inseparable friends.
The moment captured on the dial depicts the Jade Rabbit gathering wildflowers to prepare the elixir of eternal life. Delineated in 18-karat rose gold, the silhouette of the adorable rabbit is embellished with signature Harry Winston diamonds, an allusion to the immaculate snow-white fur the sages gave the rabbit as a token of gratitude. The rabbit’s fluffy white tail and sparkling eye gleam with brilliant-cut diamonds, while four marquise diamonds form a bow around its neck.
Sprinkled liberally on the dial by hand, the heavenly sparkle produced by the 22-karat gold powder alludes to the rabbit’s presence on the Moon. Since the 22-karat gold powder is delicately applied by hand, no two dials will ever be the same. Underscoring the eternal and symbiotic union of the Jade Rabbit and the Moon, the outline of our celestial neighbor is formed by small, stylized bunny heads drawn with brilliant-cut diamonds and pink gold ears.
Furthermore, the Jade Rabbit’s head occupies a prominent position inside the Moon, highlighting the profile of the rabbit that can be discerned on the lunar surface in Chinese tradition. Crowning the composition at noon is a large emerald-cut diamond, a tribute to Mr. Winston’s favorite cut for precious gemstones. As with many models in the artistic Premier collection, the time indications are off-centered and placed in the center of the gold and diamond garland representing the Moon.