New kids on the block This year started in much the same way as 2014 - cold, disappointing and with Arsenal in a rather underwhelming league position. The weather we can't do anything about; the disappointment springs from broken resolutions (although broken in record time, so that's something to be proud of, I suppose); and the feeling of "meh" with Arsenal's footballing fortunes isn't going to change anytime soon. But that's just me, a hopeless curmudgeon. Anyway, living in Asia at least you get two bites of the New Year pie, with the Lunar-based festivities fast approaching. And if my inbox is any indication, the occasion is one that watch companies can't get enough of. Actually, pretty much every consumer goods company, luxury or otherwise, sees Lunar New Year as a time to splash some red on their offerings. Where watch companies have tried to differ (and I'm reaching here a little) is to create artistic zodiac-themed timepieces. For the impending Year of the Goat, we are being presented with a stableful of watches featuring the horned beasts that range from the risible to the wonderful, and in the latter category is the Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Goat (right). Counter-intuitively using the Japanese urushi technique of handmade lacquerwork, Chopard has been creating a quite glorious collection of Chinese zodiac watches over the years and this latest design is no exception. It's hard to not focus on the beauty of the dial, but the watch itself - in build, movement and design - is first class. The 18-carat gold case is sized at 39.5mm, which complements the black alligator-leather strap. Inside, the movement is an in-house L.U.C. 96.17-L with an impressive 65 hours of power reserve. Features are kept to a bare minimum, to give the dial more space to shine, but, in reality, this isn't meant to be a practical timepiece. A true collector's item, the watch is priced at HK$188,000. Before moving on to the next standout, an honourable mention should go to Vacheron Constantin, which didn't make the cut for my top three goat watches (I will never get to write the last bit of that sentence again). Panerai's Luminor 1950 Sealand 3 Days Automatic Acciaio Year of Goat (right) did make the list, however. The PAM848, to use its reference number rather than the absurdly long title, uses the same techniques and design seen in previous editions to great effect. This is the seventh time Panerai has created a special-edition zodiac watch and, once again, it's focused its artistry on the steel cover that sits over the main dial of the watch. The stylised engraving on the cover, handcrafted in Italy, is in keeping with all the previous iterations. The watch is sized at 44mm and features an in-house P.9000 movement with three days of power. Features are limited to date, small seconds and 100 metres of water resistance. Limited to 100 pieces, the PAM848 will likely be sold out or at least reserved by the time you've read this, as collectors are quite keen on this particular series of zodiac watches. Prices are available upon request. Finally, we have Piaget's latest Lunar New Year piece - the abruptly named Altiplano Chinese Zodiac Goat (right). Piaget has been making zodiac watches since 2012 and its focus has been on showcasing a mastery of the metiers d'art. The Altiplano Goat features cloisonné enamelling, which is incredibly difficult to master never mind render into arresting images of animals - in this case a rather proud and forceful-looking goat. The gold case is sized at 38mm and the bezel ringed with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds. Inside is an ultra-thin 430P in-house movement, so overall this watch is super-slim and slight on the wrist. Again, features are kept to a minimum and the strap is black alligator leather. The watch is available in white- or pink-gold versions, each of which is limited to 38 pieces. Prices are available upon request.