And now CELADON presents our next generation military watch…
CODENAME : Yue Fei
With this watch, it is our privilege to honour the great Song dynasty general Yue Fei (1103-1142 AD), Commander-in-Chief of the armies of Southern Song, loyal general, and patriot.
Yue Fei, who held the highest rank of Grand Marshal (大元帅) in the Chinese military, singlehandedly turned the tide of war against the invading Jurchen barbarians who had brought a wave of destruction across Northern China at that time. After decades of uninterrupted mayhem, the Jurchen were utterly defeated by Yue Fei’s troops and pushed back to the steppes, and were ultimately forced to make peace with the Song dynasty.
Apart from being a military prodigy, Yue Fei was also a man of great character, one who loved the people and acted always with humility and compassion even in battle. His skill and character are indeed a model for our time, when China faces similar threats to her peace and security as then.
As a Grand Marshal’s watch, the Yue Fei will not be designed as a bland, utilitarian tool, but will espouse characteristic Chinese elegance and grandeur. Similar to how military uniforms and armour of the Song dynasty would have been more ornate and impressive than modern military dress, yet still no less practical and functional in actual battle, our Yue Fei is conceived with that aesthetic in mind, a watch that Yue Fei would have worn had CELADON existed a thousand years ago. In fact the world’s first clock, built by the inventor Su Song, did indeed exist during Yue Fei’s time but was looted by the Jurchens when they sacked the Northern Song capital. When the Jurchens brought the dismantled clock back to their capital they were unable to piece it back together due to its complexity.
Nonetheless, the Yue Fei is no wallflower, and is certainly built with robustness and practicality in mind. As with the Imperial, the milled steel two-piece case guarantees the highest standard of water resistance and case integrity. The lume will ensure that the Yue Fei remains readable in the dark. And the statement on the dial that China desires only Peace Under Heaven reminds the commander of his ultimate objective in war.
The three renders shown below represent a preliminary stage of design. What has been concretised is this -
1. The Yue Fei will utilise a newly-designed 40mm steel case, in the same signature shape of the Imperial with teardrop lugs.
2. The Yue Fei will come in two colours - Midnight Blue (50 pieces) and Suzhou Grey (50 pieces). The latter will have blued steel hands and dial signature as an option. Note that the renders are shown in plain white for now in order to illustrate the design clearly.
3. The luminous dots used in the third render will be found under all the hour markers, along with the tri-faceted baton markers.
4. The Guan Dao hands will also carry lume.
Here are a few details that are still under consideration -
1. The Guan Dao motif (the Chinese heavy halberd wielded by generals in the field) might be used as hands, in which case they will be shrunk in proportion and the end of the Guan Dao away from the blade will function as the pointer, while the blade will be the tail of the watch hand), or they will be used as a guilloche graphic in the centre of the dial as is shown in the first render.
2. If the Guan Dao motif is used as hands, we will replace the centre guilloche with either an animal graphic (to represent Chinese military rank) or a 帥 character in Traditional Script (this character would be seen on standards carried in the field to represent the army of a Grand Marshal).
3. We will keep the four characters 天下太平 (Peace Under Heaven) where they are on the render, or shift them elsewhere on the dial, or replace them with 尽忠报国 (To Repay the Nation with Utmost Loyalty, the four characters that Yue Fei’s mother famously tattooed on his back to remind him of his duty to the nation). We may also engrave 尽忠报国 directly on the SB18 movement on the back to echo this scene.
The characters 天下太平 will be embossed on the dial, which will maximise the “flow” and elegance of the Chinese characters, resembling calligraphic strokes. The hour markers and our CELADON dial signature will be applied as with the Imperial. Use of these two dial production techniques, along with our high-quality guilloche, will truly display the virtuosity of Chinese dial design, a characteristic that vintage Chinese watches have always exemplified.