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7 12 months of the Dragon Watches to Personal in 2024

7 12 months of the Dragon Watches to Personal in 2024

With the Lunar New Year fast approaching, it’s time to consider the symbolism of the Chinese zodiac creature it represents. Although in chivalric and Christian traditions the dragon is regarded as evil, in Eastern traditions it symbolises supernatural power, wisdom, strength and hidden knowledge. With its flaming breath, serpentine form and dynamic personality, the dragon – the fifth animal in the 12-year lunar cycle – embodies chaos and untamed nature.

Watchmakers have released Chinese zodiac models for years, but the majesty of the dragon has always been special. Crafts such as enamelling, engraving and gem-setting enable artisans to push the boundaries as they create miniature works of art that bring to life the creature’s powerful gaze, the feathery lightness of its scales and the elegant glide of its tail. And though in one way or another each resulting timepiece will represent the dragon’s form, it will invariably also reflect the watch brand’s own codes and signatures.

Chopard Year of the Dragon watch with Urushi lacquer dial
Chopard Year of the Dragon watch with Urushi lacquer dial

Since 2013, Chopard has greeted the Lunar New Year with a watch or, in some years, watches whose Urushi-lacquer dials bear a representation of the appropriate Chinese Zodiac animal. The latest L.U.C XP, which is available in a limited edition of 88 pieces, is noteworthy not only because it celebrates the ascendancy of that most auspicious of creatures, the Dragon, but also because it completes the full 12-animal cycle. As with all previous timepieces in the series, the dial was entrusted to the Japanese master artist Minori Koizumi, who specialises in the maki-e technique and, in a meticulous process that takes 20 hours for each individual piece, combines mother-of-pearl inlays, gold flakes, painting and numerous layers of lacquering to stunning effect.

The final result is housed in a 39.5mm case of ethical rose gold, while Chopard’s L.U.C 96.17-L self-winding twin-barrel movement, which is equipped with an off-centre 22K gold micro-rotor, provides a weekend-proof power reserve of around 65 hours. Marking the completion of the cycle of Urushi Chinese Zodiac watches, Chopard is also unveiling a wooden case that brings all 12 timepieces together in a spectacular display of horological artistry.

TAG Heuer Carrera Year of the Dragon Limited Edition
TAG Heuer Carrera Year of the Dragon Limited Edition

At TAG Heuer, to maintain the collection’s aesthetic, its designers placed the dragon on the caseback of the limited-edition Carrera Chronograph, which merges Chinese elements with the brand’s motorsport heritage. The watch’s rear sapphire features a printed Chinese dragon alongside the inscription “One of 300”, with a red alligator leather strap and matching dial accents completing the look.

Dior Grand  Soir CNY Dragon 2024
Dior Grand Soir CNY Dragon 2024

Dior has adopted a very different approach for its Grand Soir Dragon. The watch’s 36mm steel case houses a sunburst dial decorated with a golden dragon’s head and feathers, which is set with four round-cut and two marquise-cut diamonds. Faceted yellow gold minute and hour hands tell the time, while the straps are made from silver satin and white alligator, with diamond-studded steel ardillon buckles.

Piaget Altiplano Dragon Zodiac
Piaget Altiplano Dragon Zodiac

From Piaget’s sizeable range of Lunar New Year watches and jewellery, the 38mm Altiplano Zodiac references feature intricate cloisonné enamelling by the famous artist Anita Porchet, yet stand out for their elegant simplicity. A particularly modern and ebullient blue dragon swirls against a mother-of-pearl dial within a diamond-studded case, with gold engraving adding texture to the creature.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Year of the Dragon watch
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Enamel “Dragon”

Meanwhile, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s made-to-order Reverso Tribute Enamel “Dragon” is a testament to the maison’s vision of culture and creativity, in which artistic crafts are perfectly melded with technical expertise. On one side of the Reverso’s pink-gold swivel case, a flawlessly engraved dragon appears to leap out from the black Grand Feu enamel background, while on the reverse side of this classy timepiece, pink-gold hands tell the time on an equally Stygian dial. 

See Also

Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton Automatic Dragon watch
Hamilton Ventura Dragon watch

Hamilton’s three-sided Ventura design is probably not talked about enough in the industry, but with its latest iteration inspired by the Chinese Zodiac, there’s no better time than now to revisit this unique, mid-century-inspired watch that was designed by Richard Airbib in 1957 and worn by Elvis Presley in Blue Hawaii, Rod Serling in Twilight Zone, and perhaps more recently by Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in the Men in Black franchise. On the Ventura Dragon Skeleton, striking cutaways on the dial reveal the creature’s face tilted to its side, to fit the Ventura’s avant-garde case design.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers – Récits de Voyages
Vacheron Constantin Les
Cabinotiers – Récits de Voyages

And though Vacheron Constantin’s new Les Cabinotiers – Récits de Voyages isn’t strictly a Lunar New Year edition, it does reference China and the company’s long relationship with the country. The Grisaille High Jewellery – Dragon watch features a green grisaille enamel dial (a first for the house), which serves as an original backdrop to a five-clawed imperial dragon. An ultra-thin movement, baguette-cut diamonds on the case and green alligator strap complete the package.

Does a dragon on your watch make it more precious or the time more readable? Certainly not, but that doesn’t detract one iota from the delight of looking at your wrist and finding a mythical form representing strength and authority staring back at you in stern approval. 

Source: Prestige Online

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