Year of the Dragon: Luxury Watches to Welcome the Lunar New Year

Another calendar year has arrived, and with that comes a brand-new Chinese Zodiac animal to celebrate. Let’s take a look at how some top watch brands on our radar are honouring the Year of the Dragon.

On February 10, 2024, the world will raise a glass to the Chinese New Year. This traditional celebration honours one of the 12 animals that made it to the finish line in the Great Race – a competition developed by the Jade Emperor to measure time. This year is an extra special one, as we ring in the Zodiac Year of the Dragon, an important spiritual reference and figure in Chinese culture. According to Chinese astrology, those born under the Dragon have a character that is active, determined, confident, resourceful and above all – fortunate. Let’s see this translated into wristwatches...

Making of the Arnold & Son Luna Magna & Perpetual Moon Watch

Arnold & Son Luna Magna & Perpetual Moon Watches

Swiss watchmaking brand Arnold & Son has released two new watch novelties to ring in the Year of the Dragon. The haute horlogerie house sought to incorporate the calm, determination, and power of the giant mythological reptile, both in physical form and spirit. The Luna Magna Year of the Dragon timepiece is available in two models, featuring an 18k red gold case in which a hand-engraved red gold dragon crawls around an opal hour dial set against an onyx or pietersite background. Each design is limited to eight editions and features a 3D moon phase that the dragon seems to clasp in its talons. The Perpetual Moon Year of the Dragon watch follows a similar design ethos on a more detailed canvas. A hand-engraved and hand-painted polished dragon with rose gold powder flies above a tree-topped landscape overlaid with Super LumiNova for added iridescence against a mother-of-pearl disc moon and a sparkling starry sky. Each scene is set against blue or black aventurine glass and is available in a limited edition of eight pieces.

Bell & Ross BR 05 Artline Dragon Watch 

The new BR 05 Artline Dragon timepiece by Bell & Ross embodies the bold personality of those born under the Year of the Dragon sign. Using exclusive laser engraving techniques, the entire front side of the timepiece is embellished with gadrooning – a popular border design in the mid-eighteenth to the nineteenth century commonly found in metalwork or silverware. Using the front surface of the watch as their canvas, artisans have created the image of a dragon, with the graphic codes linked to the art of tattooing, such as the sun and moon, as well as references to flora and fauna. Playing with light and shadow through the relative depth of each stroke of the laser, the dragon's body wraps around the stainless-steel bracelet, culminating at the heart of the dial where its detailed head can be seen, mouth open, framing the date complication. Limited to 99 pieces, this exclusive design announces a bold new design era for the watch brand.

Corum Bubble Dragon Watches

Avant-garde watch brand Corum has released two new models to honour the Year of the Dragon. Using its iconic Bubble model, which is inspired by a 1960’s diver’s watch, and its recognisable domed crystal cover, both watches focus on the dragon’s body from different perspectives. The first presents a graceful golden carved dragon hovering majestically over a black lacquered dial with a black sunray base reminiscent of an ominous night sky. The dragon seems to be moving towards a mother-of-pearl moon that sits between the legendary creature's claws. The second timepiece focuses on the strength of this indomitable animal, depicting the dragon’s eye on its dial. Crafted by hand using various metal casting techniques, the red enamel eye of the beast is surrounded by its gold leaf scales.

Harry Winston Chinese New Year Automatic 36mm

To celebrate the Chinese Year of the Dragon, the House of Harry Winston has created an exceptional timepiece whose case is as ornate as its dial. The Harry Winston Chinese New Year Automatic 36mm features a luxurious rose gold and diamond case that encircles the graceful figure of an imperial red dragon swimming in a sea of dreamy white mother-of-pearl clouds. The case is crafted in rose gold and is set with two rows of brilliant round-cut diamonds that seem to encircle one another. Both are topped with a pearl crown set at noon, adding a further air of opulence to the case. Inside the inner diamond circle of the case, you will find the soft pink and white world of the dragon. The dragon’s body, made of hand-carved gold scales filled with red lacquer, swerves in and out of the hand-carved mother-of-pearl clouds, chasing a single pearl, which it holds daintily in its mouth.

Harry Winston Chinese New Year Automatic 36mm watch in gold, mother-of-pearl, red lacquer and diamond

Jaquet Droz Imperial Dragon Automaton Red Gold – Cuprite

Swiss watch brand Jaquet Broz has a long-standing history with Chinese culture. This small family company from the remote town of La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland was one of the earliest official suppliers to the Imperial Court of China, 280 years ago. It is with this rich history and legacy in mind that Jaquet Droz created the Imperial Dragon Automaton timepiece, a red and gold hand-crafted work of art that celebrates the character of the dragon in Chinese folkore. This one-of-a-kind watch features a dragon figure in the image of the drawings by celebrated conceptual designer John Howe, most known for the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, which is crafted in gold, the red gem cuprite. The dragon slithers across the dial’s face displaying all the distinguishing Chinese dragon traits, including two moustache tendrils pointing upwards, a full beard and gently rounded teeth. What’s more, each of the creature’s scales on its body is hand-shaped and hand-patinated, giving a truly lifelike appearance to this epic creature.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Enamel ‘Dragon’

The Reverso model by Jaeger-LeCoultre is something we have fawned over many times before here at, but this edition is a truly spectacular one. To celebrate the Year of the Dragon, the Geneva-based watch brand has created a special edition Reverso timepiece that focuses on the majestic dragon figure. When swivelling the watchcase to its reverse side, a dragon surrounded by gold, enamel and sandblasted clouds is revealed. The figure is engraved on the watch case in pink gold accentuated with black rhodium detail, creating the illusion that the dragon is leaping out from the glossy Grand Feu black enamel background. Deceptively simple, creating this smooth black surface is one of the most challenging feats of artistry apparent on this timepiece. To create a black tone of such richness and depth took over five layers of enamel, each of which was fired and cooled, taking over 16 hours of work alone. The contrasting texture of the smooth background and the rough swirling clouds allows the light to refract against the two surface types, creating the illusion of movement.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Enamel ‘Dragon’ watch in gold and black enamel

Piaget’s Annual Lunar New Year Watch

In honour of the Lunar New Year, Piaget has launched four new high-jewellery watches. The first in this series is a new Altiplano High Jewellery Dagon watch that features a carved rose gold dragon as its focal point. The dragon clasps a mysterious round brilliant black opal in its talons, which matches its dark red enamel eyes. The dial background boasts a sunburst engraving finish, highlighted with bursts of elegant diamond sprays. The second timepiece is the new Piaget Emperador watch with a flying tourbillon mechanism surrounded by an engraved dragon set against a studded snow-set sapphire and diamond background. Each gem is set in gradation, creating the illusion that the dragon is slowly moving towards the wearer. The third style in this series is composed of two high-jewellery watches that play with the masculine form of the dragon and its female counterpart, the phoenix. A plumage of marquise-cut diamonds and rubies is assembled in an asymmetric motif around the case of the watch, creating the luscious feather train of the phoenix’s tail. The dial itself is a simple mother-of-pearl backdrop and is available in white or yellow gold finishing. Both watches have the Piaget Décor Palace finish, creating a silk feel to the watch bracelet. Finally, the high jewellery Cuff Secret watches embrace the iconic Piaget cuff style with the dragon or phoenix figure, the most opulent of which is set with a small watch mechanism hidden by a rubellite cabochon, surrounded by pink rubies, sapphires, cobalt, spinels and diamonds.

TAG Heuer Year of The Dragon Watches

Available in two colour ways, rose gold or steel, TAG Heuer’s Year of the Dragon timepieces pay homage to Chinese culture. The clean dials on both timepieces feature red lacquered Roman numerals as well as red rhodium-plated sub-dials, an important colour in Chinese culture heavily associated with luck, future and health. At six o’clock, a small drawing of a calligraphic dragon character is present, adding a subtle edge to the design whilst also honouring the importance of this mythical creature in Chinese culture and folklore, an emblem which can also be seen on the open work case at the back of both watch models.

Watchmakers the world over have embraced the Year of the Dragon. Whether it’s a simple and clean timepiece or an ornate bejewelled jewellery watch you are after, watchhouses have created a vast and varied selection of timepieces for you to choose from. Which one will you pick? I know mine!

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