The Best Dragon-themed Watches For Chinese New Year 2024

Metiers d’art timepieces that celebrate the coming year’s Chinese zodiac sign with unparalleled artistry.
by Charmian Leong and Lynette Koh
dragon watches

Photos: Vacheron Constantin, Arnold & Son

1. Vacheron Constantin: Les Cabinotiers Grisaille Dragon

Photo: Vacheron Constantin

As a tribute to the countries Vacheron Constantin expanded into in its early history, the Les Cabinotiers — Recits de Voyages collection is a series of multicultural one-offs. Included in the stunning lineup is an ode to China, with a five-clawed dragon realised in grisaille enamel. The 16th-century technique uses white enamel on a dark enamel base to emphasise the interplay of light and shadow without the use of vibrant colours, but this is the first time the brand has used green enamel to achieve this effect, and is also its first grisaille watch to be gem-set.

Photo: Vacheron Constantin

The 40mm case in 18K white gold sparkles with 146 baguette-cut diamonds on the bezel, case middle, and lugs, totalling 7.1 carats, with a reverse-set brilliant-cut diamond accenting the crown. Its slim profile, courtesy of the self-winding in-house Calibre 1120, maintains a sleek overall thickness of just 8.9mm. Complementing the dial is a glossy dark green alligator strap fastened with a white gold pin buckle set with 16 baguette-cut diamonds.

2. Piaget: 41mm Altiplano High Jewellery Dragon

dragon watches

Photo: Piaget

A properly executed metiers d’art watch is nothing short of awe-inspiring, and when you have enamel extraordinaire Anita Porchet leading the design, you can be guaranteed of exquisite results. Here she uses paillone enamel to create a dynamic sunburst effect on the engraved dial to serve as the backdrop for a gold engraved dragon. The beast’s eyes are crafted from red lacquer, while the orb it is grasping is made from iridescent black opal. Limited to eight pieces.

3. Jaquet Droz: Dragon Automaton Sapphire – Lapis Lazuli

Photo: Jaquet Droz

Jaquet Droz’s two-year old Dragon Automaton makes a timely comeback in a new sapphire crystal case and lapis lazuli dial — well-suited for those who tire of the warmth of traditional lunar new year colours. The dragon’s design comes from the mind of John Howe, best known for his illustrations for J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series. Considered one of the brand’s most complex creations thanks to 16 moving parts and nine animations, the Dragon Automatons are made-to-order, with each one being a unique piece.

4. Jaeger-LeCoultre: Reverso Tribute Enamel “Dragon”

dragon watches

Photo: Jaeger-LeCoultre

The Reverso’s swivelling construction makes it ideal for those who prefer a peek-a-boo approach with their artistic dials. On the front, a black Grand Feu enamel dial showcases applied pink gold hour markers and dauphine hands, exuding effortless elegance. The flip side reveals the same glossy enamel base, but is embellished with a gold dragon that required 10 differently sized chisels and 80 hours of meticulous work to sculpt. This, too, will be crafted only upon request.

5. Chopard: L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dragon

dragon watches

Photo: Chopard

Having launched the first model of the L.U.C XP Urushi series, the Snake edition, back in 2013, Chopard now comes full circle with a new metiers d’art timepiece dedicated to the Dragon. With 2024 being the year of the Wood Dragon, master artist Minori Koizumi — of the century-old company Yamada Heiando — has produced 88 dials using the traditional maki-e lacquer technique.

Photo: Chopard

The dial’s sparkling black background is created by placing gold flakes between layers of lacquer made from the sap of the Toxicodendron vernicifluum tree. The self-winding watch comes in a rose gold case with a diameter of 39.5mm and a thickness of just 6.8mm.

6. Arnold & Son: Luna Magna Red Gold “Year of the Dragon”

Photo: Arnold & Son

We love a tableau that tells a story, and that’s what’s happening on the dial of Arnold & Son’s Dragon-themed Luna Magna watches. Inspired by Chinese folklore, a highly tactile scene features an outsize, three-dimensional moon, an Arnold & Son signature, which here also represents the pearl of wisdom. Endless chasing the pearl is a dragon, engraved from solid red gold. Housed in 44mm red gold cases, the Luna Magma Red Gold “Year of the Dragon” features two dial variants made from different hard stone: One features blue, veined pietersite (above), while the second features glossy black onyx (below).

Photo: Arnold & Son


7. Harry Winston: Chinese New Year Automatic 36mm

Photo: Harry Winston

Harry Winston’s Dragon-honouring watch for Chinese New Year comes in a striking case with a crown at 12 o’clock that is crafted from gold and topped with a gleaming white pearl. Presented in a 36mm rose gold case, the eight-piece limited edition features a magnificent scene. Surrounded by a double row of diamonds — there are 174 brilliant-cut diamonds on this watch in all — a red lacquered Chinese dragon frolics in expertly sculpted fluffy three-dimensional clouds. The time display is made from mother-of-pearl, painted to resemble a twilight sky.

8. Corum: Bubble 47 Dragon Eye

Photo: Corum

If you have watched enough fantasy movies, you will know that few things get a viewer’s heart racing faster than the slow opening of a sleepy (but fearsome) dragon’s delightfully beady eyes. And then, there is the Chinese idiom, hua long dian jing. Literally translating to painting a dragon and dotting its eyes, the phrase refers to the finishing touches that bring a piece of art to life. The Corum Bubble 47 Dragon Eye zooms in on said peepers with a highly dimensional dial that is made using metal casting, before being coloured by hand. Topping a 47mm watch made of black PVD steel, the Bubble watch’s signature exceptionally domed sapphire creates a magnifying effect, further emphasising the dragon’s compelling gaze.

This story originally published on The Peak Singapore.

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