Over the years, luxury watchmakers have manufactured some phenomenal collector’s pieces to celebrate Lunar New Year—just consider some of the elaborate and creative designs they dreamt up to ring in the Year of the Rabbit in 2023. As expected, the leading watch brands of the world did not disappoint when it came to the Year of the Dragon. Considered by many to be a highly auspicious and significant symbol in the Chinese zodiac calendar, the fabled dragon embodies strength, good fortune, ambition, and success. Perhaps wearing one such powerful creature on your wrist will bring just the right amount of luck for 2024.
Big Bang Titanium Dragon
Hublot teamed up with Chinese paper sculptor Chen Fenwan to create the Big Bang Titanium Dragon, a striking wristwatch limited to just 88 pieces—an auspicious choice for Lunar New Year. Celebrating the fusion of traditional art forms and modern craftsmanship, Chen’s exquisite take on the mythical creature is beautifully prominent on the vibrant dial, featuring a symmetrical, multi-dimensional Eastern dragon, while the unique rubber strap shows off a marquetry pattern echoing dragon scales. Encased in satin-finished titanium, the 42 mm timepiece runs on a HUB1710 self-winding movement with a power reserve of 50 hours.
L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dragon
Chopard carries on its annual tradition of Lunar New Year celebrations with an 18-carat rose-gold watch that puts the zodiac animal front and centre. Maki-e artisan Koizumi Minori, of the century-old Yamada Heiando Japanese lacquerware brand, once again exhibits his stunning urushi lacquer painting skills to create 88 radiant dials featuring a traditional dragon of gold and red contrasted against a night sky. Each piece takes the craftsman 20 hours to produce. His meticulous work is complemented by gilded dauphine hands and a slim 6.80 mm case.
As the latest release in the maison’s long-running L.U.C XP Urushi series, which began all the way back in 2013 with the Year of the Snake, the Year of the Dragon model completes the calendar cycle, giving collectors the opportunity to assemble a full set with all 12 watches.
Reverso Tribute Enamel “Dragon”
Jaeger-LeCoultre continues to impress us with its fine craftsmanship and grand feu enamelling techniques. In time for the Year of the Dragon, the Swiss watchmaker has created a sleek black and pink-gold Reverso embellished with an engraved dragon soaring above the clouds, its scales highlighted with rhodium. 80 hours of exacting work went into the chiselling of the creature to tease its shape out of the enamel coating. On the dial, Jaeger-LeCoultre plays it safe with dauphine hands, a chemin de fer minutes track, and dagger hour markers.
Portugieser Chronograph Year of the Dragon
For the Year of the Wood Dragon, IWC Schaffhausen presents a limited-edition release of its iconic Portugieser Chronograph, done up in a festive and fetching shade of burgundy on the front with an open caseback design on the reverse that shows off the IWC-manufactured 69355 movement and an engraved rotor in the shape of a dragon. It comes with two watch straps—black calfskin and red rubber—with butterfly clasps and is limited to 1,000 pieces.
Arnold & Son
Luna Magna Year of the Dragon
We’re not one to pick favourites when it comes to decorative horology, especially when there is such magnificent artistry at play, but there’s a special place in our hearts reserved for Arnold & Son’s Luna Magna Year of the Dragon. Simply put, it is a stunning example of intricate craftsmanship. Available in two references, each limited to just eight timepieces, the 44 mm watch is composed of red gold and either blue-veined pietersite or smooth onyx, and depicts “an encounter between a dragon and the moon,” as per the brand. Sitting slightly off-centre, a white-opal dial indicates the hours and minutes. A large moon-phase indicator is surrounded by the mythical creature in question, which astonishes with its high level of hand-engraved details, from the tip of its tail to the curves of its horns and claws. Arnold & Son’s A&S1021 calibre, visible through the open caseback, offers 90 hours of power reserve.
The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac—Year of the Dragon
First presented at Watches and Wonders Shanghai in September 2023, Vacheron Constantin’s latest addition to its Legend of the Chinese Zodiac collection revisits the expert techniques used on previous Lunar New Year editions for another remarkable duo in deep blue and platinum, and brown and pink gold. Painstakingly sculpted to feature some 300 individual scales, the three-dimensional engraving of the serpentine dragon stands out in relief against the enamelled dial, composed of abstract clouds and curving lines depicting air flow. Following the same display architecture as previous iterations, four apertures serve to indicate the date, day, and time; the 40 mm beauty ticks along on a 2460 G4 automatic movement.
Vanguard Dragon Slim Skeleton Limited Edition
Franck Muller has reimagined its trademark Vanguard design with a Chinese zodiac twist. Available in three references—Rouge, Vert, and the whimsical “Colour Dreams”—the tonneau-shaped case of the Vanguard Dragon Slim Skeleton Limited Edition is set with pavé diamonds, while the transparent or tinted back provides a window into the mechanism of the timepiece, revealing an intricate, dragon-shaped rotor that wraps around the movement.
It could prove difficult finding one of these rare gems—according to the luxury watchmaker, each reference is limited to 10 pieces, available exclusively in Asia-Pacific.