Four watches that celebrate the Year of the Wood Dragon

Considered one of the most favourable and influential years in the 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle, the Year of the Dragon is said to usher in a period of new beginnings, positive changes, and prosperity.

By Debbie Hathway

The Year of the Wood Dragon holds great cultural and symbolic significance in various Asian cultures, particularly Chinese astrology. Representing power, strength, and good fortune, the dragon is the only mythical creature in the Chinese zodiac. According to the House of Bovet, “Dragons are legends in so many civilisations, it’s hard to believe that they never really existed. The word ‘dragon’ comes from the Greek drákōn, which means ‘serpent’ or ‘water-snake’, and the earliest mythological dragons resemble snakes more than they do the monsters of Game of Thrones.”

People born in a Wood Dragon year are believed to inherit the creature’s qualities, which include leadership, charisma, and a pioneering spirit. The Japan Times highlights the wood element linked to spring, opening to personal growth and renewal. The Year of the Wood Dragon starts on February 10.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grisaille High Jewellery – Dragon

Vacheron Constantin’s new Les Cabinotiers Récits de Voyages range features one-of-a-kind timepieces reflecting the Manufacture’s geographical reach. The Les Cabinotiers Grisaille High Jewellery – Dragon watch pays homage to China, a country whose trade with the Manufacture dates to 1845. It showcases a green grisaille enamel dial – a first for Vacheron Constantin – and the mythical five-clawed imperial dragon accompanied as always by its pearl, an emblem of wisdom.

The art of grisaille enamelling, dating to the 16th century, accentuates the dragon’s details through chiaroscuro (contrasts of light and shadow). Breaking from tradition, the master enameller introduces a green tint to the translucent enamel, enhancing the mythical aura.

The 40mm 18K white gold case is adorned with 146 baguette-cut diamonds (7.1 carats).

For the first time, Vacheron Constantin combines their expertise in grisaille enamel and gemsetting. The Manufacture has not connected them in the past, preferring to spotlight the striking beauty and meticulous detail of the chiaroscuro atmospheres without distraction. However, Les Cabinotiers Grisaille High Jewellery – Dragon, introducing a green shade to the dial, inspired designers to experiment. Gemsetting the case was the natural choice to accentuate the desired effect of the enamelling technique and enhance its brilliance.

The watch is powered by Manufacture Calibre 1120, one of the thinnest self-winding movements, making this timepiece a remarkable fusion of artistry and precision.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Enamel ‘Dragon’

In creating the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Enamel ‘Dragon,’ master craftsmen from the Métiers Rares atelier engrave a majestic dragon into the reverse of the pink gold case. The dragon, surrounded by golden clouds, emerges from the glossy black Grand Feu enamel background, with its polished surfaces and finely detailed scales, highlighted with black rhodium. The contrasting sandblasted texture of the clouds catches and refracts light to enhance the illusion of movement and power. Using modelled engraving, the master engraver sculpts the metal with 10 differently sized chisels over 80 hours with requisite skill and precision.

The dial mirrors the opaque black Grand Feu enamel of the case back, featuring an elegant design with faceted appliqué hour-markers, chemin de fer minutes track, and Dauphine hands.

The seemingly simple black enamel, created through multiple layers and meticulous firing processes, requires extensive craftsmanship, totalling 24 working hours. Each masterpiece is made to order.

Bovet Recital 26 Chapter Two Golden Dragon

The Bovet Recital 26 Chapter Two celebrates the Year of the Dragon by integrating a solid 18K gold dragon, which symbolises power and success in Chinese culture. Some also believe this golden or yellow dragon can control time, a perfect fit for a timepiece displaying 24 time zones.

The creature is meticulously sculpted and hand-engraved by Bovet’s in-house artisans, taking 40 to 50 hours. Its eye is a fiery red ruby. The dragon is placed within the Writing Desk case, incorporating a domed blue quartz dial and complementing complications that include the patented Bovet flying tourbillon, world time indicator, and mother-of-pearl moon phase. The mother-of-pearl moon phase is positioned at 9 o’clock, revealed through the dragon’s coiled lower body, while its head and upper body rest on the flying tourbillon itself.

The Radial Guidance System ensures precise movement, while a linear indicator displays the five-day power reserve. Hours and minutes of local time are shown in the upper part of the case, while the dome at 3 o’clock displays a second time zone patented by the House and developed for this piece. In addition, this new indication offers the world time function, enabling the wearer to read the time in each of the 24 time zones simultaneously.

The Recital 26 Chapter Two Golden Dragon is limited to 12 pieces. 

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

The Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dragon features a dial adorned with Urushi lacquer, gold powder and mother-of-pearl inlays, handcrafted in Japan using the Maki-e technique. The Wood Dragon depicted on the dial, symbolising harmony with nature, resonates with Chopard’s respect for the environment.

Crafted by master artist Minori Koizumi, the dragon soars above a moody black background with vibrant red and yellow accents. Each of the 88 dials requires 20 hours of meticulous work. The traditional Maki-e technique involves placing gold flakes between layers of lacquer made from the sap of the Toxicodendron vernicifluum tree, which creates a stunning visual effect.

The extra-thin case made from ethical 18-carat rose gold houses the self-winding L.U.C 96.17-L movement with a micro-rotor providing a 65-hour power reserve.

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