In Chinese astrology, those born under the sign of the Dragon are celebrated for their energy, strength, confidence, intelligence, and generosity. Dragons are known to initiate grand endeavours and keep them running, promising luck, prosperity, and economic success.
And, as 2024 is a year when the Dragon reigns supreme, watch aficionados can celebrate this auspicious occasion with timepieces that capture the essence of the Wood Dragon (the Dragon representing the animal zodiac, while Wood is the element associated with the year, the others being Gold, Water, Fire and Earth).
The Chinese dragon, unlike its Western counterparts, is seen as a benevolent symbol, representing courage and adventure.
People born in the Year of the Dragon, which begins on February 9, are believed to embody these traits, and the list of famous individuals born under this zodiac sign is impressive – from John Lennon, Andy Warhol and Keanu Reeves, to Bruce Lee, Martin Luther King Jr. and Maya Angelou.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest brands are keen to capitalise on watches that capture the spirit of this auspicious year. But, while the dragon takes centre stage in the world of timepieces, it’s essential to recognise the cultural nuances surrounding Lunar New Year gift-giving.
In Chinese culture, the phrase ‘giving a clock’ sounds like ‘attending a funeral ritual’ and, as an added reminder, watches literally symbolise the passing of time.
Despite these cultural taboos, however, the watch industry continues to dedicate attention to Lunar New Year releases, and collectors eagerly embrace these limited-edition treasures.
Arnold & Son
Perpetual Moon 41.5 Red Gold ‘Year of the Dragon’ and Luna Magna ‘Year of the Dragon’
A rose-gold flying dragon and mother-of-pearl moon are at the heart of two new Perpetual Moon models, each made in an edition of eight pieces. Set against a backdrop of blue or black aventurine, are stone pines, night sky constellations and the majestic dragon.
A moonphase indicator is shown on the caseback. Within the 41.5mm red-gold case is the double-barrelled, manually-wound A&S1512 calibre. Launched alongside the Perpetual Moon is the Luna Magna Red Gold ‘Year of the Dragon’ (pictured), also produced in two editions of eight.
The watches feature large dials in pietersite or onyx plus a large moon and dragon in red gold. The off-centre hours and minutes subdial is in white opal. The Luna Magna is powered by the A&S1021 calibre with 90-hour power reserve.
Bell & Ross
BR 05 Artline Dragon
A brand more usually associated with utilitarian tool watches, Bell & Ross employs a freer hand with the BR 05 Artline range showing its more flamboyant side.
Using a technique that has been employed by several brands over the years, the watch case and bracelet have been treated to laser engraving resulting in a tattoo-style design.
The first time such a graphic design has been used by the brand, the play of light and shadow emphasises the elements of nature that serve as a backdrop to the mythical dragon.
The BR 05 Artline Dragon features a BR-CAL.321 self-winding mechanical movement with a 54-hour power reserve.
Time indications are placed on the flange so as not to detract from the design. Just 99 pieces of the intricate 40mm BR 05 Artline Dragon will be made in celebration of the Lunar New Year to be sold exclusively in Bell & Ross boutiques and e-boutiques.
Villeret Traditional Chinese Calendar
Blancpain’s first Chinese Calendar wristwatch was introduced in 2012, meaning that in 2024, the brand is entering its second 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. The watch, that reveals both the Chinese calendar and a Gregorian date and moonphase, features an engraved dragon on the red-gold winding rotor, while the 45mm gold case frames a green enamel dial.
The Chinese calendar is displayed via three subdials at 12, 3 and 9 o’clock, plus windows for the Zodiac and leap month. The Gregorian date is indicated via a serpentine hand and the moonphase is represented at 6 o’clock.
Five years in development, the 50 pieces of this special collection are powered by Blancpain’s uber-complex Calibre 3638.
Récital 26 Chapter Two Golden Dragon
The golden or yellow dragon is central to Chinese mythology and is the main aesthetic element of Bovet’s most recent Récital 26 Chapter Two, which shows all 24 time zones around the world.
The solid-gold dragon is incorporated into Bovet’s famed ‘writing desk’ case between the domed hour and minutes subdial, the world time hemispheric subdial, the mother-of-pearl moonphase and the flying tourbillon.
The dragon itself is hand-engraved before a fiery-red ruby is set into the eye and the beast is then assembled around the dial.
Within the 46.5mm red-gold case is the award-wining Calibre 17DM06-DT movement with a five-day power reserve from a single barrel.
L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dragon
One of the horological highlights of every Lunar New Year is Chopard’s limited-edition (usually 88 pieces) Urushi model. For 2024, the house revisits the ancient Japanese art of maki-e lacquer to reproduce a majestic dragon.
Executed at the Yamada Heiando studio by master artist Minori Koizumi, a golden dragon, clutching the pearl of wisdom that represents knowledge and spiritual energy, leaps through a night sky where gold flakes are sandwiched between layers of lacquer made from the sap of the Toxicodendron vernicifluum tree.
Housed in a 39.5mm ethical rose-gold case, the watch is powered by the ultra-slim L.U.C 96.17-L calibre with micro-rotor.
Bubble x 2
Corum’s most imaginative watch design, the Bubble, which was born out of Severin Wunderman’s fascination with 1960s diving helmets, is celebrating the new year with not one but two dedicated watches.
The black sunray dial of the Bubble 47 Dragon (pictured) evokes a night sky punctuated by a mother-of-pearl moon. Above the dial hovers a golden dragon. In a nod to previous Bubbles, the Bubble 47 Dragon Eye, features a hand-crafted, relief metal eye surrounded by golden scales magnified by the domed sapphire crystal of the watch.
Both models are limited to 88 pieces and are equipped with the CO 082 automatic movement and a vulcanised rubber strap.
Grand Soir Year of the Dragon
Since its inception in 2012, the Grand Soir collection has seamlessly fused the distinctive design language of Dior with the meticulous craftsmanship inherent in the brand’s watchmaking.
Representing a captivating homage to ultra-femininity and a vivid celebration of colour and texture, these watches elegantly unveil their intricacies with a refined artistry.
Featuring a 36mm steel case, housing an automatic Zenith Elite movement, this new limited-edition model celebrates the beauty and strength of the Wood Dragon, bringing the beast to life in a blaze of yellow gold, accentuated with diamonds and colour-matched feathers.
Ventura Skeleton Dragon
Released in 1957, and a horological rock star since it was first spotted on Elvis Presley in Blue Hawaii, Hamilton’s Ventura has revealed its inaugural Lunar New Year watch for 2024 with this bold cutaway dragon design.
Revealing a stylised and geometric dragon’s face, the Ventura Dragon Skeleton is available in two versions – a rose-gold PVD case with black dial and green dragon eyes, or a black PVD model with flame red eyes.
Both are powered by the self-winding H-10-S movement with 80-hour power reserve and Nivachron balance spring. The watches are presented on black rubber straps with a 3D dragon scale pattern.
Moments Chinese New Year Automatic 36mm
In 2024, Harry Winston is celebrating Lunar New Year with a dedicated watch in a 36mm rose-gold case with a pearl-topped crown positioned at 12 o’clock. The dial is decorated with an imperial red dragon – his golden scales coated with red lacquer – emerging through fluffy white mother-of-pearl clouds, the pearl of wisdom in his jaws.
The watch is the first in a new collection called Harry Winston Moments, showcasing a gem-set double bezel set. Within the case is a Swiss automatic movement. Just eight pieces of this exceptional jewellery watch will be made and will be presented in an octagonal Chinese Temple-inspired box.
Spirit of Big Bang Titanium Dragon
Designed in collaboration with Chinese artist Chen Fenwan, Hublot’s Lunar New Year watch takes inspiration from the Chinese art of paper cutting – a craft that has been on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2009.
The illusion of the eastern dragon is achieved through layering of the watch hands, gears and screws to form a 3D silhouette of the beast – the symbolism continuing onto the marquetry rubber strap that represents the dragon’s scales.
In Hublot’s interpretation, nine different animal characteristics are combined – from the eyes of a prawn and the whiskers of a catfish, to the horns of a deer and the claws of an eagle. Housed in a tonneau-shaped, 42mm Spirit case, the watch (in an edition of 88 pieces) houses a HUB1710 automatic movement with a power reserve of 50 hours.
Portugieser Chronograph Year of the Dragon (ref. IW371629)
Classic, slim and elegant, this 41mm steel Portugieser, limited to 1,000 pieces, features a burgundy dial with gold-plated hands and applied indices. While the subtle red face is a nod to the East, turning the watch over reveals the Calibre 69355 column-wheel movement via a sapphire caseback.
The golden winding rotor takes the form of a dragon and the caseband is engraved with: “2024 Year of the Dragon”. The watch is presented with a pair of straps – one in black calfskin, the other in burgundy rubber – and is available from IWC boutiques, authorised retail partners, or online at IWC.com.
In addition, the timepiece is eligible for registration under the My IWC care programme, benefitting from a six-year extension to the standard two-year International Limited Warranty.
Reverso Tribute Enamel Dragon
A JLC favourite since 1931, thanks to its swivelling head the Reverso has long offered plenty of scope for personalisation with enamelling and engraving. For Lunar New Year 2024, Jaeger-LeCoultre has introduced a new pink-gold, métiers d’art timepiece bearing the image of a mighty dragon emerging from Grand Feu enamel clouds.
The dragon is created in JLC’s in-house atelier through an 80-hour long process known as ‘modelled engraving’ – involving the use of 10 different chisels – over Grand Feu enamel. Turned to dial-side, there is the same black enamel as the caseback, while the simplicity of the face is a stark contrast to the powerful image on the reverse.
Applied hour-markers, a chemin de fer minute track and Dauphine hands, complete the deceptively simple look. Within the case is the manually wound Calibre 822.
Lunar New Year Capsule Collection
Piaget’s Lunar New Year Capsule Collection is dedicated to the masculine and feminine energies of the dragon and the phoenix. The dragon takes centre stage in two 38mm Altiplano Zodiac references, featuring intricate cloisonné enamelling by Anita Porchet.
The blue dragon and the phoenix, depicted in red, pink, and orange hues, are brought to life with gold engraving, adding depth and dimensionality. These watches, limited to 38 pieces each, showcase a modern and vibrant expression of the Lunar New Year.
The collection also includes four new high jewellery watches – a 41mm Altiplano High Jewellery Dragon watch, a dragon-emblazoned Emperador featuring a flying tourbillon and two Phoenix High Jewellery watches.
Dragon In… collection
A brand that has celebrated the symbolism of Lunar New Year for many editions, for 2024 Swatch has introduced an entire collection of affordable tributes to the mighty dragon. Inspired by the neon lights of Asian cities, the collection symbolises power, strength, and luck in five models raging in size from 34mm to 47mm.
Base colours vary from the black background of Dragon in Wind to the blue of Dragon in Waves, the semi-transparent white of Dragon in Cloud, and the golden plated steel of Dragon in Motion and Dragon in Gold.
All of the watches are water-resistant to 30 metres and are presented in cube-shaped packaging, which repeats the colours and designs of the watches within.
Carrera Chronograph, Year of the Dragon x 2
TAG Heuer has produced two versions of the Carrera to celebrate Lunar New Year – one in steel, the other in gold. The steel version of the watch boasts a sunray-brushed silver dial while the face of the gold model is pink-gold plated.
Both are adorned with rhodium- and pink-gold plated indices and fiery red lacquer.
A ‘reverse panda’ effect is achieved through the red chronograph subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock, which echo the colour of the central seconds hand. The caseback features a printed Chinese dragon around the sapphire glass plus engravings confirming ‘Limited Edition’ and ’One of 300’ for the steel version and ‘One of 50’ for the gold.
The watch is powered by the Calibre Heuer 02, visible through the sapphire back and is presented on a red alligator-leather strap.
Blast Tourbillon Dragon
The Blast Tourbillon, introduced in 2020, can turn its face to any opportunity, and the Lunar New Year is no exception. To mark the occasion, Ulysse Nardin is highlighting the skills of its métiers d’art team with the creation of a dragon that prowls across the skeletonised X structure of the dial.
The dragon is hand-sculpted in rose gold and painted. It has five claws – a form that, according to Ulysse Nardin, could only be used by the Emperor and the royal family while the rest of the population had to use depictions of a four-clawed creature.
The dragon is guarding the tourbillon carriage of the UN-172 movement at 6 o’clock, which features the pearl of wisdom at its centre. A total of 88 watches will be produced.
Lunar Triple Watch Roll Year of the Dragon 2024
Finally, if any of the above appeal, they will need somewhere to be stored and WOLF 1834 has the solution in the form of a triple watch roll made in ‘vegan leather’ and adorned with intricate black dragon embroidery.
A nod to the colour of luck, the dragon has a red eye and the Ultrasuede interior features a crimson hue. Within the roll is a secret capsule that allows the owner to hide special treasures or lucky charms.