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Keeping Time: The Year of the Dragon

As 2024 ramps up and the Year of the Dragon begins, we’re thinking about time. February 10th marks the official start of the Year of the Wood Dragon in the Lunar calendar. The lunar calendar follows a 60 year cycle– bringing us back to the Wood Dragon for the first time in over half a century.

Brands across industries are marking the occasion. While dragons can be spotted in fashion, packaging, and print, one area that’s really caught our eye is watch design. As designers, we have to strategize how to make sometimes extremely small spaces as compelling as possible– a business card, a sachet package, a little notebook. We tip our hats to watch designers, the masters of making the absolute tiniest area as visually rich as possible.

The dragon-themed watches represent not only the celebration of a new year but also embody the essence of thoughtful design – where every line, curve, and color serves a purpose, creating a harmonious and captivating visual narrative. Let’s take a moment to appreciate the shared values between these exquisite timepieces and our work as designers: precision, balance, and a relentless pursuit of beauty in the details.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grisaille High Jewellery


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Watches in celebration of Lunar year of the DragonThis stunning Vacheron features a dial with a grisaille enamel depiction of the Chinese imperial dragon. This technique of applying Limoges white enamel on a dark enamel base, layer by layer, creates a depth and chiaroscuro effect, enhancing the mythical allure of the dragon.


Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Enamel Dragon

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The Reverso’s history is rooted in the world of polo, where its reversible case was originally designed in 1931 to protect the watch crystal during matches. This functional aspect eventually opened up new avenues for artistic expression, as the reverse side of the watch offered a canvas for exquisite craftsmanship.


For the Year of the Dragon, Jaeger-LeCoultre has adorned the Reverso Tribute Enamel Dragon with a meticulously engraved dragon, enhanced by black rhodium and set against sandblasted clouds. The complex technique of modeled engraving used here is particularly challenging as it involves working on Grand Feu enamel, where any mistake could mean starting over. It takes the master engraver approximately 80 hours using 10 different-sized chisels to achieve the final result.


Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Titanium Dragon

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And now for something completely different! This unique timepiece, a collaboration between Hublot and Chinese artist Chen Fenwan, is a testament to the traditional art of paper cutting reimagined in a modern horological context. Chen Fenwan’s detailed, layered creative approach is evident in the way the dragon’s design integrates components of the dial and movement, including the cogs and Hublot’s signature H-shaped screws.

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The dragon’s head is rendered in 3D relief using five layers of appliqués in bright pink, blue, and frosted gray, offering a vivid and multi-dimensional aesthetic. Adding to the uniqueness of the watch is its strap, which showcases a dragon scale marquetry motif in vibrant colors.


IWC Portugieser Chronograph Year of the Dragon

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This more understated option from IWC plays on the Lunar New Year association with the color red. The dial is a captivating burgundy, commonly associated with the Lunar New Year in China and throughout Asia, believed to bring longevity and good luck.


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A unique feature of the Portugieser Chronograph Year of the Dragon is the gold-plated rotor in the shape of a dragon, visible through the sapphire glass case back.


Bell and Ross BR 05 Artline Dragon

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This intricate watch features detailed laser engraving that covers the entire watch, including the band, case, and dial. Graphic in black and white, it’s a nod to the ancient Chinese art of tattooing. Each link of the bracelet is individually engraved, ensuring a seamless flow of the pattern across the watch. The watch’s hands are filled with black lacquer and highlight the dragon’s whiskers.


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Incorporating elements from nature such as the sun, moon, and even a swallow motif, the BR 05 Artline Dragon is not just a timekeeper but also a carrier of cultural significance and mythological symbolism. The dragon design represents balance, bringing luck and symbolizing power in the world.

Whats your favorite timepiece? 



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