11 Asian watch designs for the year of the dragon 2012

2012 is the Year of the Dragon so here is a collection of recently released watches showcasing Asian watch designs and manufacturing techniques.

The sign of the dragon, considered the most favorable of the lunar calendar, is synonymous with power and wealth.

According to legend, the Chinese understand themselves as descendants of the dragon and the dragon year-born children receive the same properties as the dragon itself – intelligence, kindness and being both strong and fair.

An annual increase of 18% of sales of luxury goods in China is expected by 2015, then that will reach 27 billion dollars, or one fifth of global sales

These special editions are designed primarily to increase the popularity and aura of these brands with Asian clients.

Cornelius and Cie


cornelius and cie dragon watch 11 Asian watch designs for the year of the dragon 2012
Cornelius and Cie dragon watch

Cornelius and Cie the brainchild of watch engraver Kees Engelbarts specialize in hand engraving and the art of Mokume-Gane.

Their latest release is a tourbillon watch made from Damascus steel and depicting an imperial dragon.

The dragon has been cut from solid gold and hand engraved. To enhance the depth of its decorative effect the dragon has also been silver plated and oxidized.

The 44mm case is water-resistant to 30-meters and has been etched using a highly corrosive acid called “aqua regia”. The double-barrel movement has a power reserve of 120 hours and both top and bottom of the watch are fitted with glare-proofed sapphire crystals.



Richard Mille

richard mille dragon watch 11 Asian watch designs for the year of the dragon 2012
Richard Mille Jackie Chan dragon watch

Richard Mille has joined forces with Jackie Chan to promote their watch devoted to the Year of the Dragon.

The watch’s interesting aspects include the movements base-plate which is made from onyx, a stone that is thought to protect against negative thoughts.

The coloured scales and engraving of the dragon grip the tourbillon bridge in one of its claws.
Adding a novel touch the engraved Jackie Chan signature set into the black Onyx baseplate rotates once every 60 seconds in time with the tourbillon.

Available in 18K red or white gold the RM057 is a limited edition of 36 pieces



Grieb & Benzinger


Grieb and Benzinger Blue Dragon watch
Grieb and Benzinger Blue Dragon watch

The studio of Benzinger Boutique by Grieb & Benzinger at the request of their Chinese partners have come up with something very special: the “Year of the Dragon” editions.

The new dragon collection combines Chinese mythology and the crafts of Grieb & Benzinger for which the watchmakers are known.

All watches have been skeletonized by hand and have guilloche engraving . This collection is probably the most expensive watch series dedicated to the year of the dragon. The collection consists of 8 models with an edition of 8 pieces each. The “8” is considered to be the lucky number in China.

The prices of the “dragon” watches range of 32,500 up to 65,000 €.





Panerai Luminor Sealand Year of The Dragon Edition
Panerai Luminor Sealand Year of The Dragon Edition


Panerai has released a 50 piece limited edition to celebrate the Year of the Dragon called the Panerai Luminor Sealand – The Year of The Dragon Edition. Panerai has released a Chinese Zodiac special edition watch since 2009.

Chinese paper cutting art inspired the watch’s design. The protective cover of the watch has been engraved with a piercing dragon, created by master craftsmen who have been collaborating with Panerai for a number of years. The technique uses a complicated process requiring one hundred hours to complete.

The watch is equipped with OP III self-winding movement, C.O.S.C. 44mm in case diameter, made from one piece metal, AISI 316L steel and brushed.



Vacheron Constantin


Vacheron Constantin Carp watch
Vacheron Constantin Carp watch

The Symbolique des Laques series of watches by Vacheron Constantin is available over three years, each year giving birth to a new set of three watches in a limited series of twenty copies.
They employ the sophisticated Japanese technique of lacquering called Maki-e mastered by only a few craftsmen.

The latest are dedicated to the underwater world. Watches “Kame Kaeru Koi” depict animals selected from the immense symbolic heritage of artistic traditions of the Far East. Incarnations of longevity, luck and strength; the turtle, frog and carp distill their virtues in the waters of the stylishly lacquered dials. Shown is the model dedicated to the Carp.

An ambassador of perseverance, the carp is celebrated for his courage and determination. Many Chinese and Japanese legends praise its ability to navigate the course of rivers and waterfalls, despite the often very strong currents.

Its association with waterfalls symbolizes strength and will, and on the face of the watch a carp moves gracefully in the midst of turbulent waters.

No less than four months are needed to achieve each piece. There are sapphire windows on both sides of the watches so you can admire the exceptional finishing.



Jaquet Droz

Jaquet Droz dragon watch
Jaquet Droz dragon watch

For the year of the dragon Jaquet Droz honors the mythological creature with their Petite Heure Minute Dragon. With this model Jaquet Droz also celebrates the more than 30 years of successful cooperation between the watchmaker and China.

Jaquet Droz are known for their mastery of the glaze and the delicacy of their paintings on enamel. On a Grand Feu enamel ivory background, two dragons fight for a gem, the dramatic scene occupies the free space on the 43mm dial. Some touches of red further reinforce the image of supernatural power.

The classic elegance of Roman numerals fits discreetly in the dialogue between East and West.
The Petite Heure Minute Dragon is limited to only 88 copies. Each timepiece is individually numbered, has a power reserve of 68 hours and is water resistant to 30 meters.




Piaget dragon watch
Piaget dragon watch

Piaget distinguishes itself by allocating a score of watches mainly for the Chinese market.

Worked in a wide palette of gray, Piaget brought together its most talented artisans, designers, watchmakers, goldsmiths, setters, engravers and enamelers to create the 24 models in the collection, blending artistry and craftsmanship.

Piaget uses the combination of the dragon and phoenix in Chinese culture because it represents the union of masculine and feminine elements, yang and yin, strength and wisdom and symbolizes cosmic harmony. It is also supposed to give the bearer prosperity.

In the West, the Dragon is considered a magical creature known for its wisdom and strength. The Phoenix, King of the Birds and symbol of purity, is a legendary animal with elegance and beauty unsurpassed, its revered for its nobility and loyalty.

A gala dinner in Beijing marked the unveiling of the collection.



Ulysse Nardin

Ulysse Nardin
Ulysse Nardin

The Classico Enamel Champleve Dragon watch by Ulysse Nardin uses the art of enameling to adorn the dial with a dragon.

The beauty of the dial is the result of the devotion of Ulysse Nardin to the lost art of enameling and a refined decorative technique that requires a high level of craftsmanship: currently, only a couple of famous watchmakers such as Ulysse Nardin are able to produce such work.

Fruit of a very long and complex process of forging each dial is an exceptional creation combining multiple colors produced from different metal oxides.

A sapphire crystal case-back sealed with screws that ensure water resistance to 50 meters below shows the inside of this timepiece with an automatic movement A-815. It has a power reserve of 42 hours and comes with a COSC certificate.

The Ulysse Nardin Classic Dragon has a diameter of 40 mm and is available in white gold or 18 carat rose gold, in a special series limited to only 30 copies.




Chopard Urushi Watch
Chopard Urushi Watch

Chopard have released a series of pieces created in collaboration with the Japanese master and “living national treasure”, Masumura Kiichiro. The concept of “Living National Treasure” was developed in 1950 by the Japanese government and is used to define those who help preserve heritage.

These creations embody the traditional techniques of Urushi and Maki-e lacquer work.

Urushi is an ancient Japanese art of lacquering. The varnish is achieved through the sap of the Urushi tree, also called “lacquer tree” or “Japanese varnish,” which grows mainly in Japan and China. The harvesting of the resin, a bit like rubber from the rubber tree, can only be once a year, in very small quantities.

Three to five years after its collection, the resin is processed into a highly resistant coating of honey-like consistency. It is then applied in layers very thin, traditionally on everyday objects, such as bowls or boxes.

The three dials are a peacock, a goldfish, and the jungle. Each piece, meticulously painted by hand, is unique and offers a host of new details, full of great poetry.

The low-profile rose gold housings are 39.5 mm in diameter and 6.8 mm thick and feature mechanisms with 65 hours power reserve.

16 770 €

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