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13 of the Best Year of the Dragon Watches for Chinese New Year 2024

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Enamel Dragon

Compared with the Year of the Rabbit, the Year of the Dragon starts fairly late in 2024 on February 2024. As the annual tradition goes, a whole swath of watchmakers have released celebratory watches to coincide with the next cycle of the Chinese zodiac. What that means is a whole host of timepieces dedicated to and depicting dragons.

Dragons symbolise success, fortune and growth, which frankly we could all do with after the past few years. Historically the mythological creature has been associated with Chinese emperors, featuring on the first Chinese national flag during the Qing dynasty, making it a spiritual and cultural figure. Let’s take a look at the best Year of the Dragon watches.

Arnold & Son Perpetual Moon Year of the Dragon, CHF 57,000 (approx. £52,534)

Arnold and Son Perpetual Moon Year of the Dragon

Arnold & Son have spoiled us with a pair of watches for the Chinese New Year. The Perpetual Moon is the model they typically release in celebration of the occasion, having released themed versions of this watch with the signature animal of the moment on them previously. The 2024 edition depicts a rose gold dragon sculpture flying above some delicate trees in an aventurine glass sky in blue or black, beneath a mother-of-pearl moon.

Arnold and Son Luna Magna Year of the Dragon
Arnold and Son Luna Magna Year of the Dragon

Arnold and Son Luna Magna Year of the Dragon, CHF 79,600 (approx. £73,363)

The second watch they’ve released for the Year of the Dragon is based on their Luna Magna model. Just like the Perpetual Moon model it prominently features a golden dragon snaking its way across the dial, although this time the night sky is represented by dark, onyx or pietersite. I particularly love the way the dragon is surrounding the moon, clutching at it with its claws like the prized treasure in its hoard.

More details at Arnold & Son.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grisaille High Jewellery – Dragon, Price on Request

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grisaille High Jewellery Dragon
Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grisaille High Jewellery Dragon

In recent years Vacheron have always celebrated Chinese New Year with their Metiers d’Art collection. However, while I still expect them to release one eventually, the first watch they’ve released in honour of the dragon is the piece unique Les Cabinotiers Grisaille High Jewellery – Dragon. As opposed to a golden sculpture, it features a grisaille enamel depiction of the Chinese imperial dragon, which is stunning.

Grisaille is a technique whereby the picture is built up by multiple layers of white enamel on a dark base, typically coated with a final layer of clear enamel to give it a sheen. In a departure from tradition, Vacheron Constantin have used a translucent green final layer to give the entire piece that characteristic green tinge. It’s powered by Calibre 1120 with 40-hour power reserve and thickness of just 2.4mm.

More details at Vacheron Constantin.

Hamilton Ventura Dragon, £1,885

Hamilton Ventura Dragon
Hamilton Ventura Dragon

In a world of Khaki Fields and Navy Frogmen, the Ventura is an odd beast in Hamilton’s stable. A triangular timepiece that’s far more artistic and conceptual than their normal tool watch fare. It was the first electric watch and a favourite of Elvis. It also starred in Men in Black as part of their uniform. It’s these aspects that make it perfect for a special edition in celebration of dragons. It features an openworked dial in the shape of a dragon’s face, with burning red eyes that match the red seconds hand.

It’s avante garde in the extreme, reimagining how we perceive skeletonised displays and using the negative space that’s created to shape the image and fill the space of the triangular dial. It’s a smart bit of design. However, I personally feel the intensity of the dragon’s face leaves it a little cartoonish – trying too hard to be cool like a child’s fantasy. Although perhaps that’s a bit of jealousy on my part because I was born in the Year of the Tiger and I wish that year had some cooler watches.

More details at Hamilton.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Enamel Dragon, €100,000 (approx. £86,800)

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Enamel Dragon
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Enamel Dragon

Jaeger-LeCoultre have taken the concept of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon literally by hiding the dragon that features on the Reverso Tribute Enamel Dragon on the reverse side of the piece. If you do reverse the dial to reveal the dragon, you’ll find that it’s one of the more subtle designs featured in this article. An incredibly smooth, black, Grand Feu enamel base forms an intense, pure background for the golden dragon, which appears to emerge from the inky depths surrounded by golden clouds.

The same enamel forms the basis for the primary dial, equipped with hour and minute hands as well as the corresponding scales in Art Deco style. The movement inside is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 822, a manual wind piece with a 42-hour power reserve. I like the fact this watch is manual because it feels like a daily ritual to wind it, feeding into the symbolism of the zodiac.

More details at Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dragon, CHF 26,600 (approx. £24,516)

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

Chopard typically create a L.U.C XP Urushi to coincide with every Lunar New Year and 2024 is no different. These watches are usually one of the highlights but with the Year of the Dragon edition, I find there to be a glaring issue. Specifically, the Chopard logo below 12 o’clock completely interrupts and obscures part of the dragon’s head and neck. If it was just part of the body I wouldn’t find a problem with it, but come on, not covering the main subject’s head is design 101.

Looking beyond that, it is an incredibly cool rendition of the imperial dragon, created in traditional Urushi lacquer and produced for Chopard by a famous Japanese artisan, Minori Koizumi. This watch also goes further by incorporation a mother-of-pearl disc that the dragon is holding. As with previous years, the watch itself is a 39.5mm offering in gold with the L.U.C 96.17-L micro-rotor movement.

More details at Chopard.

Casio G-Shock MT-G Golden Dragon, $1,050 (approx. £829)

Casio G-Shock MT-G Golden Dragon MTG-B3000CXD-9AER
Casio G-Shock MT-G Golden Dragon MTG-B3000CXD-9AER

Casio bring their own style to the Year of the Dragon with the G-Shock MT-G Golden Dragon MTG-B3000CXD-9AER. Just like the dragon it’s inspired by, the watch is something of a monster, measuring 51.9mm x 50.9mm x 12.1mm in proportion. Fortunately, that immense size creates a lot of surface area upon which Casio can create the intricate dragon scale pattern which decorates the entire case and dial of the piece.

The case is actually made of two parts. There’s the stainless steel outer portion, ion coated with a golden colour to give a bright lustre and a dark black inner carbon core for superb durability. Durability is always key to the G-Shock range and the Golden Dragon is no different with 200m water resistance as well as high shock, centrifugal force and vibration resistance.

More details at Casio.

Tag Heuer Carrera Chronograph Year of the Dragon, £19,650

Tag Heuer Carrera Chronograph Year of the Dragon
Tag Heuer Carrera Chronograph Year of the Dragon

Interestingly Tag Heuer are one of the first watches we’ve looked at that has taken the approach of highlighting the colour red for their Year of the Dragon watch. Red is a colour associated with happiness in Chinese symbology, synergising well with the dragon’s own meaning of fortune and growth. In previous years a lot more watchmakers have focussed on red above the zodiac animal, I just suppose a dragon is so evocative that designers are preferring to tackle that concept instead.

The Tag Heuer Carrera Chronograph Year of the Dragon features red chronograph counters on either a steel or rose gold case. Plus, there is a dragon present on the watch, it’s just been relegated to the caseback rather than taking pride of place on the dial.

More details at Tag Heuer.

Corum Bubble 47 Dragon and Dragon Eye, CHF 6,900 (approx. £6,358)

Corum Bubble 47 Dragon
Corum Bubble 47 Dragon Eye

Corum are known for their experimental designs that focus on equal parts style and technology with the Golden Bridge and recent Tourbillon Concept. The Bubble 47 is different in that it’s entirely aesthetic focussed, making it the ideal canvas for a watch celebrating the Year of the Dragon. They’ve opted to create two designs, the Bubble 47 Dragon and Bubble 47 Dragon Eye.

The Dragon edition is similar in style to other watches presented here with a golden dragon emerging from a black dial. The Drago Eye is more unique in that it zooms in to present, well, a dragon’s eye. A deep red orb with a piercing black pupil surrounded by lidded scales made from gold. Both models are presented in black PVD steel cases with 47mm diameters, housing the CO 082 automatic movement.

More details at Corum.

Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Titanium Dragon, £25,400

Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Titanium Dragon
Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Titanium Dragon

Hublot have never been subtle, and you can bet that with the brief to create a watch inspired by dragons, they’re not going to start toning things down now. The Spirit of Big Bang Titanium Dragon is a feast for the eyes with a stylised dragon’s face staring at you from the dial. The layered aesthetic is inspired by the traditional art of Chinese paper cutting and the piece was designed by a celebrated paper artist, Chen Fenwan. Chen is known for her striking use of pink and blue, which you can see clearly represented in the colours of the Hublot dragon.

It has a 42mm diameter tonneau case made from titanium that leads into a custom black rubber strap with decorative dragon scale pattern. The pattern is designed to look like it’s produced using marquetry, a traditional, decorative woodworking art. Between the paper cutting and the marquetry, Hublot are pay close attention to the fact that 2024 is the year of the wood dragon, a lesser-known facet of the zodiac where each year is also attributed a material or element.

More details at Hublot.

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Year of the Dragon, £8,450

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Year of the Dragon
IWC Portugieser Chronograph Year of the Dragon

Interestingly, the IWC Portugieser Chronograph Year of the Dragon is one of the few watches I’ve seen that doesn’t immediately place a dragon on the dial of its celebratory watch. Instead, it pays tribute to another Chinese sign of luck and fortune, the colour red. It has a rich burgundy dial with a vertical bicompax chronograph display and golden markings. It makes it one of the more understated Year of the Dragon watches although I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s subtle, just comparatively so.

Flip the watch over though and you will find a dragon, hidden in plain sight in the form of the engraved golden rotor. That rotor is attached to the IWC Manufacture Calibre 69355, an automatic piece with a 46-hour power reserve.

More details at IWC.

Ulysse Nardin Blast Tourbillon Dragon, Price on Request

Ulysse Nardin Blast Tourbillon Dragon
Ulysse Nardin Blast Tourbillon Dragon

Ulysse Nardin aren’t one of the usual brands who produce zodiac watches every year, however they have historically celebrated the Year of the Dragon. They’ve done so again with the new Blast Tourbillon Dragon. It’s pretty special because I also don’t typically associate Ulysse Nardin with metiers d’art other than their silicon marquetry, so the rose gold dragon engraved and micro-painted by hand is particularly unexpected and striking. The concept dates back to 2012, the previous Year of the Dragon, when Ulysse Nardin produced an enamel dragon watch (Classico Enamel Champlevé Dragon) with the 2024 version taking that design and rendering it in 3D.

Another nice touch is the tourbillon cage decorated with a pearl, a precious jewel that eastern dragons are often depicted protecting. The tourbillon is part of the UN-172 Manufacture skeleton automatic movement, which has a platinum micro-rotor and 72-hour power reserve. The 45mm case that houses it is made from a combination of rose gold and DLC coated titanium.

More details at Ulysse Nardin.

Bell & Ross BR 05 Artline Dragon, £7,200

Bell and Ross BR 05 Artline Dragon
Bell and Ross BR 05 Artline Dragon

Bell & Ross are no strangers to the occasional outlandish design and intricate artwork; just look at the Cyber Skull. However, the BR 05 Artline Dragon is a little different though because it features an integrated sports watch design where the entire upper surface, including bracelet, is laser engraved with the image of a dragon. The style of the piece is inspired by the delicate line work and stylisation of a tattoo, giving it an urban vibe, like a piece of art from a graphic novel.

The BR 05 measures 40mm in diameter in the characteristic rounded square shape and is made from satin brushed steel. It houses the BR.CAL.321 with 54-hour power reserve, showing that the calibres of the BR 05 have now also been upgraded as well as the ones in the BR 03 41mm. This is due to Sellita upgrading the base movements that B&R use.

More details at Bell & Ross.

Swatch Year of the Dragon Collection, £77 – £190

Swatch Year of the Dragon Collection

Swatch have gone all-out with a collection of five watches that celebrate the Year of the Dragon. The watches here are the Dragon in Cloud Big Bold, Dragon in Wind Pay Gent, Dragon in Waves Gent, Dragon in Motion Irony Chrono and Dragon in Gold Skin Irony. Each is a slightly different model with its own colourway and its own depiction of a dragon.

The Dragon in Wind, black with a fiery red and yellow dragon, is the most similar to previous zodiac editions and feels like the most conventional. Although I think my favourite is actually the Dragon in Gold despite being the most feminine (they are all unisex) because the rich lustre of the gold colour suits the imperial image of the dragon.

More details at Swatch.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.