A Round-up of the Most Luxurious Chinese New Year Watches, Part 1

Enter the Dragons: A Round-up of the Most Luxurious Chinese New Year Watches, Part 1

Part one of our two-part round-up of timepieces celebrating the most feared of mythological beasts, the dragon.

By Rhonda Riche

There’s no great cultural tradition of getting watches to celebrate the Chinese New Year. However, in recent years, the annual Lunar New Year celebration has become an excuse to indulge in some serious luxury gifting. For instance, in just 2021, Chinese consumers alone were estimated to have spent $127 billion at shops and restaurants over this seven-day holiday period.

Given this surge in spending, it should come as no surprise that brands are increasingly happy to oblige these big spenders. Thus, more and more Luxury watchmakers are offering special Lunar New Year-themed timepieces with limited-edition dials and graphics that pay homage to the animals of the traditional Chinese zodiac.

Yet, despite recognizing this growing feedback loop between consumers and brands, it has been somewhat shocking to witness the surge in Chinese New Year watches that are celebrating the upcoming year of the Dragon; to say that it created another level of excitement for watchmakers and collectors alike would be a gross understatement.

Our Instagram friend, the Toronto-based collector and enthusiast @noboringwatches recently posted these thoughts on the crazy number of Year of the Dragon limited releases: “Dragon is the only mythical creature on the lunar zodiac, therefore ‘cool.’ It doesn’t take a marketing genius to know that.”

Now, before cynicism takes over, we should note that making Chinese New Year watches isn’t necessarily pandering to the Asian market (though it never hurts to feel seen by the big brands) because, as you’ll see, some brands are clearly in it for the artistic and mechanical challenge. Or as @noboringwatches observed, “Vacheron made pig watches and rat watches during those animals’ years. And they sat in display cases unsold for yeeeears. That took dedication. Bravo, Vacheron.”

So, if this year feels like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, we’ve got to hand it to the maisons that’ve been creating Chinese New Year tributes for decades. That is why, for part one of our year of the Dragon round-up, we wanted to recognize the real ones – the brands that’ve been releasing special Chinese zodiac-themed editions for ages!

Arnold & Son

The year of the Wood Dragon starts on February 10th, 2024, and when the Dragon is in this element, it is a harbinger of calm determination. So, to embrace this symbolism, Arnold & Son is launching two limited editions: the Perpetual Moon 41.5 Red Gold “Year of the Dragon” and the “Luna Magna Red Gold “Year of the Dragon.”

Of these, our favorite is the 41.5mm Perpetual Moon with the blue aventurine dial because of the contrast of the high-relief golden dragon (made from 18K 4N rose gold) emerging from the trees against a serene blue dial.

Both the Perpetual Moon 41.5 Red Gold “Year of the Dragon” and “Luna Magna Red Gold “Year of the Dragon” are limited to eight pieces and are priced at CHF 57,000 and CHF 79,600, respectively.

Bell & Ross

Since the Wood Dragon also symbolizes human courage, Bell & Ross has embraced a daring engraving technique to decorate the new BR 05 Artline Dragon, going above and beyond the dial for this limited edition release.

Moreover, the BR 05’s integrated bracelet and dial have been engraved using a unique laser technique that requires each link to be individually etched before assembly.

The BR 05 Artline is limited to 99 pieces and available exclusively from Bell & Ross boutiques and e-boutiques for $7,900.

Bovet 1822

Bovet has a long and storied relationship with the East, producing pocket watches specifically for the Chinese and the Ottoman Empire markets since the early 1880s. And the Récital 26 Chapter Two Golden Dragon is the perfect timepiece to celebrate that history as well as a brand new year.

“For me, the Dragon is the most amazing symbol, representing wisdom, power, kindness, hope, and a bright future,” explained Mr. Pascal Raffy, the owner of BOVET 1822, in a recent press release. “The Writing Desk case of the Recital 26 Chapter Two is the perfect exhibition space for the hand-engraved Golden Dragon sculpture, as well as our high watchmaking expertise.”

Unfortunately, due to the detail involved in hand-crafting the dragon sculpture, only two to three pieces can be produced a month, and the total number of pieces produced will be capped at 12. Pricing is available upon request.


While Chopard has been producing Chinese Zodiac watches for 16 years, since 2011, the brand has also chosen to ring in the Lunar New Year with special-edition, made-in-Japan dials produced using urushi lacquer. Thus, the brand’s L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dragon is an artisanal fusion of lacquer and gold that also wishes the wearer luck and prosperity.

Sporting a 39.5mm ethical 18K rose gold case, this limited edition watch’s dial was handcrafted in Japan by artisans specializing in applying urushi lacquer with gold powder using the traditional maki-e technique, taking 20 hours per dial to complete.

The L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dragon is limited to 88 pieces (Number 88 symbolizes fortune and good luck in Chinese culture) and is priced at $27,700.

Grand Seiko

For its entry, Grand Seiko is forgoing the figurative representation of the mythical creature for a more symbolic take with the Red Dragon Automatic Hi-Beat 36000 Tatsu-doshi (which means “dragon” in Japanese).

Limited almost entirely to the Chinese market, the SBGH323 features a deep burgundy red dial and a three-dimensional halo pattern on the face to represent the flying lizard. This second hand is paired with the gold GS logo to symbolize wealth. It also comes with an optional red python leather strap with dragon-like scales.

The 40mm Grand Seiko Limited Edition Red Dragon Automatic Hi-Beat 36000 is limited to 88 pieces.

Vacheron Constantin

Vacheron Constantin began its Métiers d’Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac Collection in 2012, the year of the Snake. Now, the brand celebrates the completion of the calendar’s 12-year cycle with two 25-piece limited editions (one red with pink gold and one blue with platinum) unveiled during Watches & Wonders Shanghai.

Using a 40mm, the maison’s craftspeople have depicted the dragon’s nobility, strength, good luck, and success through the art of engraving and enameling. Moreover, the dragon also holds a pearl, a symbol of knowledge and wisdom.

Each version (the blue dial is our pick) is available exclusively through Vacheron Constantin boutiques, with the red version costing $112,000 and the blue version’s price will be given upon request.

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Enter the Dragons: A Round-up of the Most Luxurious Chinese New Year Watches, Part 2

By Rhonda RicheEditor-At-Large
Today, we present part two of our round-up of year of the Dragon watches featuring the most outrageous timepieces and unexpected brands celebrating this...