Watches with Dragons in 2012
According to the Oriental horoscope, which is popular today not only in China but also in most European countries, the year of 2012, which has started in January 23 (the Chinese year comes later than the Europe one) is the Year of Black Water Dragon. The new Dragon is painted in black, because he protects the element of Water, the color of which, according to the ancient Chinese people, is black. Some of the predictors and clairvoyants prophesy the end of the world in 2012 that we are "waiting" many years. Perhaps, people who are skeptical about the astrological forecasts will say that all predictions contradict each other. That's what I thought. However, examining the set of predictions for 2012 in detail, I found that absolutely all astrologers agreed on the following opinion: 2012 is karmic from the point of cosmic cycles view. Well, Oscar Wilde was right supposing that any belief began from skepticism. Let's go back to astrology. Finally, the predictions of Mayan calendar, which allegedly spoke about the end of the world, have been deciphered. In fact, according to astrologers, the Maya were trying to warn us about the beginning of radical changes that would bring all humanity to another level of life. What kind of changes the humanity will have - bad or good - depends on the people themselves, on their consciousness, world outlook and behavior. 2012 is remarkable by the so-called parade of planets, when Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Earth will be in the same line, as watch hands, meeting each other at a certain point. The Maya Indians believed that was the moment when the old system would fall, and the mankind would enter into a new world, which I hope will be better than ever. According to scientists, the impact of the parade of planets on life of the world's population increases by several times due to the incredibly powerful patron - the Dragon, which is considered to be one of the most powerful, influential and active animals signs of the Eastern horoscope.
Influence of Dragon on horlogerie
It should be recognized that all watchmakers of the world thoroughly prepared for the new 2012, designing and producing a large number of watches, devoted to the menacing Dragon. The world watch companies got notably "activated" before the Dragon Year by hurling all the "big guns" into creation of “dragon” watch novelties. And that dragon theme was observed long before 2012, on a smaller scale though. It means that many companies have been paying attention to such sign of Oriental horoscope as the Dragon throughout the existence of the watch industry. Logically, a question arises - why is it Dragon, since the Chinese horoscope has 11 great signs. There are undoubtedly watches with pictures of Tiger, Dog, Horse, Serpent, etc., but the Dragon is one of the most popular representatives of the mythical "fauna". The key word here is "mythical." The Dragon is the only representative of the Eastern horoscope, which appeared as a result of human imagination. Usually, everything that scares people is a subject of special trepidation and worship at the same time. And it’s known that the Dragon was always feared and respected.
Being a fictional character, Dragon sometimes changes its appearance, as it often happens with the mythical heroes. It depends on the culture it is considered in. The most common Dragon comes from China. This is a wingless creature with a long body, horns, four claws, spines on the neck and tail. In ancient China, the Dragon was perceived as personification of wisdom, imperial power, success and leadership. Until now, in Chinese culture, this legendary beast is a symbol of unshakable power and splendor. The Christian attitude to the Dragon is fundamentally different from the East. The Dragon is taken as a symbol of the devil and Satan. As for now, you can see the following trend: the Dragon is the patron of people, who consider themselves to be leaders and activists. That is the image of Dragon is being gradually reconsidered. In modern cartoons and movies this animal is often given human qualities, often positive, such as intelligence and kindness. I remembered a fascinating science fiction film called "The Heart of the Dragon", released in 1996 by the company “Universal Pictures”. In this picture the Dragon and the man, so to speak, are reversed: people are ruthlessly destroying the noble Dragons, which "would not hurt a fly." By the way, the last survived Dragon named Draco, who had a good heart, was voiced by the incomparable Sean Connery. Thus, all points of view on Dragon symbolism are quite controversial, and there is not a single opinion in any culture of the world.
It turns out that each person can interpret the symbol of Dragon in his own way. And the watchmakers, creating a new "dragon" wristwatch, put their own understanding in it too. Many fans of oriental culture want to buy a watch with the symbol of Dragon, because they believe that it will bring them good luck in the coming year of 2012. I think it is quite reasonable, since belief materializes thoughts, and what each of us believes in always comes true.
Enamel Dragon-defender of Ulysse Nardin
Releasing the new men's watch “Ulysse Nardin Classico Enamel Champleve Dragon” in 2011, the Swiss company “Ulysse Nardin” showed the world once again its great skills in enameling. But this time, the enameling technique is directly related to the legendary creature of the eastern horoscope, a powerful patron of 2012 - the Dragon. Creating their enamel Dragon, the watchmakers from Ulysse Nardin put a special meaning in that work. They believe that, according to ancient Chinese legend, the one who holds this mythical beast, may count on his patronage and protection. Of course, the watch will best fit the "shelter" of the ancient defender of mankind - the Dragon, as the time meter accompanies its owner everywhere.
It seems that the bright orange-yellow Dragon, exuding the fiery spirit, is about to break out under the sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating that covers the enamel dial. The frightening figure of Dragon, distinguishing against the background of dark blue dial, which is one of the components of “Ulysse Nardin Classico” (known as “Ulysse Nardin Blue”) form-factor, has bizarrely stretched along the entire circumference. From the mouth of the beast a fireball shoots out and seems about to burn up the hour indices.
The amazing beauty of the Dragon on the watch dial from Ulysse Nardin is the result of the company's strong passion to complicated technique of enameling, which requires a great professionalism of craftsmen and watchmakers. Because of complexity of the technique, the production of wrist watches with enamel dials has significantly decreased since the 1950s. And only such great watch companies like Ulysse Nardin are now able to give birth to such masterpieces of enamel art. The men's wristwatch “Ulysse Nardin Classico Enamel Champleve Dragon” has a dial, made by Champleve, the most complicated and labor-intensive technique due to the fact that it can’t be mechanized. This art consists in the fact that the contour of future image is cut at the base-plate, then the "partitions", the thickness of which is less than 1 mm, are soldered by the contour. The resulting cells are filled with enamel and fired. It should be noted that the skill level of enamel art depends on both individual professionalism of specialist and knowledge and experience of master. Such masterpieces of enameling, as the watch “Ulysse Nardin Classico Enamel Champleve Dragon”, receive eternal life, their relevance will never exhaust, and the value will increase at times over the years. Therefore, many collectors have a great desire to buy the watch “Ulysse Nardin Classico Enamel Champleve Dragon”, but this is not so easy to do. The company issued totally 30 pieces of “Ulysse Nardin Classico Enamel Champleve Dragon” with a 40-mm case from white (ref. 8150-111-2/DRAGON) and pink (ref. 8156-111-2/DRAGON) gold of 18 carats. The water resistance of golden case reaches 50 meters. The transparent back case of sapphire glass is a window that opens an automatic movement of caliber UN-815. An approximate power reserve of the model is 42 hours. This men's wristwatch has successfully been certified by COSC, receiving the honorary title of ultra-precise chronometer, demonstrating to our attention the current hour, minute and second by three central hands.
Each of “Ulysse Nardin Classico Enamel Champleve Dragon” models is equipped with a classic alligator strap, stitched by hand, and a buckle of white or pink gold that gives the watch a simple, yet stunningly gorgeous image.
Cornelius & Cie Tourbillon Dragon – a Swiss-Dutch fantasy
The young Swiss company “Cornelius & Cie”, which does not get tired pleasing its fans with specific works of horlogerie, has prepared a unique watch with the Dragon “Cornelius & Cie Tourbillon Dragon” in anticipation of new 2012, which cannot be ignored in any case. A young Dutch artist, painter and engraver, Kees Engelbarts, who has been carried away by the ancient Japanese technique of Mokume Gane and use it in design of his inimitable watch masterpieces, is “responsible” for the creation of all wristwatches for “Cornelius & Cie”. Mokume Gane means the use of composite materials (such as gold, platinum, silver, palladium, etc.) that are stacked by layers and heated, resulting in an indissoluble compound, which resembles wood. By the way, Mokume Gane translates as "a metal wood."
Thus, the new creation of “Cornelius & Cie” is the men's wristwatch with tourbillon, which case is made of legendary Damascus steel (type of steel with visible irregularities on the surface, most often in the form of patterns), and the dial contains an image of the Imperial Dragon, made by hand. The dragon is made by the technique of Mokume Gane of pure gold and silver-plated and oxidized gold. Let’s say that “Cornelius & Cie Tourbillon Dragon” is not the first wristwatch from this manufacturer, bearing the Dragon's power, but this is the first model of Cornelius & Cie with a tourbillon, which is located on the dial in position of "9" hours. Releasing the men's wristwatch “Cornelius & Cie Tourbillon Dragon”, the masters of the company have demonstrated the world their abilities and capabilities, which are obviously unlimited.
The Swiss watch “Cornelius & Cie Tourbillon Dragon” is presented in 44-millimeter case of 12 mm thickness. The Dragon "lives" at the expense of the vintage skeletonized self-winding movement, which has a power reserve of up to 5 days. The caliber on 27 stones with two drums and a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour is fully finished and engraved by hand that can be seen through the transparent back case of sapphire glass. The revolutionary "wrong" form of the case is worth of a special attention. Thanks to this interesting design decision, it seems that the Dragon revives and breaks free. Personally, I never cease to marvel at the beauty and attractiveness of Swiss watch “Cornelius & Cie”, since all the models represent masterpieces of art from both aesthetic and technical points of view. These watches are unique by intertwined major Swiss roots and true motives of Dutch art.
Dragon of "gold dust" from Glashütte Original
As a columnist of watch novelties related to the dragon theme in honor of 2012, I set a primary goal - to tell our dear reader about wristwatches on a given subject, putting aside my personal beliefs and preferences for a while. However, I cannot stand from admired remarks, when I look at the new watches with Dragons from the German company “Glashütte Original”. The men's watch “Glashütte Original Senator Meissen Tourbillon Dragon”, in my opinion, is a true masterpiece of fine art, so I give this model the first place in my personal short fixture list. Typically, in the watch industry they are used to praise the skills of Swiss manufacturers, but the Germans are not inferior to their counterparts from Switzerland at all.
Thus, the German watch company has decided to celebrate the new Year of Dragon with the release of its new limited watch “Glashütte Original Senator Meissen Tourbillon Dragon”. The genius manufactory created eight amazing models (reference: /94-13-01-01-04/, /94-13-02-01-04/, /94-13-03-01-04/, /94-13 - 01/04/04/, /94-13-05-01-04/, /94-13-06-01-04/, /94-13-07-01-04/, /94-13-08-01-04/), the dials of which are made of Meissen porcelain. Meissen is a brand of German porcelain, the name of which comes from the Saxon city of Meissen. It was that city where they began to produce porcelain for the first time in Europe. Being a very expensive and valuable material, Meissen porcelain is created only by hand by the most experienced experts in their field. Each of the new porcelain dials contains an image of Chinese Dragon made by hand. The figures of all eight Dragons are put on dial by ceramic paint, consisting of the so-called "gold dust" (tiny particles of pure gold). The paint is applied and fixed on a porcelain dial through the high-temperature burning. As a result, a luxurious figure of pure gold Dragon emerges on the matte snow-white surface. Then the skilled jewelers polish the dial, using an agate rod (a popular material for enamel finishing). As a result, the figure of Chinese Dragon gets a "volume" image, becoming a more realistic character. All eight Dragons are unique, each has its own special look, there are not even two dissimilar things. Only the objects made by hand can "boast" of such uniqueness.
The image of Dragon is not the only feature of these models. The men's watch “Glashütte Original Senator Meissen Tourbillon Dragon” has a flying tourbillon, seen through the window on the dial in position of "6" hours. Such complication as flying tourbillon is one of the main activities of Glashütte Original. The idea of creating such work of horlogerie - movement with flying tourbillon - belongs to Alfred Helwig, the legendary watchmaker, who designed the module in 1920, when he taught at the German watchmaking school in Glashütte. Balance, pallet fork and escapement wheel are situated at cantilever carriage that rotates at 360 degrees per minute. It neutralizes the negative effect of gravity on the balance knot. An additional scale with a second layout frames the window with a tourbillon, on the carriage on which a small second hand is situated.
The men's watch “Glashütte Original Senator Meissen Tourbillon Dragon” is an example of stylish classics in a 40-millimeter case of rose gold, as well as the best example of complicated watch mechanics. Two traditional central hands of blued steel, floating on the surface of the porcelain dial, count the time. The harmony of dragon pattern on the dial is completed with the brand logo of the watch company “Glashütte Original” and the emblem of Saxon porcelain Meissen in the form of two crossed blue swords. The men's watch “Glashütte Original Senator Meissen Tourbillon Dragon” is equipped with hand-engraved movement of automatic winding caliber 94-11, which you can admire, looking through the transparent back case. The 48-hour power reserve meets all requirements of a modern man to wristwatches. The back case is engraved with "1/1," which tells about the uniqueness of time meter. The black crocodile leather strap, fastened with the help of staples well-integrated into the case, and folding clasp provide maximum comfort when wearing this watches on the wrist.
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to buy the men's watch “Glashütte Original Senator Meissen Tourbillon Dragon”, because all copies are most likely to be already sold out by the Asian boutiques. However, nothing is impossible for true connoisseurs of Haute Horlogerie.
Panerai Luminor Sealand 2012 Year of Dragon – a steel Dragon
Through an active search for new watch products, devoted to 2012, I have come across amazing wristwatches with Dragons from the Swiss watch company “Officine Panerai” and, frankly, I was genuinely surprised. For me, the watches of Panerai are large serious models of military style, devoid of ornaments and decorative items. That's how the stereotypes let me down! As it turned out, by 2012 the Swiss company with strong Italian roots “Panerai” has released the next men's wristwatch from the line “Panerai Chinese Zodiac”, called “Panerai Luminor Sealand 2012 Year of Dragon” (reference PAM00840), dedicated to the Chinese calendar. And this year, of course, with the Chinese Dragon. Despite the popularity of this ancient symbol and the enormous demands on these time meters from the world's consumers, the company “Panerai” introduced the world only 50 copies of "New Year" watches. While in all “dragon” novelties this animal mostly sits directly on the dial, in this model the designers took him to a place of honor at the opening front case, and the dial remained laconic and reserved. The hand-engraved figure of Dragon as if floating in the clouds and cuts veil of mist by its powerful body. The design of the Dragon has some similarities with the ancient Chinese art of paper cutting, which has been widely spread outside China as well.
An automatic movement OPIII, which is certified by COSC, is "hidden" inside this beauty. The chronometer’s movement is assembled on 21 stones and provided with Glucydur balance. The balance oscillates at the frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour, and the power reserve is 42 hours. For maximum protection of caliber, the watchmakers included the shockproof system “Incablock” into the general construction of movement that supports the following functions: hours, minutes, seconds (additional dial at "9" hours), second hand stop at installing of crown at the second position and date aperture at position of "3" hours with a magnifying glass. The crown is protected by a special clamping mechanism, patented by Panerai. The dial with large black Arabic numerals and indices is made in a light gray color. All figures are covered with fluorescent substance for the convenience of information reading in the dark. Under the outer metal cover with Dragon the sapphire crystal of 1.6 mm thick, treated with anti-reflective coating, is placed. The 44-millimeter case of “Panerai Luminor Sealand 2012 Year of Dragon” is made of high quality polished stainless steel AISI 316L. This type of “sandwich” case is the hallmark of all watches of the company “Panerai”, and the watchmakers carry about one hundred complex operations to create it.
The water resistance - up to 50 meters. The men's watch “Panerai Luminor Sealand 2012 Year of Dragon” (PAM00840) is equipped with a leather strap of brown color and buckle of polished steel. Also the model is supplied with a steel screwdriver and additional strap. You can buy the watch with Dragon of Panerai from January 2012 only in boutiques in Beijing and Shanghai.
Armin Strom Agonium Draco on the look-out for Time
In 2012, another Swiss watch company, which, like many others, got "hooked" on Dragons, introduced its new wristwatch “Armin Strom Agonium Draco”, decorated with three-dimensional figures of Dragons of rather frightening look. At the mention of the company “Armin Strom” I have associations with amazing skeleton watches, designed by talented watchmaker Armin Strom. His high level of craftsmanship is demonstrated by the fact that the miniature women's skeleton watch he created in 1989 entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest fully skeletonized model. Daniel Strom, continuing the work of his great father, inherited a passion for creating unique watches, becoming extremely popular in today's watch market. In 2012 the company “Armin Strom” shifted its attention from skeletons to Dragons. The Dragons on these watches are everywhere: on the sides of the case and even on the buckle. Moreover, the overall style of this time meter can be described as Gothic, which means "eerily majestic."
The men's watch “Armin Strom Agonium Draco” is presented in several variants: large barrel-shaped case, crown and figures of Dragons are made of silver, palladium, red gold or platinum. Each of the models has composite materials. For example, a silver case, but golden Dragon's head on the buckle and golden crown. Such heterogeneous materials reinforce a powerful impression made by this watch at the viewer. The dials are also different: dark blue, or luxurious ivory. The time is counted by three central hands, rhodium-plated or gold plated (hour, minute and second), presented in the Gothic style, as well as the large Arabic numerals, "to the beat of" general image of the watch. The sapphire glass of convex shape with a bilateral anti-reflective coating covers the watch dial, and the water resistance reaches 50 meters. Inside the Gothic “Dragon” a strong heart - automatic movement of caliber 2824 – is beating. The happy owners will be able to wear their "Dragons" with the black straps of coarse alligator leather, which makes the model quite brutal. Like many watches with the Dragons, presented by the "holiday" series, the issue of “Armin Strom Agonium Draco” is strictly limited. The series has 44 or 88 copies, depending on the materials used. If we have previously considered watches with the Dragons, which images seemed most realistic, the above models by Armin Strom show these mythical creatures, which truly live in their space created for them by the watchmakers, they as if "jumped" out of the dial, breaking the barrier of sapphire glass.
According to the creators of the new watch “Armin Strom Agonium Draco”, Dragon and Time are two most amazing, eternal and multi-valued phenomena considered by mankind for centuries. Because of their rather contradictory meanings, the concepts of Time and Dragon provokes violent fantasies in people, make them believe in the supernatural and fantastic. In addition, these characters encourage people to believe not only in their great strength and power, but also in their own abilities and skills. The Armin Strom company representatives say that the Dragons, as well as the Time, are not to be "trifled with." After all, sometimes it’s very dangerous to waste your precious time, and you need to be most careful playing with fire: the flame will warm up someone and will burn the other. Thus, the men's watch “Armin Strom Agonium Draco” with the Dragon is "on the look-out" for the world Time left for our lives.
Blancpain Caruso "Chinese Dragon" Limited Edition with respect to the great Chinese culture
By the beginning of 2012 the Swiss watchmaker “Blancpain” has prepared a special gift to its fans, updating its legendary collection “Caruso” by another brilliant watch “Blancpain Caruso "Chinese Dragon" Limited Edition”, which was "touched" by the magnificent Chinese Dragon's paw. One of the reasons why I’ve chosen this model for detailed consideration is the fact that this men's watch "stands aside" from the numerous "dragon" models from other manufacturers that we had the good fortune to contemplate last few months. While other companies flaunt their skillfully executed Dragons, placing them on the most visible places - on the dials of time meters, the manufactory “Blancpain” with its eventful 276-year history has chosen a more modest, but a rather original way to show respect to this ancient mythical creature, placing a hand-engraved Dragon on the movement rotor, which can be seen from the back case, made of 18 karat rose gold. This exclusive watch is issued in a limited edition, each model is numbered from 1 to 50. We can assume that the future 50 owners of “Blancpain Caruso "Chinese Dragon" Limited Edition” will prefer to wear their time meters "backwards" to demonstrate to others the unearthly beauty of the hand-made Dragon. Personally, I would do that. But seriously, it must be admitted that the design of this model is excellent, the watch “Blancpain Caruso "Chinese Dragon" Limited Edition” looks stylish and sophisticated at the same time.
So, the men's watch “Blancpain Caruso "Chinese Dragon" Limited Edition” is made of rose gold of 18 carats, the case diameter is 43.5 mm. An automatic caliber 225 Caruso, assembled from 262 components is set into an impressive round case. A perfect movement provides a striking 100-hour power reserve. For the comfort of the watch owner, the company “Blancpain” chose a brown alligator strap. On the white dial the central skeletonized hands with luminous tips are dancing. The position of "12 hours" is occupied by the tourbillon, and the right half of the dial with a cut-off window shows a skillfully decorated movement’s plate. In position of "6 hours" there is a power reserve indicator with a semicircle scale, and at "9 hours" an additional dial with hand indicator of date is located.
It should be added that the first model from the line “Blancpain Caruso”, launched in 2008, is the only watch that is included into the number of exhibits at the Museum of the Imperial Palace in China, the largest treasury, in which a unique collection of monuments of culture and history is gathered. It can be assumed that the company “Blancpain” set out to penetrate the very essence of Chinese culture and souls of Chinese buyers. To emphasize their respect for the Chinese consumer, some watch companies use various characters of ancient Chinese culture in their creations. In 2012, ruled by the Dragon, it is easy - the figures of this animal that embodies strength, subtle wit and boundless power, adorn the new watch creations. In addition, recently the numeral "8" has received wide popularity – in China it is considered to be a sacred number, symbolizing longevity and good fortune. The Swiss watchmaker “Blancpain” is one of the manufactories, which have taken this symbol "for service." So, the power reserve indicator scale and the window with the tourbillon’s carriage are arranged in such an order that resemble the outline of Eight, the symbol of happiness, and the Dragon on the back of the model will certainly help to achieve desired success in any endeavors. Well, in this case, the main thing is to believe, because it is faith, according to Chinese philosophers, which creates and develops the strength of mind.
Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Dragon Majestic Beijing - a symbol of Dragon’ life
The Swiss watch company “Jaquet Droz”, which also actively uses magical power of the "8" in its watch masterpieces, has released a new watch “Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Dragon Majestic Beijing” (reference J005033217) with two magnificent Chinese Dragons, depicted at the midst of the battle for the burning pearl. This time a whole scene from Chinese mythology has been demonstrated on the watch dial that should be properly decoded. Before I had to deal with various Chinese symbols, of course, I was not an expert in ancient Chinese culture. But now I understand that this is one of the most fascinating, amazing and mysterious areas of historical researches. At various amulets the Dragons were often depicted with a pearl, the meaning of which is interpreted by the researchers differently: as a sign of the Sun, Moon, a symbol of thunder or duality of the world, as well as the foundation of strength. An interesting legend is concerned with the appearance of pearl as an integral belonging of Dragons at individual Chinese amulets. Marquis Sui, the Chinese Minister of State, Chi Liang, during his travels abroad found a wounded serpent. The noble Marquis did not let the animal die and saved its life. Sometime later, during another trip Sui saw the same serpent, which held a pearl in its mouth. According to the legend, the serpent said to Marquis that he was the son of His Majesty the Dragon, which in gratitude for saving his son’s life decided to present the Minister that magnificent pearl. Marquis accepted the gift and presented it to his monarch. For centuries, the Chinese dragons have been depicted with a pearl (usually red) in mouth, clawed paws or hanging around neck. Pearl is Dragon's life, it determines whether the animal can fly, take other guises, and penetrate into other worlds. Loss of Pearl for Dragon means loss of vitality and mystical possibilities. Beginning with the reign of Emperor Han to the Dynasty of Ching, the picture of two Dragons, fighting for possession of the pearl, served as a symbol of Chinese weapons. It is this symbol that is placed on the enamel dial of new wristwatch “Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Dragon Majestic Beijing” (J005033217). The figures of Dragons (each about 2.5 cm in length) are made by a very complicated technique of Grand Feu, the masters have paid attention to even the smallest details, so that in this respect there is nothing to find fault. Grand Feu consists in applying of glass-colored powder to the surface of the dial. Then the workpiece is held in an oven at a high temperature, resulting in the powder mass, transformed into a liquid and then hardened forming unique patterns. As a columnist of watch novelties, I can hardly imagine how much time and efforts were spent on decorating just one dial.
As for the technical part, we should recognize that there is nothing radically new. Like many other models from the series “Petite Heure Minute” from the company “Jaquet Droz”, the new men's wristwatch with Dragons is presented in a rather large 43-millimeter case of rose gold (18 carats). At the enamel dial of elegant ivory color the hour and minute indicators occupy a secondary position, the dial with two gold hands and Roman numerals is shifted to the top of the watch "face", leaving a room for the dragon fight scene. The Swiss manufactory caliber JD2653 is characterized as self-winding and by two drums, which provide an impressive power reserve - up to 68 hours. The caliber is built at 28 stones, the balance frequency is 28,800 vibrations per hour. The dial and the back case are protected by sapphire glasses in the best traditions of creating luxury watches, and the rate of water resistance does not exceed 30 meters. The men's wrist watch “Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Dragon Majestic Beijing” is equipped with a brown crocodile leather strap, stitched by hand, and a gold buckle. Only 88 fans of Jaquet Droz creations will be able to buy this piece of high art of miniaturization, since the new "Dragons" are strictly limited specifically for the Chinese watch market.
Angular Momentun and nine Dragons
The watch collection in honor of the new 2012th Year of Dragon from the Swiss company “Angular Momentum” contains men's wristwatches, not only related to Haute Horlogerie, but also with a special mythical meaning, sending us back to ancient Chinese culture. Presenting his collection “Angular Momentun 9 Dragons”, CEO Martin Pauli explains that in China the Dragon was a symbol of imperial power. Thus, the Dragon with five toes was the Son of Heaven, the tetradactyl Dragon - a symbol of nobility, and the three-toed creature - the patron of Chinese ministers. The images of Dragons were put on national flags, coats of arms and luxurious robes of the elite of society, and the Chinese still consider themselves the descendants of the great Dragon. At present, in China the image of Dragon is used more as a decorative element, but in some areas of contemporary human activity it is strictly prohibited to use this symbol. For example, once the well-known US company “Nike”, the sports goods manufacturer, released a promotional video, in which basketball player of the United States LeBron James won the Dragon. That video was immediately banned in China for ethical reasons, and the company “Nike” was accused of trying to insult the national culture.
The great symbol of Dragon is only one side of the watch collection from Angular Momentun. Another feature of the models is the magic number "9", which in China is of great importance and directly linked with the image of Dragon. Thus, the Chinese Dragon has nine major distinguishing features, as well as 117 scales on the body (9x13). According to Chinese mythology, there are only 9 guises of Dragon, also the Dragon has nine offsprings. Furthermore, in China there are three so-called "Walls of Nine Dragons", which depict nine big dragons playing with pearls. One of these walls is located in Gugong (the Forbidden City) in Beijing, the other one - in Beyhare (also in Beijing), and the third one - in Datong (Shanxi province). The most famous wall was built back in 1773, its length is 29.4 meters and height - 3.5 meters. Initially, the primary role of the wall was to protect the city from evil spirits and negative energy. Each of nine Dragons has its own characteristics: color, silhouette, shape, etc. In addition to abovementioned Dragon Walls, in China you can find some more of these symbolic structures, which reflect the Dragons and the magic number "9". Since the "nine" in ancient China was considered to be the number of emperor, then only high-ranking officials and civil servants could wear clothes with images of nine Dragons. The representatives of lower rank had the right to wear clothing with eight Dragons. So, in order to capture the essence of this Chinese character, the Swiss watchmaker “Angular Momentum” has created a collection of watches with the Dragons, which consists of 9 beautiful models.
The reader may disagree with me, but in my opinion, the watches with dials decorated by hand look extremely stylish and luxurious. The highlight of this watch from the collection “Angular Momentum 9 Dragons”, in addition to the amazing hand work, is a pronounced energy, which such powerful creatures like dragons emit. For the stronger sex, these watches will be an indispensable accessory, which highlights courage and strength of any man. Admittedly, the Swiss watchmaker “Angular Momentum” is not new to the field of enamel techniques. In addition, the use of enamel to create dials is a profitable business, in which today one can earn good money. The new collection called “9 Dragons” is composed of nine different models of watches, each of which contains a unique image of Dragon on the dial. Each dial is made by miniaturization technique with the use of Verre Eglomise. The name of this method is translated from French as "gold-plated glass." This is the process, when a gold or metal plate is applied to the back side of the workpiece. This technique spread in the far XVIII century thanks to the French decorator and artist, Jean-Baptise Glomy. On the dial of “Angular Momentun 9 Dragons” the creator cut off a small window that opened the disc, which shows the current time by means of Arabic numerals. This is a simple way to display the time, but it has a great success because of convenience in reading of time. In addition, this method of time display provides a wide field of activities for craftsmen, leaving most of the dial unoccupied.
Thus, the most important point in description of this collection from Angular Momentum is pictures of Dragons. Here you can see the representatives of both Asian and European dragon worlds, and even the modern Dragons from the fantasy world (all the Dragons came from the world of fiction though.) It's no secret that the manufacturer has created these men's watches for sale in Asian countries, but we can say with confidence that these masterpieces will please not only the fans of Haute Horology from Asia. The round dial with a diameter of 30 mm is placed in a 38-mm (round) case of 18-karat rose gold, polished to a mirror surface. The crown is decorated with a splendid cabochon of black onyx. The watches from the collection “Angular Momentun 9 Dragons” can be bought with black crocodile leather straps that are attached to the gold case in an interesting way, with a gold buckle. There’s no sense to talk about the level of craftsmanship, demonstrated by the masters at decorating the dials - everything is perfect, every tiny detail is finished beautifully. A historical caliber FHF 96 of manual winding is hidden under impressive cover. The technical part of this time meter cannot "boast" of remarkable complexity, but each of these watch masterpieces is an example of high art of miniaturization. In addition, the fans of ancient symbolism and mythology, of course, were satisfied. For me personally, all nine "Dragons" are particularly valuable when considered together as a unit. It’s simply impossible to choose only one, thus, the company “Angular Momentum” has “hooked” all fans of watchmaking, who after many unsuccessful attempts to make a choice in favor of one model can’t but come through with the money for the whole "set of dragons." And it is certainly worth it!
Arnold & Son HMS1 Dragon – a Dragon from the Wall
In honor of the new Year of Dragon, which inspired many watch companies to create watches with images of mythical creatures, the watch manufactory “Arnold & Son” with true British roots introduced the world a special series of men's watches “Arnold & Son HMS1 Dragon”, which reflect the perfect knowledge of Haute Horlogerie traditions by the masters. The mythical beast, put on the watch dial from Arnold & Son, is not an ordinary Dragon. The image of this creature on the dial closely resembles the shape of a Dragon, placed on the above "Wall of Nine Dragons" in Beihai Park, located in the Forbidden City (the largest palace complex in the world) in Beijing. Arnold & Son informs in its press release that the construction of Dragon wall was completed in 1756, that is eight years before John Arnold opened his watch workshop in London in 1764. This fact, according to Arnold & Son, is rather symbolic, since the number "8" has a special magical significance in many Asian cultures.
The appliqué of golden Dragon on the dial of new watch is the finest work of skilled craftsmen, who are invited to cooperate with the company Arnold & Son specifically to create this masterpiece of hand work. This appliqué of Dragon’s shape was created with the use of special devices, often used when dealing with hardened steel, these devices are called burins by the engravers, and many other tools. As a result of complex operations a unique pattern is created, and in the case of the wristwatch “Arnold & Son HMS1 Dragon” a perfectly outlined 3D figure of Dragon of 22-carat pink gold, the beauty of which at a close look is literally breathtaking, is formed on the dial. The spectacular 3D image of appliqué on the dial creates an impression of incredible depth, which strongly contrasts with the ultra-slim case of “Arnold & Son HMS1 Dragon”.
Dragon is raised on the lacquered dial of deep black color, which is sputtered by gold minute marks along the whole circular length. Following the traditions of creating classic time meters, the skilled craftsmen from the company “Arnold & Son” limited their watch creation by two central hands, showing the current hour and minute. The domed sapphire crystal covers the luxurious dial from external influence, the back case is also transparent. If we digress from the brilliant splendor of dial, we can hear the caliber A & S1001 with manual winding, designed and assembled right at the company “Arnold & Son”, counting second per second inside the watch “Arnold & Son HMS1 Dragon”. The thickness of in-house caliber is minimal - only 2.7 mm, and the diameter - 30 mm. The movement that operates at 21 stones is characterized by the presence of two drums, which in addition to providing an 80-hour power reserve guarantees the constant force and stable coefficient, and hence the greater precision of “Arnold & Son HMS1 Dragon”. The balance frequency is 21,600 vibrations per hour. All facets of plate and bridges are beveled by hand, and the tiniest details of the movement are decorated with Geneva Stripes by talented engravers. All this says about rich heritage of the company and ancient traditions, which the manufactory “Arnold & Son” has been following since its foundation to the present day.
The men's watch “Arnold & Son HMS1 Dragon” is released in two versions: the first model is made of pink gold (reference 1LCAP.B02A.C111A), and the lovers of luxury goods are offered the watch in pink gold, the bezel of which is encrusted with glittering diamonds (reference 1LCMP.B02A .C111A). The diameter of thin case, provided with the crown at the traditional position of “3” hours, is 40 mm. The men's watch “Arnold & Son HMS1 Dragon” is provided with a black crocodile leather strap, stitched by hand, and a gold buckle. The manufacturer has provided its creation with a water resistance of up to 30 meters.
Colorful Dragons by Grieb & Benzinger
The new Year of Dragon inspired the watchmakers from the German company “Grieb & Benzinger”, known as the genius creator of outstanding skeleton watches, for the design of unique watches that the Chinese customers had been looking forward. According to ancient Chinese legend, the children born under the sign of Dragon got all the characteristics of creature: sharp wit, generosity, strength and righteousness. And the new men's watch of “Grieb & Benzinger” with the Dragons, born on the eve of 2012, became a subject of admiration for all fans of Haute Horlogerie. According to the idea of the manufacturer, the new "dragon" watch collection combines both elements of Chinese mythology and craftsmanship of the watchmakers from the German company “Grieb & Benzinger”. The manufacturer is proud to announce that the new collection of watches “Grieb & Benzinger The Year of Dragon” is probably one of the most luxurious and elegant collections in honor of the Dragon ever created in the world.
We have to admit that all watches from the line “The Year of Dragon” are brilliant representatives of the company “Grieb & Benzinger”, which have all the characteristics of the manufactory: skeletonized dials and movements, as well as hand-decorated and guilloched elements. The collection, devoted to the Year of Dragon, includes eight different models, each of which, in its turn, is issued in the amount of 8 copies. I think, there’s no need to explain from where the company's commitment to introduce the figure "8" into their work comes. The German manufactory “Grieb & Benzinger” also knows about the great significance of the "lucky eight" in Chinese culture. All the movements that feed the wristwatches of “Grieb & Benzinger” with energy are completely skeletonized by hand and have individual numbers engraved on the gear bridges.
The watches “Grieb & Benzinger White Dragon” and “Grieb & Benzinger Grey Dragon” have gorgeous mother-of-pearl dials, personifying a pearl, which, according to legend, the Chinese Dragon holds in his mouth. This pearl, as it is known, is a symbol of wisdom, happiness, energy, purity and order. The watch “Grieb & Benzinger White Dragon” is released in two versions: in white gold case, encrusted with 77 diamonds, or in case of the same white gold of 18 carats with a bezel decorated with guilloche. “Grieb & Benzinger Grey Dragon” is also presented in case of gold, this time pink, with 77 diamonds decorating the bezel and staples. The men's wristwatch “Grieb & Benzinger Grey Dragon” can also be bought in pink gold case with guilloched bezel. The leather straps are tastefully chosen by designers to match the dial: white or dark gray.
The next representative of the new line from “Grieb & Benzinger” is “Grieb & Benzinger Black Dragon”, the design of which contains colors that are symbolic in Chinese culture: black and red. The Dragon drooped immovably over the skeletonized dial from sterling silver, which reveals the blackened bridges and gears of skeleton movement. Simply put, all the elements of this model from which "extra" metal could be removed, are skeletonized. The men's wristwatch “Grieb & Benzinger Black Dragon” can be purchased either in rose gold case with 77 diamonds, or in rose gold case with guilloched bezel. The model is equipped with a black leather strap with stitched contrasting red thread.
And finally, the last of its kind, but not least Dragon is “Grieb & Benzinger Blue Dragon”. "Blue Dragon" is the pinnacle of the whole "dragon" collection from the German watch company. This watch is fully skeletonized, starting from the movement and finishing with the beautiful dial with a figure of Dragon. The Chinese handmade works of art have ancient tradition that is embodied in a new form from Grieb & Benzinger. The watch “Grieb & Benzinger Blue Dragon” is a perfect example of hand work: skeletonizing technique, guilloche, beautiful engraving and, of course, watchmaking. Our dear reader has already realized that all watches, reflecting the symbol of Dragon, are not simple models, but objects of art, in which every detail makes sense. The situation of “Grieb & Benzinger Blue Dragon” is the same. The blue plate of movement was not chosen by chance: during the reign of the Qing Dynasty (1796 - 1850) China received a lot of watches with that blue plate, therefore, that men's wristwatch “Grieb & Benzinger Blue Dragon” had a profound historical meaning. As well as the above watches from the "Dragon" collection, the model “Grieb & Benzinger Blue Dragon” is available in two versions: in white gold case with guilloched bezel or white gold case, adorned with 127 baguette-cut diamonds. One can wear this men's watch with a leather strap of blue color.
The men's wristwatch “Grieb & Benzinger” from the collection “The Year of Dragon” have the following traditional functions: hours and minutes (two central hands) and small second hand (at "6" hours) in the model “Grieb & Benzinger Black Dragon”. By the way, looking at the animals on the dials, I noticed one distinctive feature: the "German" Dragons by “Grieb & Benzinger” have an amazingly long mustache that curled into a spiral. Since the Dragon is the result of violent fantasies of ancient people, up to this day every man imagines it in his own way.
Artistic images of Dragons on the watches of Wei & Friends
A small watch company “Wei & Friends”, founded by Martin Weichert in Prague, is specialized in the production of wristwatches with original design. The magnificent works of this factory are distinguished by their simplicity, brevity and unique design. All watches of the Czech company “Wei & Friends” are born from the collaboration with famous artists and designers. In light of this, the watches by “Wei & Friends” combine an individual approach, creativity of artists and traditional rules of watchmaking. Special features of hand work, which takes an enormous amount of time and efforts of the best specialists in their field, are inherent in each model of wristwatches from “Wei & Friends”.
To create the collection of watches “Wei & Friends Unique” the leadership of the company invited two talented artists for cooperation: young artist Doris Oplova and miniaturist Lalina Menslova. The motive, appearing on the dials of watches, is based on myths and legends of the ancient East, particularly China. The clear lines of the case, made of polished stainless steel, smoothly transform into a "live" image of Dragon, sitting on the enamel dial. A minimalistic design of the case with hidden staples visually emphasizes the originality of this creation and highlights the men's watch “Wei & Friends Unique” from a huge variety of "dragon" watches created by the watch companies in honor of the coming 2012 Year of Dragon. The effect of "missing" staples is achieved by an interesting construction of steel case, the assembly method of which is similar to methods used by the watchmakers in the XVIII and XIX centuries. Specially for two models of watches “Wei & Friends Unique” the super-slim minute and hour hands, the tips of which are made of blued steel, have been designed. Thanks to this, all details of images on the dials are perfectly seen.
Inside the "Dragons" of Wei & Friends a strong "heart" is beating - hand-wound movement at 17 stones. This caliber is available in two configurations: W9811 and W9815, the choice of which depends on individual preferences. The movement W9811 is designed on the basis of Swiss caliber ETA 6498 Elabore, and the movement W9815 is based on caliber ETA 6498SOPROD. The watch movement is protected from shocks and external influence by a special system Antishock. The enamel dial with image of Dragon, covered by anti-glare sapphire crystal, is devoid of hour indices and markers, which here are placed on the bezel of model. Due to this design decision, the watch dial is unloaded, and all the attention is paid to the figure of Chinese Dragon. Despite this, the rate of readability remains as high as possible. The watch “Wei & Friends Unique” with its round case, constituting 44.5 mm in diameter, and 12 mm in thickness, is a true men's time meter. The water resistance of this model is also quite high - up to 100 meters. It is logical, since 2012 is the Year of Water Dragon.
The men's watch “Wei & Friends Unique” is released in two versions. The difference between these models is the color of Dragons. The Dragon, decorating the dial of “Wei & Friends Unique 800.1” is gray, and the mythical creature on the model “Wei & Friends Unique 800.2” has a brown color. Each of the above models is released in a limited edition, which has 8 (another reference to the Chinese symbols) copies. The men's watch “Wei & Friends Unique” is offered with a black rubber strap with a butterfly-buckle. In addition, the set includes an additional black alligator strap with hand stitching and a set of tools for strap replacement.
In my opinion, these "dragons" are among the most original and creative time meters on the world market in honor of 2012 due to their simplicity and lack of luxury items. Diamonds, "gold dust" and other precious materials would be superfluous here, for the main luxury of these watches is limitless talent of artists working on them.
Speake-Marin Renaissance — “complicated Dragon”
Talented watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin, the founder of the watch company “Speake-Marin”, is known as the creator of automatic tourbillon Project Z3 for Harry Winston, as well as the designer of amazing watches that have a high level of complexity and unique design solutions. In 2012, Peter Speake-Marin has presented the great men's wristwatch “Speake-Marin Renaissance” with the image of Chinese Dragon. It seems that the watch company “Speake-Marin” is experiencing a "golden period" of its activity, as its new watch may become one of the most interesting pieces of the watch sphere this year. The Swiss watchmaker, Peter Speake-Marin, released a skeleton wristwatch, which is characterized by tourbillon and minute repeater. Few of modern watchmakers manage to create a time meter of similar level of complexity.
The shape and design of case remind of the well-known throughout the world collection “Speake-Marin Picadilly”, but new watches "recovered" from 42 mm to 44 mm. In watches with such complications a rather great thickness of case immediately catches the eye, but there is nothing like this here. Given the fact that the watch “Speake-Marin Renaissance” is complicated by tourbillon and minute repeater, the case is ultrathin - only 11 mm. This figure also includes the thickness of sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, inserted from both front and back sides. The new men's watch “Speake-Marin Renaissance” has many features common to all models of “Speake-Marin”: blue figured hands of blued steel, dial with intersecting lines (as in the collection “Marin-1”), and special rotor, which in this case fulfills the role of tourbillon carriage. Anyone, who will look at the smallest details of this watch, will be delighted. All elements of skeletonized movement are finished by hand and processed by rhodium. The hour indexes, which are located on the outer ring of what is left from the dial after skeletonizing, are "sawn" and covered with black varnish. The small second hand (also of blued steel) is placed on the tourbillon carriage at "5" hours.
All positive emotions that arise when studying the dial of “Speake-Marin Renaissance” are only "child’s play". The culmination of the incredible "show" begins when the viewer turns the watch and sees four major plates of the movement and intricate figure of Dragon, engraved on the surface, through the transparent case. As for such ancient historical complexity, as minute repeater, then it should be admitted that it appears less frequently in modern wristwatches. Peter Speake-Marin, not afraid of seeming old-fashioned, used that sound complication in his creation. The gongs are hidden from the viewer's eye, and two hammers are seen at "2" hours on the dial. The men's wristwatch “Speake-Marin Renaissance” with the Dragon, "hidden" on the back side of the model, is certainly a masterpiece of watchmaking. Despite the complicated movement and massive 44-mm case of 18-carat pink gold, the men's wristwatch “Speake-Marin Renaissance” is not heavy and looks pretty stylish. The new "Dragon" is probably one of the most expensive models ever produced by Speake-Marin, the price of this watch exceeds USD 300.000.
The new "Dragon" from Speake-Marin gets its energy from the exact movement at 29 stones with a diameter of 32.4 mm and thickness of only 5.36 mm. The caliber is made up of 330 parts, the balance frequency is 21,600 vibrations per hour. The movement has silicon escape wheel and anchor. For those, who have carefully read this article, I will explain that I did not make a slip. Indeed, these items are made of silicon, according to the idea of the master, so that the magnetic influence on them is noticeably lower, and the accuracy of the watch increases. The unique features of this movement are completed by a surprisingly great power reserve - 100 hours. The function of minute repeater is launched at pressing the button at "9" hours. The water resistance is typical for the skeleton watch - up to 30 meters. The master himself, Peter Speake-Marin, is proud to present his watch, indicating that this unique model with hand-engraved Dragon on the movement is an example of a high-level watch mechanics and aesthetic perfection. "This timepiece represents a fresh start in my work, which is why I named it “Renaissance”, Speake-Marin says. “I wanted to create a timepiece that is, in a sense, a reinvention of my work.”