Métiers d'Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac - Year of the Dragon

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13 September 2023

  •  Vacheron Constantin is celebrating the Year of the Dragon and its legend with two 25-piece limited editions, unveiled at Watches and Wonders Shanghai.
  • The Maison unites two of its crafts – engraving and enamelling – within an elegant 40 mm case in 950 platinum or 18K 5N pink gold.
  •  In-house Calibre 2460 G4 dedicates technology to serving artistic creativity, with a disc-type display enabling craftsmanship to take centre stage.


It all began with the sign of the snake in 2012. As it comes to the end of a 12-year cycle, the Métiers d'Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac Collection welcomes two 25-piece limited editions unveiled during Watches and Wonders Shanghai. A symbol of nobility, strength, good luck and success, the dragon unfurls its mystical aura while grasping a pearl, a symbol of knowledge and wisdom, on the dial of these two new creations in 950 platinum or 18K 5N pink gold, combining the beauty of the engraving and enamelling with the technical of Calibre 2460 G4.

In Chinese culture, the dragon is said to be endowed with incredible virtues. As the Year of the Rabbit draws to a close, the fabulous dragon follows, majestically occupying the dial of the two new Métiers d'Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac – Year of the Dragon limited editions unveiled at Watches and Wonders Shanghai.

The embodiment of honour, nobility, success and good luck, this supernatural creature was also a powerful symbol of Chinese imperial power and is doubtless still the most popular zodiac sign in this age-old culture. Its sculpted snake-like silhouette now takes centre stage on this watch, a symbolic sight featuring countless details that stand out in relief against a delicately engraved and enamelled decoration. The resulting fantastical artwork epitomises a blend of strength and delicacy, born of the union of engraving and enamelling, two rare skills cultivated by Vacheron Constantin.

Engraving meets enamelling

The two new Métiers d'Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac – Year of Dragon limited editions combine the finesse of the master enameller with the delicacy of the master engraver. The artisan first sculpts the gold dial to create a dreamlike decor of air flows and clouds, inspired by traditional Chinese artistic motifs. The dragon stands out against this refined backdrop, also hand-engraved with an unparalleled sense of detail. It takes more than three days of work to bring this mystical figurine to life, its body adorned with some 300 scales. Synonymous with knowledge, wisdom and abundance, the similarly hand-engraved pearl adds a spiritual dimension to the scene.

Each 25-piece limited edition features a different dial colour, achieved through the expertise of the enamelling artisan. The 40 mm-diameter case in 950 platinum features a deep blue Grand Feu enamel dial matched with a blue Mississipiensis alligator leather strap. The likewise 40 mm pink gold version features a brown Grand Feu enamel dial of unalterable beauty, matched with a tone-on-tone Mississipiensis alligator leather strap.

A calibre that unleashes creativity

Within the Métiers d'Art collection, watchmaking technology is dedicated to the service of artistic creativity. Behind the scenes, Vacheron Constantin has opted for the in-house self-winding Calibre 2460 G4, which gives pride of place to the dial. The hands-free watch face provides a unique indication of the passage of time through four apertures opening onto the trailing hours and minutes, as well as the jumping day-date displays. Through the sapphire crystal caseback in 950 platinum or 18K 5N pink gold, Calibre 2460 G4 reveals the beauty of its finishing, starting with its 22K gold oscillating weight adorned with a motif inspired by Vacheron Constantin’s Maltese Cross emblem.


Interview with Christian Selmoni, Style and Heritage Director

1/ After the tiger and the rabbit, Vacheron Constantin closes its cycle of the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac with the dragon. A grand finale?

It's true that we have given particular importance to the Chinese calendar in our Métiers d’Art collections, presenting all the signs of the zodiac over the last twelve years. One of the reasons for this is that Vacheron Constantin's relationship with China is more than special and, above all, historical. Following the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, which put an end to the first Opium War, Vacheron Constantin, already a supplier of exceptional timepieces to court dignitaries, established its first commercial contacts in 1845, in a country we have never left since. This means that barely 90 years after its foundation, Vacheron Constantin was gaining a foothold in China, at a time when Swiss production of so-called Chinese watches was a real success, watches designed to withstand humidity, characterized by the richness of their engraved and enamelled decorations and which were sold in pairs. It is in Shanghai that we have a unique space of its kind with the "Maison 1775", a historic building in the Zhangyuan district that offers a unique immersion in the world of Vacheron Constantin over four floors.

2/ Does this proximity to China explain this serie?

This serie has deep historical roots. But it is also in keeping with the broader perspective of the relationships forged by the company with its Chinese clientele. Vacheron Constantin has produced several series of watches specially dedicated to the Chinese market, including a ladies' model in the Traditionnelle collection in a China Special Edition in 2019. Chinese decorative arts are also a theme we have explored extensively with Métiers d'art pieces such as Laque de Chine, Florilège - Limodoron Chinois and Fabuleux Ornements - Broderie Chinoise. Chinese connoisseurs of fine watchmaking are indeed very sensitive to the work of craftsmanship and appreciate rare talents. In this spirit, last year we presented three limited series Traditionnelle Tourbillon Phoenix and Dragon with beautifully sculpted gold appliques representing the two mythical animals on the dial and a delicately engraved case incorporating our extra-flat tourbillon, Calibre 2160. For Vacheron Constantin, this type of piece underlines the special links that unite our two cultures.



Presented at Watches and Wonders Shanghai, two 25-piece Métiers d'Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac – Year of the Dragon limited editions celebrate one of China's most beloved astrological signs. Framed by an elegant 40 mm case in 950 platinum or 18K 5N pink gold, the art of engraving combines with enamelling skills to depict the dragon, a supernatural creature symbolising power, luck and nobility. This elegant work of art beats to the rhythm of self-winding Calibre 2460 G4, which powers a unique display of the hours, minutes, day and date through four apertures, giving Vacheron Constantin's Métiers d'Art craftspeople unlimited scope for expression.




2460 G4 
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin 
Mechanical, self-winding 
31 mm (11¼’’’) diameter, 6.05 mm thick 
Approximately 40 hours of power reserve 
4 Hz (28,800 vibrations per hour) 
237 components 
27 jewels 
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepieces

Hours, minutes, day of the week and date in apertures

950 platinum/18K 5N pink gold 
40 mm diameter, 12.72 mm thick 
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback 
Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 3bar (approx.30 meters) 

18K gold, hand-engraved, Grand Feu enamelled 
Hand-engraved 950 platinum/18K 5N pink gold dragon

Dark blue/brown Mississippiensis alligator leather with alligator leather inner shell, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales

950 platinum/18K 5N pink gold folding clasp 
Polished half Maltese cross-shaped

Delivered with a corrector pen

Limited series of 25 pieces per reference.

Pieces only available through the Vacheron Constantin boutiques.