Luxury watch manufacturer Arnold & Son took inspiration from one of the most revered creatures in Chinese mythology — the dragon — to come up with its Métiers d’Art Dragon Editions. There are only two watches in the collection: the HM Dragon Unique Piece and the UTTE Dragon Unique Piece. Each watch is truly one-of-a-kind. Arnold & Son only produced one model of the HM Dragon and one model of the UTTE Dragon.
The brand’s latest collection celebrates a symbol that’s revered in Chinese culture. The iconic Chinese dragon is portrayed as a serpentine creature that symbolizes power, strength, and good luck.
A Fine Tradition
Arnold & Son has a long history of crafting the finest luxury timepieces. The watch-focused iW magazine briefly detailed the company’s history: “Dating back to 1764, John Arnold began the Arnold & Son dynasty in London. There, he designed watches for wealthy clientele, which included royalty.” After Arnold presented the smallest repeating watch ever made to King George III, his fame grew.
Arnold also introduced innovations in the watchmaking industry. He earned the industry’s respect with his patents for watch mechanisms such as the detent escapement, bimetallic balance, and helical balance spring. He was recognized as “one of the most inventive watchmakers of his day.”
The historic watch company has undergone organizational changes over the years. It was re-started by a Swiss watch company called The British Masters, which — as its name indicates — aims to honor British watchmakers.
In May, 2010, The British Masters sold Arnold & Son to La Joux-Perret. Then, in March 2012, Arnold & Son was acquired by Citizen. Though it is now Japanese-owned, the watch company is still under Swiss management.
Throughout the said changes, Arnold & Son has stayed consistent in producing high-quality watches.
As the timepiece company stated, “Arnold & Son belongs to a select group of watchmaking companies in Switzerland entitled to call themselves a manufacture, a French term reserved exclusively for watch manufacturers who develop and produce their own movements in-house.”
Indeed, Arnold & Son’s long history of impeccable craftsmanship is showcased in all the details and embellishments adorning the HM Dragon and the UTTE Dragon.
Although the two watches may have some similarities — such as both of them being water resistant for up to 30 meters — they are set apart by their key features. They may resemble each other in some ways and you can tell that they form a set — but they are far from identical.
In a Bloomberg report, Chris Rovzar noted: “The UTTE Dragon case is 18 karat red gold, and the watch features the tourbillon caliber A&S8200 hand-wound movement with a one-minute flying tourbillon and more than 90 hours of power reserve.” It measures 42 mm and features a sapphire caseback.
Meanwhile, the HM Dragon — which boasts of its own finely-crafted parts — is a more streamlined piece. Though it only has hour and minute indicators, it has a more dominant dragon painting on its face. Rovzar further pointed out: “It features the A&S1001 caliber hand-wound movement and 21 jewels on the inside. The case is 18 karat rose gold and also features a sapphire caseback — and wears slightly smaller at 40 mm.”
Of course, the “centerpiece” of the HM Dragon and the UTTE Dragon is the hand-painted rendition of the mythical creature that inspired their creation.
As Philippe Boven of Arnold & Son explained, “The art of hand-painting miniatures takes many years of concentrated practice to perfect, and these exquisite dragons presented our specialists with an ideal opportunity to showcase their skills.”
Watch Allure also took note of the dragons, stating, “Both versions feature a hand-painted dragon miniature with strong, deep colors which is in contrast to the simpler white mother-of-pearl dial. Such an extraordinary detail is a result of expertly applied layers of paint and shades of color and creates a stunning three-dimensional depth.”
“Art watches are not always everyone’s cup of tea, but hand-painted examples such as these two new models from Arnold & Son are prized for the incredible amount of labor that goes into them — and often because very few of them exist in the world,” Rovzar observed.
For its part, Arnold & Son likewise pointed out: “These models will appeal to watch connoisseurs who appreciate finest-quality watchmaking combined with beautiful arts and crafts.”
Apart from the fine craftsmanship, the exclusivity that is attached to the HM Dragon and the UTTE Dragon was taken into consideration when it came to assigning their price tags.
The HM Dragon is priced at $41,900, while the UTTE Dragon is at $85,900. The watches are available for purchase now, but buyers are given the option of further customizing each watch by requesting to have diamonds inset in the bezel.
That enhancement, of course, comes at a price. With diamonds, the price of the HM Dragon increases to $48,500 and the UTTE Dragon goes up to $92,400. The buyers who opt for the diamond enhancement would also have to wait for about two months before they get the watches.