According to the traditional Chinese calendar, 2024 is a prosperous and harmonious year. Arnold & Son is marking it with a sculptural flying dragon on a dial where the artistic crafts converge. Fine watchmaking, sculpture and miniature painting compose the two versions of Perpetual Moon 41.5 Red Gold “Year of the Dragon”. This limited edition comprising eight pieces features an encounter between a rose gold dragon and a mother-of-pearl moon.
The year of the Wooden Dragon starts on 10 February 2024. The dragon in this element is a harbinger of calm determination; the creature’s natural ardour is tempered by the wood. A year of questioning and control, it is also all about negotiation and generosity. These attributes coalesce to make this an eagerly-awaited year, duly celebrated by Arnold & Son with Perpetual Moon 41.5 Red Gold “Year of the Dragon”.
In the inimitable tradition of decorative horology important to Arnold & Son, this year is dedicated to a new “Chinese Zodiac” limited edition in the Perpetual Moon collection. There are two versions, each with eight pieces produced, with a large, panoramic moon illuminating a nocturnal garden setting and a sinuous rose gold (4N) dragon.
The backdrop to this scene is made from aventurine. Black or blue, the glass sparkling with metallic powder gives it a star-studded air. This is a calm union, in line with the subtleties of the Wooden Dragon. In the background stand a few stone pines with gnarled branches evoking the dragon’s shape.
This dragon, positioned with its profile against the aventurine glass, is a supremely delicate sculpture with countless hand-crafted details. With powerful feet, dissuasive claws, open maw and whiskers flowing in the wind, this majestic creature drifts between two worlds. Depicted realistically with hand-painted shadows, the large, mother-of-pearl moon is overlaid with Super-LumiNova. It is placed against an aventurine glass sky and surrounded by the constellations of the Great Bear and Cassiopeia, which are also hand-painted and overlaid with luminescent material
The choice of these star patterns is a direct allusion to the history of marine chronometer-maker John Arnold. They have served as guiding lights since the dawn of time. In the middle distance lies the pole star, which unerringly indicates the north. Here, the importance of stars in determining periods, thresholds and symbols in the Chinese zodiac calendar constitutes a unique point of cultural and graphic convergence.
On the case back, a secondary display of the phases of the moon allows fast and accurate adjustment of the moon age. The manually-wound A&S1512 calibre that powers the Perpetual Moon 41.5 Red Gold “Year of the Dragon” is able to track the phases of the moon with exceptional accuracy. The total duration of a lunar cycle is 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds. Arnold & Son has approached this so closely that it would take 122 years for this movement, if constantly wound up, to accumulate a 24-hour discrepancy between the display and astronomical reality.
Like all Arnold & Son’s movements, the A&S1512 calibre was entirely developed, produced, decorated, assembled, adjusted and cased up at the manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds. This calibre uses a double barrel with an oscillation frequency of 3 Hz, giving a 90-hour power reserve.