Introducing: The Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dragon

by Matt Clymo

With 2024 being the Year Of The Dragon starting on February 10, Chopard have released a beautiful timepiece, limited to 88 pieces, to celebrate the occasion.

According to tradition, the legendary first Emperor of China, Huangdi – who reigned from c.2700-2600 BCE – incorporated various creatures in his coat of arms as he conquered neighbouring tribes and was the one who ultimately created the image which would become the forerunner of the Chinese dragon we know today. It is this that Chopard pays tribute to in their latest piece.

Chopard’s L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dragon is a beautiful piece that combines both artisanal watchmaking with artistic craftsmanship, combining the fusion of gold and lacquer – a technique that is rarely seen and even less frequently mastered, masking the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dragon even more special.

The Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dragon

The dial itself is a piece of art, which is decorated with Urushi lacquer, gold powder and mother-of-pearl inlays. It is produced in the workshops of the century-old company Yamada Heiando and crafted by master artist Minori Koizumi. This technique requires around 20 hours to produce each dial and is a technique where the artist layers lacquer onto the wood letting it dry and then layers on another, wiping away the excess until that layer is dry over and over again.

In this particular instance, gold flakes have been placed between each of the layers of lacquer, which is made from the sap of the Toxicodendron vernicifluum (Chinese lacquer) tree. This gives the background of the dial depth and the pieces of gold light up the surrounding dark. Given this year is the Year Of The Wood Dragon, Chopard has chosen this technique to honour it. The effect is a dial that showcases a dragon, soaring high above the clouds in a majestic way.

The dial on the L.U.C Year Of The Dragon is something special

The dial is housed in a 39.5mm ethical 18-carat rose gold case, which is only 6.8mm thick. The case is polished all around, including the inter horn space of the watch, which you can see in the image below, including the bezel and caseback with the see-through sapphire crystal, showcasing the in-house L.U.C 96.17-L Automatic Calibre.

The polished case and lugs of the L.U.C Year Of The Dragon

The case thinness is due to the L.U.C 96.17-L Automatic Calibre which itself is only 3.3mm thick. No mean feat given it’s automatic with 65 hours of power reserve. Chopard achieves this by stacking the two barrels (Chopard Twin technology) on top of each other and use of the gold micro-rotor in ethical 22-carat gold. As with all L.U.C movements, it’s a beautiful movement with the bridges adorned with Côtes de Genève motif and edges finished with anglage, pearlage on the baseplates, and elements of solarisation on the wheels.

Final Thoughts

There are many Year Of The Dragon Releases that have been released or slated for release this year. What will set them all apart is the design and craftsmanship that go into each piece, and those who have the ability to create something truly unique and artisanal will certainly stand out from the crowd. This is what Chopard have done with the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dragon.

This is the 12th year Chopard have produced a watch using the Urushi lacquer technique, and having done some reading on this age-old artisanal style, it’s not an easy method to employ especially on a watch and dial of this size. But the artist has done a beautiful job and for those lucky 88 people who will own and wear this watch, will have a piece of meaningful art on their wrist.

Reference: 161902-5079


  • Case: 39.5mm, 6.8mm thick
  • Case Material: Ethical 18-carat rose gold
  • Dial: Hand-crafted in Japan using the Urushi lacquer technique with a special Year of the Dragon scene. Gilded Dauphine-type hours and minutes hands
  • Crystal: Glare-proofed sapphire crystal
  • Water resistance: 30m (3ATM)
  • Movement: In-house L.U.C 96.17-L Automatic Calibre, pivoting on 29 Jewels and vibrating at 4Hz / 28,800 VpH
  • Power reserve: 65 hours
  • Strap: Hand-sewn black alligator leather strap with nubuck lining. Pin buckle in polished ethical 18-carat rose gold

Australian Recommended Retail Price: $44,600 AUD

Availability: Enquire via Chopard Boutique Sydney

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