Arnold & Son’s CEO Bertrand Savary on the new Luna Magna Red Gold Year of the Dragon watch: ‘The creation took a year to complete’

The creation took a year to complete. Hand-engraved in solid 18k red gold, each dragon takes over 30 hours to complete and every one is unique. The other highlight is the large 12mm moon, which is a work of art. It’s a perfect sphere, with one half in red gold and the other in onyx or pietersite. It’s extremely complicated to construct the moon – look at the red gold’s perfect mirror polish and the seamless line where the precious metal and stone meet. Then there’s its perfect weight, which ensures the moonphase function works perfectly. For this, a precise amount of gold needs to be hollowed out. The moon is then affixed to the movement via the top and bottom and revolves on its axis. Beneath the off-centre white opal dial is Super-LumiNova and when it glows, it really resembles a full moon.

Why was pietersite chosen for the second variant?

That was my choice. I thought the dragon would look like it’s soaring in the sky against the blue of the stone. And since it’s a natural stone, each dial is unique. I like the onyx too as the deep black gives the timepiece a beautiful depth that contrasts against the gold. Clients can also request for a bespoke piece with a different stone and the process takes about three or four months.

Are the artisans, such as the engraver and gem-cutters, in-house craftsmen from Arnold & Son?

No, they’re not. There are only five or six top engravers in Switzerland and we worked with one of them, whose factory is just 10 minutes from La Chaux-de-Fonds. As for the dial maker, we collaborated with a group of three brothers, who are considered to be the best in the world and have worked with some of the biggest watch brands. One of them is the technical guy, who works with the machines, while another is a gemologist, who travels the world to source for stones. He had gone to Australia to personally select the white opal that you see on the dial here.

We enjoy collaborating with one another because some of the projects are world premieres, like our new watch with an amber dial that was launched at Dubai Watch Week earlier this year. It took this gem-cutting specialist six months to properly cut the amber because it kept shattering. We’re the first manufacture to produce such a dial and we’ve a patent for it.