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Top 13 luxury brands “Year of the Dragon” editions for the wealthy Chinese

Andrea Divirgilio / April 4, 2012

The year 2012, also known as the ‘Year of the Dragon’ in Chinese astrology, is already a big hunting time for the western luxury. Whether it’s the cars, jewelry, watches, art pieces, premium alcohol brands, or even restaurants, each one seems to be cashing in on the special Chinese mythical animal, known to be a symbol prosperity and power in the Asian country. As for the latest figures point, there are 146 billionaires in the country which has grown exponentially since 2010, at the rate of 10% a year. This also means, that China is now the world’s fastest growing market for luxury products, making it ideal hunting ground for the likes of Rolls Royce, Piaget, Versace, Vertu, Aston Martin, and even Dartz who have all managed to create something special for their rich Chinese customers. This list points out to a series of those products and brands, which have already cashed in, or will be cashing in shortly around this craze.

Swarovski crystal statue

Total editions: 888

Price: $20,000

Meant to be an ideal art piece for the rich Chinese, Swarovski created a limited edition series of 888 dragon statues, with an amber and tone to their looks. Handcrafted to perfection, there are 66,219 crystals all over the body of this statue which measures 11-inches x 14-inches in size. There will also be a certificate of authentication for those buying this statue.

L’Essence de Courvoisier du Dragon cognac

Total editions: 500

Price: $5,000

This limited edition bottle of cognac first made an appearance in 2009, when some 100 of the best offerings of the Grand Champagne region and the Borderies cognac crus were blended together, to create this special edition bottle. The bottle is no less regal, as 30 craftsmen of Baccarat have been involved to create the unique bottle, which features the golden dragon artwork on it, and of course the shaping of the bottle which is unique. No wonder one will get to see only 500 of these amongst the most treasured collections of the rich Chinese.

Versace ‘Year of the dragon’ handbag

Total editions: 210

Price: $5,017

When the name Versace props up, everything ultra-luxurious automatically comes flooding to one’s mind. The special edition Year of the Dragon handbag is no exception. Only 210 of these will ever feature in the collection of rich Chinese ladies, who can boast of a brushed gold handle, and golden Chinese embroidery which are reminiscent from the times of Chinese imperialism. The pitch black leather base of the bag, and the rare gemstones and pendants make way for quiet the head turner, and to notify of its elite production, each bag comes with the special engraving and sequence number as well.

Piaget ‘Exceptional piece’ Year of the dragon watch

Total editions: 1 (one-off edition)

Price: $1.72 million

One of the most exclusive ranges of items created this year, this one-off watch created by Piaget has been center of attention, ever since it’s unveiling in Hong Kong earlier. As shrouded in mystery about the features, this truly exceptional timepiece isn’t just about displaying the right time and more so for its detailed crafting and design. More like a wristlet with this thick ornamental body, this watch will serve to be one woman’s jewelry of pride more than anything.

Rolls Royce Phantom ‘Year of the Dragon edition’

Total editions: N.A

Price: $1.2 million

One of the most phenomenal editions from the house of Rolls Royce, the Year of the Dragon edition sold out within 2 months of the car being launched in China. No wonder that the company is now thinking of 14 new dealerships in the country, thus converting it into their largest one for their special cars. The major tweaking for this particular edition, included the twin Dragon coach-line, Dragon embroidery headrest, Dragon Phantom passenger panel inlay, Dragon cushions on the rear passenger seat, illuminated tread plates, and celebratory Marquetry selection options matching with the veneers of the inside décor. This Dragon coach-line will feature a twin designed version, with hand painted gold dragons on both sides and each of them facing forward as a positive omen. The door sills, on the other hand, will have ‘Year of the dragon 2012’ highlighted by LED lighting, on all the 4 doors. The embroidery on the insides, which will be featured in the headrests and rear seat cushions, will be hand-stitched with the RR logo and the golden dragon adorning them.

Parmigiani Le Dragon et La Perle du Savoir clock

Total editions: One-off

Price: $3.5 million

When it comes to Chinese symbolism, one of the main elements which strike everyone is the elaborate designing which is what the Parmigiani Dragon watch is shown with. Dubbed the Dragon and pearl of wisdom, this one-off watch by Parimigiani had 100 people work on it, spending a total of 6,000 man hours to craft it in totality. The sterling silver dragon got gold plating, along with the 117 natural jade embossing for individual crafting of the 468 individual scales, which are multi-colored throughout the body of the mythical animal. The claws and the teeth are done from white gold, where as the eyes are formed by carving rubies. The hours are displayed on this watch by the glided silver circular base at the bottom, alongside the engraved gold band below it.

Dartz Prombron Year of the dragon edition

Total editions: 12

Price: $7.93 million

With the entry of other luxury car brands like Rolls Royce and Aston Martin, it was no exception that Dartz introduced a special edition SUV in the form of the Prombron Year of the Dragon edition. Changes on the rugged SUV will be visible both on the outside and inside. The most prominent of them all is the special black shade of the chassis, which has been given a unique matte texturing. Though a piano smooth finish is what one would ideally expect, but a matte finishing is known to create its own charm, and also lend a rugged-cum-sophisticated appeal to it. Other than that, there is the special monogram located on the front grille of the car. Using a yellow gold ring, it houses detailed oriental designs on the inside, along with housing a garland of rubies and diamonds within the circle. This is followed by the sterling silver plates on either side, which will again feature a dragon engraving, apart from those inside the SUV. Techno additions include the 42-inch Philips LCD TV with 3D graphics and satellite connection, along with Wi-Fi to work on the internet while being on the move. This vehicle is incidentally 600mm longer than the usual version.

Aston Martin Dragon 88 range of cars

Total editions: 88

Price: NA

Unveiled at the Beijing Motor Show, the Dragon 88 model from Aston Martin, was used as concept on 3 of its models; the V8 Vantage S, Virage, and the DBS, all of which will have their own set of iconography related to the Year of the dragon theme. Also, there are options for selecting the color of the vehicle from 3 options, including the champagne gold, volcano red, and amethyst red, all of which represent a different set of values of Chinese culture. Apart from the gold thread work iconoclast on the seats, there will be a special laser engraved badge, and individual numbering of the cars. The iconic Aston Martin wings will be seen on the exterior as a 24K- gold plated badge on the hood and rear end.

Vertu signature dragon phones

Total editions: custom ordered

Price: $26,800

Though Nokia was not on the top of the technological curve due to its sliding market share, but its luxury division, Vertu made significant inroads into the Chinese market with the signature Year of the dragon phones. The 3 options which the Chinese buyers will now be able to choose from include the stainless steel and emerald, black stainless steel and ruby, and lastly, the yellow gold and diamond editions. With a custom order production, each of these luxury phones will have the detailed 4-clawed dragon monogram, apart from the handcrafted front functions buttons and detailing, all done with the precious metals. In fact, each gold edition is sent across a journey to Switzerland to quality checks and certificate of authenticity, which will also accompany the phones. Since Vertu is also about a complete persona, there will be a one-year concierge service for each individual customer.

Blancpain Limited Edition “Chinese Dragon” Caruso Watch

Total editions: 50

Price: $219,682

One of the most sophisticated timepieces designed for the Year of the Dragon, this limited edition Blancpain watch, featured highly skillful artistry for the case back which had dragon iconography, and its ultra-sophisticated and sleek marquetry on the front dial, which showed time through thin gold markings. With the extensive use of 18K rose gold on many of its other parts, including the core tourbillon movement shown on the front, it does speak volumes about the sophisticated origin. The strapping was created out of brown animal leather.

Roberto Coin Dragon Ring and Bangle

Total editions: NA

Price: $45,000 (bangle), Ring ($19,000)

One of the best ways to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Dragon would be by wearing the symbolic animal on one’s wrist. Roberto Coin ensured that to perfection, with the special edition ring and bangle, both of which are built in similar design. 18K rose gold, with handcrafted scaling throughout the body, along with miniature carved rubies, adorn the design of these jewelry pieces. There is also an additional design, where diamonds have been used in place.

Zannetti Dragon watch winder

Total editions: NA

Price: NA

Since oriental designs have traditionally been a serious source of curiosity and admiration, this watch winder by Zannetti could just hit bull’s eye with the lot. The most prominent part of this table top device, is the silver dragon perched on top, which reportedly took the craftsmen hours of fine carving to come up with the perfect product in the end. On the sides, there is the red detailing on the right side, where as some yellow gold artwork, is seen on the silver dragon and the side artwork as well. The design actually has its origin traced back to 1990, when Sandro Colarieti on search for a perfect winder tried to create some of his own. In the end, the master Patek Philippe and him, were jointly successful in creating a range, which went on to be counted amongst the best there is. Talking of the main functional mechanism, the 1RTM motor, it has been put in place to house one watch only. This means, the only master piece, or the one watch that seems to be the apple of your eye, will get a sitting on this watch winder. There is also the brass cylinder, leather base, and PVD polished custom gearing used as a part of the core engine of the device, which can work with a 6 volt DC transformer, or with batteries of equal capacity.

Shanghai Tang Nespresso coffee set

Total Editions: NA

Price: NA

The Shanghai Tang Coffee machine has already been in the limelight for winning the award for the ‘Red Dot Design’ recently. It contains a unique extraction and brewing system with an automatic CitiZ stand-by mechanism, to dish the perfect brew of your cuppa each time. The set of coffee cups and saucers on the other hand, come as a pair and have traditional artwork on the saucers, in the form of dragons. The cups are plain white with carved designs. The 2 capsule holders are carved as well, but one has stone inlays and the other silver ornamentation on the inside. But all of the set contains the striking red color which adds an aura of vibrancy to it.

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