Jaquet Droz Imperial Dragon Automaton Red Gold in Cuprite

February 2024

Jaquet Droz Imperial Dragon Automaton Red Gold in Cuprite

This unique piece combines art and engineering, animating the mythical dragon central to Chinese culture with unparalleled detail. Crafted by the collaborative talents of John Howe and Jaquet Droz’s master artisans, this piece features a dragon brought to life with nine distinct movements.


he Dragon is an animal with historic links to Jaquet Droz. The Atelier’s founder was one of the earliest official suppliers to the Imperial Court of China, 280 years ago. Today, Jaquet Droz still regularly explores the symbolism of the Dragon in collaboration with John Howe, conceptual designer for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and one of its most consummate connoisseurs.

The Imperial Dragon Automaton Red Gold – Cuprite embodies this narrative, and continues to enrich it with the deeply disruptive approach of the new Jaquet Droz. It is a modern piece, powerful and unique. It captures the past with both deference and creativity. Respectful yet audacious.

Jaquet Droz Imperial Dragon Automaton Red Gold in Cuprite

Its dial is made from cuprite, a stone symbolising strength, energy and vitality, with its bright red colour representing the Dragon’s characteristic fire. However, not many people are aware that the Dragon is also associated with rain, which is why the Jaquet Droz artisans have surrounded its head and tail with clouds painted in shades of gold and ochre. This dragon features all of the distinguishing traits from Chinese culture: two moustache tendrils pointing upwards, a full beard, gently rounded teeth – the Dragon was not necessarily menacing, often representing a benevolent force. Each scale on its body is hand-shaped and hand-patinated. Its toes and claws are disturbingly life-like, which is only accentuated by the movements they make.

Jaquet Droz Imperial Dragon Automaton Red Gold in Cuprite

At 6 o’clock, the animal grasps a ball of red jasper, chosen for its properties of attracting success and abundance, and protecting and promoting openness to the world. On it, the Jaquet Droz artisans have trapped fragments of gold dust beneath a layer of transparent varnish. To showcase the animation, discreet openings cut into the dial above the ball and at three o’clock allow a part of the magic – created by 19 moving parts in total – bringing the nine different animations on the piece to life to be glimpsed. These include the undulating of the sacred animal’s spine, the opening and closing of its jaw and eye, the movement of its tongue, the raising and lowering of its crest, and its claws grasping the jasper, which also rotates constantly. The sequence of the animation changes each time it is activated, to retain the magic and mystery for its one and only future collector.

Jaquet Droz Imperial Dragon Automaton Red Gold in Cuprite




  • Hand-painted cuprite dial. Hand-engraved and hand-painted 18-karat yellow gold dragon applique. 18-karat red gold case. 18-karat red gold hands. Self-winding mechanical hour and minute movement. Mechanical automaton movement with a push-button triggering mechanism animating nine different parts of the dragon: the crest moves, the mouth opens and the tongues comes out, the eye opens and closes, the dorsal scales on the body and tail undulate, the dragon’s foot moves up and down towards the ball. Red jasper ball, hand-decorated with gold powder. The animation lasts 10 to 15 seconds. Power reserve of 38 hours. Diameter 43 mm. Unique piece.


  • Jaquet Droz 6150, self-winding mechanical movement, silicon balance spring and pallet horns, flat bridges, 18-karat red gold oscillating weight with JH signature and black treatment.
  • Automaton with animation of different parts of the dragon, push-button automaton triggering mechanism.


  • Off-centered hours and minutes


  • 78 rubies for the automaton movement + 29 rubies for the hour and minute movement

Power reserve

  • 38 hours


  • 21,600 v.p.h.


  • 18-karat red gold case
  • Diameter 43 mm
  • Height 16.96 mm
  • Customisation/identified as a unique piece by a hand-engraving on the case-back

Water resistance

  • Up to 3 bar (30 meters)


  • Openworked dial and subdial in red cuprite, hand-painted
  • Parts of the dragon in 18-karat yellow gold, hand-engraved and hand-painted
  • Hand-painted steel eye and tongue
  • Red jasper ball, hand-decorated with gold powder


  • 18-karat red gold


  • Burgundy rubber


  • 18-karat red gold folding clasp

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