In 2021, the complex and fluid movement that is the hallmark of Genus watches breathes life into the most powerful and evocative of all mythical beings – the dragon. Genus Dragon makes a creature of legend come alive, fusing precious sculpture and mechanical architecture with engineering, watchmaking, goldsmithing and engraving artisanship of the highest order. The head of the dragon, too, plays a role in this most kinetic and intriguing expression of timekeeping revisited.
Hic sunt dracones
“Here be dragons.” On ancient maps these words indicated uncharted regions where unknown and unimaginable dangers lurked, where monsters were thought to exist. Sea dragons in the Middle Ages became flying dragons in more modern times, as popularized by recent film iconography. From the Gate of Ishtar in Babylon to the bow of Viking drakkar boats, from Chinese mythology to Germanic epic poems, the dragon is omnipresent in Eurasian cultures. Mythical, powerful, projecting fear and awe as a menacing creature blowing fire and flame but also symbolizing fierce protection, wisdom and eternity – the dragon is an avatar of entwined creative and destructive power. It is also a guardian symbol. Since time immemorial, no other being truly captures the imagination like the dragon. In order to pay tribute to the dragon and its symbolic power, Genus decided to go beyond a simple representation, painted or passive, and made it an active presence in its watchmaking creation, thereby honoring the dragon’s role as the ultimate guardian of the ultimate treasure. Here, the genera, i.e., the mobile elements Genus invented for its tens-of-minutes display, become the dragon’s body. Eleven sculpted, decorated, hand-engraved rose gold segments follow the celestial trajectory of the analemma, the singular signature of Genus.
An inspired aesthetic
Of the extensive dragon iconography across the ages, Genus has retained one graphic interpretation of the creature that reaches far beyond the imaginary realms of Chinese mythology: This dragon is long and lithe, wingless though endowed with flight, and characterized by a bearded mouth overhung with whisker-like tendrils. Vast is the spectrum of visualization for the symbolism surrounding the dragon. Here, Genus struck a balance between strength and wisdom – an expression of benevolence but scrutinizing, poised and conscious of its power, yet unthreatening. A creature of the earth in ancient oriental civilizations, of fire in European lore, the Asian dragon is linked to the element water. The way in which the genera fluidly trace the passage of time makes a natural connection with the mythical creature. Hence, the self-evident decision to bring this flowing transition to life in a horological context with Genus Dragon. Conscious of the artistic and engineering challenges, Genus enhanced the dragon’s being by making its backbone stand out, like a wave in motion, to accentuate proportions and reliefs, with a lithe, long and narrow body, a delicate yet commanding head, legs and paws that convey sinewy strength. A unique kinetic sculpture that Genus calls onto the stage, and inaugurates with an elegantly shaped sapphire crystal that becomes an observation dome for this work of art. For it is not only a matter of seeing, but of being able to observe a dragon in its environment, watch it move, and enjoy its complex choreography.
The magic of age-old artisanship
Of all the execution techniques available to the watchmaking world, Genus opted for the most demanding, the most meaningful and the most precious. The dragon’s body is a fluid sculpture of 18K rose gold, composed of eleven segments – the genera – that move freely, one behind the other, and form the whole creature. Raising the artistic and artisanal dimension, the 18K rose gold elements are sculpted and delicately engraved by hand. This culture of the exceptional is reflected in the attention to detail given to every aspect of the dragon. The body, scales, paws, claws, the head with its mischievous little horns, the beard, tongue and expressive eyes – they all shine with the high level of finish associated with Haute Horlogerie. There is not a single element which has not been crafted with the most meticulous care.
At the heart of Genus Dragon, there is the brain of the GNS1. Here, however, the tens-of-minutes are not indicated by a genus, but by the dragon’s head. The magical appearance of the dragon between crystal and movement is based on the same technical fundamentals as previous Genus creations. Here, Calibre 160W-1.2 is the bedrock of Genus’ watchmaking approach. By taking on the form of the dragon, the genera – the freemoving elements that transition from one orbit to the other on the tens-of-minutes display – demonstrate the flexibility and versatility of this singular interpretation of horological principles. The architecture of Calibre 160W-1.2 reveals the nature, the driving force of Genus. The principles of freedom, flexibility and openness to further evolution that are at the core of Genus stem from a dichotomy. Indeed, there are two parts, or modules, to the watch. The first, which can be described as the foundation, groups the essential functions, including a single barrel. It ensures a 50-hour power reserve, which is considerable in view of the complexity of the calibre and the masses in movement. The second module, overlaying the first, manages the display complication of hours, tens-of-minutes and precise minutes. Entirely designed, developed, and assembled in the Geneva workshop, Genus DRAGON is the first and only watch in the world in which an articulated dragon expresses the passage of time. Here, the system indicating the tens of- minutes takes the form of the mythical dragon creature and reveals the imaginative versatility of this unique calibre.
To provide owners the guarantee of their timepiece’s authenticity and traceability throughout its lifetime, Genus has joined forces with the Arianee Project, an independent consortium with the mission to establish a global standard for the digital certification of valuables. Based on Blockchain technology, the decentralized and opensource protocol offers a set of new services for the watch owner that are directly accessible from the Certificate of Authenticity delivered with each Genus watch. The specifics of each Genus DRAGON, including the transactions in which it is involved, e.g., sale and/or transmission to a new owner, service book, proof of ownership/theft declaration are recorded and protected. The Arianee protocol allows Genus not only to emancipate itself from paper-based authentication (which can be counterfeited), but, most importantly, guarantees the traceability of the timepiece throughout its lifetime, even in the event of a change of ownership.