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Editorial - St. George and the Astronomia Dragon

Editorial St. George and the Astronomia Dragon

Jacob & Co. presents an intricately hand-engraved unique piece featuring the mythical creature.

It’s not difficult for me to remember St. George’s Day every year, because it’s my birthday. It’s a day of significance to the English, since St. George is the patron saint of the country (as well as other countries such as Georgia, Malta and Gozo, Portugal, Romania and the Aragon and Catalonia regions of Spain) and 23rd April is also the day on which one of the country’s most famous and prolific writers, William Shakespeare, died. 

According to legend, St. George slayed a dragon that was plaguing the populace of a town called “Silene” in what is modern-day Libya (at least according to the “Golden Legend” version of the story told in the 1260s by Jacobus de Voragine). What is interesting in this story is that the dragon lived in a pond and may therefore have been the mythical four-legged beast better known from Chinese mythology, rather than the two-legged winged reptilian of European mythology. 

Given the importance of the Chinese clientele to the Swiss watch industry, it’s not surprising that the few watches that have been produced using the dragon as a motif have used the depiction that is more familiar to the Chinese. But these efforts by the likes of Arnold & Son, Christophe Claret and HYT have involved either engraving or miniature painting on the dial. At Baselworld this year, Jacob & Co. upped the ante with its Astronomia Dragon model. Here, the dragon dominates the watch to such an extent that it appears to be winding itself around the complicated tourbillon movement. And thanks to the architecture of the Astronomia case, the three-dimensional sculpture of the dragon, in solid gold and with each of its 2,294 scales individually carved, is visible from all sides. It’s a great watch for those who like dragons.

St. George and the Astronomia Dragon

Astronomia Dragon © Jacob & Co.

But what about fans of St. George? As far as watches depicting chivalrous figures are concerned, it’s very slim pickings for the watch fan and the prices, while not at the stratospheric level of the Jacob & Co. Astronomia, nevertheless require deep pockets. By pure coincidence, one very high-end brand will be presenting something inspired by the world of legend in the coming days. Find out more on WorldTempus later this week. 

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