It’s taken me this long just to get to the dials, where the Celadon watches get a lot of their character. There are four dial options in total: the Celadon Imperial Midnight Blue, the Imperial Red, and a white dial one called Blanc de Chine all feature a “plum blossom” guilloche motif. The fourth is the Imperial Peacock, which has a white dial with a cool peacock design and is my favorite (though I’d like to see the red one in person). The dials are made from copper with an “oil pressing and corrosive process.” Even under the scrutiny of a macro lens, the dials look really good, though I did notice some slight oxidation on the blued hands that is not really visible to the naked eye.

For the dark dialed version, the polished and faceted steel hands can be harder to find in some lights and angles, but overall legibility is fine. The Imperial Peacock, on the other hand, is highly legible with the heat-blued steel hands. A nice touch that makes this Imperial Peacock a little more special and colorful is, if you look closely enough, that the indices and logo at 12 o’clock are actually “blued” a dark purple. I believe this is achieved through the same thermal process as bluing steel but with a different treatment time. The color was kind of hard to capture in photos, so you’ll have to take my word for it that it’s attractive in person. The dial textures and other details are not readily apparent unless inspected closely, and I appreciate their execution and design restraint.

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Straddling the 6 o’clock hour marker are the two Chinese characters for “China.” I believe some earlier versions had “China Pride” (four characters)—the option of simply “China Made” (also four characters) might also be nice, in my opinion. The two characters actually stand out a bit on the dial, as they are the only text and are in a contrasting color. If you don’t read Chinese, any combination of Chinese characters would likely remind you of the watch’s origin and theme, I suppose, but I’m still glad they didn’t put it in English.

One doesn’t have to have a specific interest or connection to China to find the Celadon watches elegant and attractive. In fact, I can imagine many Chinese wanting to buy it because they appreciate the aesthetic rather than because of the brand’s stated mission. Interestingly enough, Celadon’s website is actually currently available only in English, so while it is a proudly Chinese watch, it seems it isn’t really tailored for Chinese consumers.

There is so much unique and fascinating art and culture to draw on from China’s broad history and regions that it seems a brand like Celadon could endlessly find inspiration for new watches. The Celadon Imperial is a strong start for the small brand with a refreshing approach and welcome restraint. I believe that Celadon Imperial watches are made in numbered batches of 50, some with small differences, and all versions are available through the brand’s website for a price of $998.

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Necessary Data
>Brand: Celadon
>Model: Imperial
>Price: $998 USD
>Size: 38mm wide, 9mm thick, 45mm lug to lug
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: One who simply likes the aesthetic, but one who also appreciates the concept. Might be good for someone doing business with or in China.
>Best characteristic of watch: The idea of the company is tastefully integrated into the design and executed well.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Dark dial version’s legibility is not ideal. The target audience and use of English seem out of step with the theme of Chinese pride, but that’s probably just me.

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