China has been the center of the watchmaking industry for decades, with much of the world’s timepieces today either being manufactured, assembled, or having their parts made in the nation. The stigma posed by replica brands offering inferior product quality continues to plague the Chinese watchmaking industry. However, there remain a handful of Chinese brands determined to break these negative perceptions, and have been stepping up efforts over recent years in offering innovative aesthetics through quality pieces.

Since 2013, Maison Celadon has been proudly producing watches in China. The brand was founded by Benjamin Chee, an ethnic Chinese born in Singapore. It was during his time spent living in London and Shanghai that he conceptualized the brand, having seen a distinct lack of representation from Chinese watch brands within the luxury segment. The brand’s mandate is clear: to focus on watches emphasizing dial artistry. At the moment, Maison Celadon has 3 distinct dial types: Heritage Guilloché, Suzhou Silk Embroidery, and bespoke Cloisonné Enamel.

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The Imperial Collection

The Imperial in Midnight Blue (left) and the Imperial Peacock (Right).

The Imperial collection focuses on subtle, classic Guilloché designs, in the form of the Plum Blossom and Peacock dials. The Plum Blossom pattern is one which symbolizes ethereal elegance, and perseverance in times of adversity. A classic motif in Chinese art, plum blossoms are known to bloom even in the coldest winter.

The Peacock dial is probably the most expressive of the Imperial series, exuding a quiet flamboyance only evident upon closer inspection. Traditionally an insignia of rank in ancient China, the peacock is believed to attract positive energy from others, and is also a sign of worldly wisdom.

The Celestial Silk Collection

The Celestial Collection: The Azure Songbird, The Bird of Paradise and The Duo of Swallows.

The Celestial Silk collection features 3 distinct art works, painstakingly embroidered on the dials by Chinese silk artisans. The three designs: Azure Songbird, Bird of Paradise, and the Duo of Swallows, were conceptualized with a masculine take on elegance in mind. Only 5 pieces of each dial are available in the First Series.

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Su silk embroidery from Suzhou takes center stage in this collection, being the highest art form within the four primary schools of Silk embroidery in China, the others being Yue of Guangdong, Xiang of Hunan, and Shu of Sichuan. Su embroidery is distinguished by the use of split silk threads, resulting in denser stitching and complex gradients.

The Celestial Collection

Left: The Cloisonné Enamel Process from the filigree stage to the enamelling stage. Right: A finished Celestial piece.

The Celestial collection is a bespoke service for select clients. Featuring the works of Master Xiong Songtao, a cloisonné enamel master, and the latest in his family’s line of masters, who were artisans appointed by the Qing Court. A dial artist commissioned by foreign brands such as Patek Phillippe, Cartier, and Piaget, his works are sought after by private clients all over the world. As the flagship collection within the Maison Celadon family, the Celestial is only available upon request, and requires an in-depth consultation in order to select the appropriate dial artwork for the potential owner.

The Movements

The CG18 (left) and CG24 (right) calibers.

Both the Imperial and Celestial Silk collections are driven by the CG18, a Celadon-Grade caliber made in collaboration with Beijing Watch Factory, established in 1958, one of the oldest movement makers focused on premium mechanical movements in China. Finished in Chinese Scroll stripes, and engraved with the words “To accomplish a momentous mission, in carrying on Chinese civilization,” the CG18 stands proudly as a hand-winding movement competitive with many of its peers at much higher price points.

The Celestial is powered by the CG24 movement, also made in collaboration with Beijing Watch Factory. The free-sprung movement features a twin-barrel double escapement with a power reserve of 120 hours, and operates on a planetary differential architecture. The engraving on the main plate can also be customized by its owner.

Celebrating it’s 5th anniversary this year, Maison Celadon is proud to present pre-orders for the limited edition Celestial Silk collection through its micro-site. Pre-order pricing starts at $1,

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