Born on the twentieth of May in 1877, in Lancy, Switzerland, as John-Jules Dunand-Gotcho, he later adopted the Frenchified first name of Jean. At the age of fourteen, he began studying sculpture at the Geneva School of Industrial Arts, where he won several prizes. After five years study, he was awarded his diploma. 1905, was elected to the Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts after completing an interior for the Comtess de Bearn. Dunand along with Angst, Fraysee and Collet worked under the direction of Jean Dampt. Few years later, he began working with Seizo Sugawara, a Japanese laquerist who had recently emigrated to France, to learn the seemingly lost technique of lacquer.
Watch company Jean Dunand Pièces Uniques was founded in 2003 by Swiss watchmaker Christophe Claret and entrepreneur Thierry Oulevay. Several of their timepieces are directly influenced by Dunand's art deco style.