For the first time, the Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph is equipped with an onyx dial. Deep and natural, this unique mineral allows the delicate composition designed by Jaquet Droz to subtly stand out.
Music, architecture, painting, sculpture: the major arts are all based on the same principle of balance. Music alternates between notes and rests. Architecture and sculpture between matter and void. Painting between color and shadow. Indeed, artwork rests on a subtle harmony between what the human hand expresses and where nature is given free rein.
The new Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph is no exception. Created in 2019, the piece is now offered with an onyx dial for the very first time. It joins the long tradition of mineral dials—a Jaquet Droz signature. Through its intensity—its absolute blackness—onyx grants the piece unprecedented depth. Like a treasure from nature, the perfect black color of this precious mineral allows Jaquet Droz to design a composition from which the smallest detail and slightest reflection can be admired. Such is the case with the hour markers, off-center at 1 o’clock, whose fine white gold appliqué features a circular satin finish. The hands are mirror polished, while those of the chronograph and date are polished. The large central seconds is equipped with an openwork counterweight, and the date with a solid counterweight, evoking a full moon or new moon against a black backdrop like the vastness of space itself.
This mechanical ballet is arranged to the “off-center” choreography so dear to Jaquet Droz, according to which the retrograde date is located at 7 o’clock. At its heart is nestled the chronograph’s 30-minute counter. The Jaquet Droz 26M5R caliber, an automatic monopusher chronograph with column wheel, is the driving force—revealed through a sapphire crystal case back. The discerning gaze won’t miss the openwork oscillating weight in red gold, which unmasks the Cotes de Genève applied to each bridge. These traditional Fine Watchmaking finishes, which today combine with advanced technologies such as the silicon escapement, guarantee increased precision, unaffected by magnetism and temperature variations.
Perfectly balanced, the Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph is a modern interpretation of the famous “8” traced out by its ancestor, the Grande Seconde, almost three centuries ago. Its new onyx dial provides a blank canvas on which to project one’s imagination. Nocturnal magic, the Greeks saw in onyx the imprint of the body of Venus and considered it the symbol of love. Twenty centuries later, Jaquet Droz offers a unique interpretation over which time glides—and out of which each of us tell a story.
By Roberta Naas / Atimelyperspective.com
Easily one of the top Swiss watch brands when it comes to artistic talent, Jaquet Droz is long known for its automatons and its hand-painted and hand-crafted dials. This brand regularly brings its dials to life with scenes that either move or are so elegantly carved or painted that they have multiple dimensions. Now, the brand works its magic — bringing the beloved tiger to majesty on the dial of the Petite Heure Minutes Tiger watches.
There are two different versions of the watch, and each vies for your attention because they capture the essence of the tiger — commanding respect and adoration. Jaquet Droz’ artisans hand paint in miniature against a Grand Feu enamel dial the likeness of the tiger’s eyes. One version features a black and white tiger with bright blue eyes against a black enamel background, while the other version is an ivory Grand Feu enamel dial with the traditional tan/orange and black striped tiger with golden green eyes.
The tiger painting takes up the entire lower portion of the dial, with an off-center hours and minutes dial at 12:00. Just like the tiger itself, the watch exudes a sense of power, grace and natural beauty. Each painting takes a master artisan hundreds of hours to complete. Using fine brushes with hairs as thin as a human hair, they toil for hours — achieving a thick, lustrous coat of fur a single stroke at a time.
Each Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minutes Tiger watch is hand painted with fine brushes to create the lustrous coat of fur and the watchful eyes.
The tiger’s gaze is so enchanting that it is hard to remember that it was hand painted with the help of a microscope. The eyes are painted with such depth and dimension that they almost look as though they are following you. It is like nature come to life on the wrist.
Each watch is being made in a limited edition, individually numbered, of 28 pieces. The black dial version with black-and-white tiger is crafted in 18-karat white gold, while the traditional tiger in orange and black stripes with green eyes is in a 43mm 18-karat 5N rose gold case. The Jaquet Droz 2653.P self-winding movement with silicon balance spring and double barrel powers the watch. It features a gold oscillating weight and offers 68 hours of power reserve. The complex movement with meticulously hand-finished components is visible via a transparent sapphire case back.
Jaquet Droz is a master at creating hand-painted watches that mesmerize and delight. This Petite Heure Minutes Tiger watch is no exception. Just watch out because once you look at it, it will be very difficult to look away. It’s a good thing that the watch is so reasonably priced for the incredible hand-craftsmanship inside and out: $32,000.
The master artisans that paint the Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minutes Tiger watch pay particular attention to detail of the iris so that the eyes look as though they follow you.
(This article by Roberta Naas first appeared on the website: ATimelyPerspective)
The ancient decorative technique is used to showcase floral motifs cherished by visionary naturalist Jaquet Droz: Fleur de Lys and Fleur de Vie.
The craft of paillonné enameling is as rare today as it was 300 years ago. It is practically a lost art. Three hundred years ago is also when the Jaquet-Droz dynasty was founded, and the company of the same name carries on the tradition to this day.
Today, these two legacies come together in an unparalleled way. They cross paths at La Chaux-de-Fonds, inside the Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art. Nestled at the bottom of this watchmaking valley is where the Maison’s two latest watchmaking masterpieces came to life: the “Fleur de Lys” Grande Seconde Paillonnée and the “Fleur de Vie” Petite Heure Minute Paillonnée.
What sets these two red gold timepieces apart is the art of paillonné enameling, an age-old decorative technique. The concept is based on another decorative art special to Jaquet Droz, the one used in the Grand Feu enamel dials. First, guilloché work is done on a gold dial. It is then covered in translucent colored enamel that lets the guilloché patterns shine through.
Next, several layers of enamel are applied, each one individually fired in the oven. Then comes the phase that demands the dexterity of Jaquet Droz artisans because every new layer of enamel and firing can introduce cracks or flaws, which would mean starting from scratch. At this stage, the piece still shows slight variations in color. It also depends on each firing process.
It isn’t until the next phase that dainty motifs cut from a thin gold leaf, the paillons (or strips), are placed by hand one by one to create a figure. Once the design is done, the figures are also covered with another layer of enamel and fired in the same oven. This translucent coat will protect the paillonné motif for centuries to come, as if freezing it in place for all eternity.
Each of these new pieces is extremely limited to a Numerus Clausus series of eight, and Jaquet Droz opted for two distinctive ornamental designs: Fleur de Lys and Fleur de Vie. The former symbolizes kings and emperors. Emblems of a very long heraldic tradition, fleurs de lys are still found from France to Missouri, by way of England, Finland, Germany and Spain.
The latter, the fleur de vie, is a geometric design that has traveled through millennia and across cultures. It’s a beautiful image representing the birth and growth of all living things on Earth. A cluster made of the golden ratio (a design formula for obtaining perfect proportions), it is comprised of overlapping interwoven circles. The form’s perfection and finesse has been turning heads from Assyria to Egypt, by way of China and France. It was even a subject of Leonardo da Vinci’s writing. These two new motifs now come alive in the heart of Swiss watchmaking at the Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art where the Maison still practices its Art of Astonishment.
The iconic Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantième is paving a novel aesthetic path with a 41 mm model
For nearly three centuries, the Grande Seconde has had one of the most unique designs in Fine Watchmaking. Its off-center display combines a seamless view of the hours and minutes with the precision of a large second hand. The worthy heir of this original collection, the Grande Seconde Quantième now includes a 41 mm diameter.
Long-awaited by collectors, this new size was a chance for Jaquet Droz to take a fresh approach to several design elements. This makes the Grande Seconde Quantième 41 mm an authentic creation, and by no means is it simply a smaller version of an existing model. Everything, or almost everything, has been given a second look. The redesign begins with the case itself, which is now 41 mm. It was thinned down slightly to make it lighter on the wrist and more compatible with its new diameter. This serves to preserve the proportions, and most remarkably the original piece’s balance and modern feel.
New finishes were also specially developed for this collection. There is a wide range of Grande Seconde Quantième 41 mm watches with Grand Feu enamel dials, a long-practiced art Jaquet Droz has mastered and one of its most recognizable signatures. The dials now come in ivory tones as well as and deep blue, burgundy and anthracite. Each shade was specially crafted for this latest collection, the result extensive research on enamel powders and hand-firing techniques to produce the exact color variations desired. The date is displayed at 6 o’clock with an 18-carat red gold applique. In addition to these four colors, there is also a matte black dial, a titanium gray sandblasted version and a last one in sandblasted silver. No fewer than seven models in all are being unveiled at once, forming an entire collection of Grande Seconde Quantième 41 mm timepieces.
Each distinctly different variation gives collectors a chance to satisfy their personal tastes. The first four versions with classic watchmaking aesthetics are on offer with the case, appliques and oscillating weight in red gold on an alligator strap matching the Grand Feu enamel dial. The other three feature a contemporary steel case suited for more modern finishes such as matching velvety soft calfskin straps and gold, rhodium-plated or colored appliques that strike dramatic contrasts. They include an openworked oscillating weight for optimal rewinding and an unobstructed view of the hand-assembled Jaquet Droz self-winding movement that ensures a nearly three-day power reserve (68 hours). Like almost all of Jaquet Droz’s modern-day creations, a silicon balance spring is used to control the isochronism and make the timepiece resistant to temperature changes, magnetic fields and shock. With these seven new models, Jaquet Droz is ushering the Grande Seconde into the 21st century in the utmost of style while showcasing the novelty of a design with lines that follow every curve of its time.
Marrying the depth of mineral with the warmth of red gold, this new composition of the Grande Seconde Off-Centered offers a pure, atypical vision of Fine Watchmaking as dreamed up by Jaquet Droz.
Daring to create contrast. Playing with light. Transforming materials. Revealing every nuance. The new Grande Seconde Off-Centered by Jaquet Droz does all that – and so much more. Its new theme of gold and black jade brings together the principal codes of the Maison in a 43 mm timepiece that breaks with conventions.
While the design of the Grande Seconde, created by Pierre Jaquet-Droz almost three centuries ago, is ever recognizable, it exudes a masterful digression, a resolute difference: the time is off-center. The alignment of the hours and minutes with the independent large seconds is respected but along a slightly slanted axis, from 1 o’clock to 7 o’clock. With a new century comes a new way to be bold.
For the dial, Jaquet Droz gives pride of place to one of its most emblematic skills: the masterful use of minerals. From the depths of the Earth to their revelatory enhancement by the hand of man, the mineral dials of the Maison offer unique motifs time and again. At center stage are stones sometimes dating back several millions of years. A precious geological journey in which exquisite fragments reach us in all their singularity.
Black jade, also known by its scientific name of “amphibolite,” is one such treasure. Almost exclusively of Australian origin, it comes from two principal sites in the south and east of the continent. It is an extremely hard stone, thanks to the presence of metal in its composition, and requires lengthy polishing to reveal the tiny silver inclusions that are its hidden secret. Almost imperceptible to the naked eye, they enrich black jade with a unique reflection that allows knowledgeable collectors to distinguish it from onyx.
In China, black jade is referred to as “treasure.” A symbol of nobility, perfection and immortality, it has long been appreciated for its talismanic properties. Black jade amulets are often worn to protect oneself and to concentrate their powerful energies. In ancient cultures over five thousand years ago, it was used as an amulet to attract good luck and fortune. For the Mesoamerican peoples, it had special power and represented elegance. It was used to carve out images of the gods. Finally, for pre-Hispanic peoples, black jade possessed the supreme energies of the universe and was even more precious than gold.
Today, black jade is at the heart of the new Grande Seconde Off-Centered, limited to 88 pieces. Worked by hand as a mineral sheet just 1mm thick, it is paired with a red gold case featuring warm, coppery highlights. The two circles and fine hands are also in red gold, creating a singular contrast that reflects the Art of Astonishment by Jaquet Droz.
Plasma ceramic makes a dramatic entrance alongside red gold. One is steeped in tradition and the other is all about technology. Two new variations of a timepiece that has come to stand for Jaquet Droz’s brazen artistry.
Modern or classic? No need to choose. The Grande Seconde — the face of traditional Fine Watchmaking by Jaquet Droz — triumphed as it roared into the 21st century with the Skelet-One.
In record time, the creation staked its place as a cornerstone of the watchmaker’s contemporary image: bold, creative, modern and on-trend, yet firmly rooted in its origins. Now Jaquet Droz unveils two new versions of its Grande Seconde Skelet-One and each has a unique way of honoring two very complementary stylistic approaches.
The traditional model features a case made of red gold, a gold alloy that Jaquet Droz admires for its subtle accents of warm coppery tones. Worn on a leather strap with a novel rubber-like finish, it supplements the watchmaker’s semi-mat alligator straps. It perfectly matches the gray of the bridges suspending the Grande Seconde’s delicate movement. Inside the 41 mm case lies the airy workings of this exclusive Jaquet Droz caliber where every component is meticulously stripped down to its minimum point of resistance. The fully suspended gear train is attached to the movement’s skeletonized bridges raised by an openworked oscillating weight that lets light shine clearly through.
The modern version, on the other hand, is the first time Jaquet Droz has used plasma ceramic on one of its timepieces. This plasma ceramic is made by transforming white ceramic with gas heated to 20,000°C, giving it a unique metallic glow without adding any metal fragments to the process. This core modification maintains all the inherent properties of ceramic. It is just as hard, lightweight and scratch-resistant as high-tech ceramic, a material that has widely stood the test of time. The gray anthracite theme carries over to the new plasma ceramic case held by a sleek and modern gray textile strap. It’s a creation designed for collectors who simply cannot resist the seductive modernity of a watch whose design hasn’t changed in almost 300 years: the Grande Seconde.
The modern version, on the other hand, is the first time Jaquet Droz has used plasma ceramic on one of its timepieces. This plasma ceramic is made by transforming white ceramic with gas heated to 20,000°C, giving it a unique metallic glow without adding any metal fragments to the process.
This core modification maintains all the inherent properties of ceramic. It is just as hard, lightweight and scratch-resistant as high-tech ceramic, a material that has widely stood the test of time. The gray anthracite theme carries over to the new plasma ceramic case held by a sleek and modern gray textile strap. It’s a creation designed for collectors who simply cannot resist the seductive modernity of a watch whose design hasn’t changed in almost 300 years: the Grande Seconde.
Jaquet Droz unveils two new unique timepieces devoted to opal carrying on the art of mineral dials, a rare artisanal skill it applies to breathe life into Earth’s treasures.
The master watchmaker may have a few tricks up its sleeve. Perhaps it’s a concealed signature, a finish or an adornment known only to the brand. In the world of Fine Watchmaking, these hidden details are the ultimate thrill for collectors. Yet there is a horological art whose only goal is to be shown, its very last quiver unveiled: the art of mineral dials. These dials are the stunning visage of a timepiece. They are what make it one of a kind and shape its identity. They are the embodiment of the Philosophy of the Unique and the Art of Astonishment so cherished by Jaquet Droz Watch.
The watchmaker has turned this craft into a signature expertise. Crafted for both men and women, these mineral dials are made in a number of diameters, but never in great number. Solely released as a solitary piece or limited series, these exceedingly exclusive specimens are unique to Jaquet Droz. Jaquet Droz Jaquet Droz Watch paints its timepieces with onyx, jade, serpentinite, jasper, petrified wood, meteorite and opal, using them like pigments on a watchmaking canvas.
No two pieces are ever alike. The only thing that stays the same is the process that breathes life into the dials. It begins by selecting the rare mineral. At Jaquet Droz, this happens through a partnership with one of the greatest artisans of semi-precious stones. The stones are collected from the four corners of the globe, from Asia to Europe to the Americas. Then they are brought to Switzerland to start the painstaking cutting process. The most breathtaking sections of the rocks are chosen. They are carefully polished by hand and sliced into disks that are about the size of the final piece. Done with traditional saws and grinders, this simple cut alone takes an hour to obtain an initial dial form.
Every dial is then polished once again and drilled to create tiny openings for the hands, apertures and appliqués. This is a crucial step because the pressure of the hole-making tools can still crack the mineral, depending on how hard it is. Extreme care must also be taken during the final hand-polishing step when the artisan gradually pares down each dial until it is 0.8 mm thick. Some stones, even the most opaque, become translucent when they are this thin. A miniature burr is used to deburr all around the edge, and then the outer rim is smoothed. This step is equally precarious because the thinnest parts of the stone can still break. It is now almost a perfect circle, entirely done by hand. The mineral dial is polished one last time, and then come the adornments: gold hands, round bands, appliqués or moving parts for automatons.
Throughout this long process, the artisan only uses his own instruments that he usually makes himself. Like expressive extensions of his fingers and artistic dexterity, these tools can send the slightest vibration from a stone right to the artisan’s hand. These are the tools that reveal every dial’s radiance, beauty and subtle reflections.
In the last few months, Jaquet Droz has unveiled a few very limited series that showcase this elaborate work. It can be seen in the Grande Seconde Off-Centered in Black Jade. This very minimal piece is solely adorned with three hands and two gold circles so the power of the jade shines through on a deep black 43 mm dial.
It is featured with Chinchilla Red petrified wood on the Loving Butterfly Automaton where warm coppery tones lend an autumnal touch to the Cherub’s animated flight and the chariot pulled by a butterfly. Then there is the Spiderman jasper on the dial of an exquisite Petite Heure Minute issued in a limited series of eight. A hand-carved gold dragon literally moves across this mineral dial.
This automaton takes flight once again in a limited series whose centerpiece is an exquisite mineral dial made of Chinchilla Red, a wood petrified 150 million years ago.
The silence is palpable as stunned collectors gasp in awe. Jaquet Droz is one of the only watchmakers in the world that crafts automatons. Quick on the heels of the onyx and meteorite models, today it unveils the latest version of its Loving Butterfly Automaton. This newest chapter in the company’s 300-year exploration of natural fibers showcases its watchmaking mastery and artistry in a series strictly limited to 28 timepieces.
The animated objet d’art is inspired by a drawing titled Le papillon conduit par l’amour (Butterfly Driven by Love), which was sketched in 1774 by The Draughtsman, an automaton created by Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz. Today, it is transformed into a three-dimensional journey of ancient mineral. Set against a backdrop of a forest of gold, the piece features a dial made from wood petrified 140-180 million years ago called Chinchilla Red, named after the far-eastern locale in Australia where it is found.
This mineral has a remarkable history. When dinosaurs ruled the Earth 150 million years ago and birds began to hatch, the first flower bloomed. That is also when Chinchilla Red came to be. It was formed by fir trees covered in volcanic ash that were swept away by lava. The product is an exceedingly rare and dense mineral. It takes countless hours of manual work just to make the surface smooth.
This new rendition magnifies the Cherub and the Butterfly, a classic metaphor for labors of love. The chariot symbolizes victory and the butterfly represents Cupid. Like the chariot, the butterfly comprises several dozen stationary and moving appliqués hand-etched by Jaquet Droz artisan jewelers. The scene unfolds on a veritable stage of nature with a set that actually rises up all around the dial. Multiple levels lend the piece a unique depth of perspective that invites the gaze to wander, drift and stray. A striking realism takes shape, proliferating with details that bring the scene to life.
The artful watch complication breathes life into an animated nature scene. The butterfly’s wings flutter in time, placed close against the sapphire crystal to make it seem like the butterfly is about to break free and fly out of the scenery. Even the wheels on the chariot turn, but not all of the spokes rotate, which creates an optical illusion that Pierre Jaquet-Droz began using nearly three centuries ago.
The figures are surrounded by a gold backdrop entirely crafted by hand. Each tree spans a mere 0.2 mm – its slender grooves carved one by one using purpose-designed tools– and is individually placed in its very own setting.
The Chinchilla Red limited series in petrified wood is a dance of chromatic unison. The autumnal hues of the stone blend with the warmth of the 18-carat red gold. Each of these one-of-a-kind timepieces has a slightly different mineral dial, a full glimpse into the exquisite workmanship of the Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art and the art of astonishment created in 1738.
“Some watches tell time. Some tell a Story.”
The brand is shining the spotlight on its Ateliers d’Art by featuring four variations of its Petite Heure Minute watch that celebrate the sign of the Rat. This animal thus marks the start of a new cycle in the Chinese calendar.
Representing renewal, the Rat is the first sign in the Chinese Zodiac calendar. A symbol of passion and ambition, the sign of the Rat will take center stage in 2020 according to the age-old Chinese calendar. To celebrate this special year, four limited series have been created by Jaquet Droz.
According to legend, the Rat finished first in a great race hosted by the Jade Emperor, the ruler of all gods. The animal is said to have used its wits and speed to finish ahead of animals much more powerful than it, such as the Ox and Tiger, as well as those less agile, such as the Sheep and Rooster. The Rat is said to have won the race – as well as the first place in the zodiac calendar – by crossing a river on the back of the Ox. Just before reaching the shore and the finish line, the Rat jumped off the back of the Ox to win first place.
The Rat has since been synonymous with intelligence, ingenuity and ambition. It is also an animal that is closely associated with wealth: seeing a Rat is an omen of plentiful harvests and represents a sign of prosperity.
In each of these creations, Jaquet Droz has paired the Rat with the pomegranate, which has been regarded as a symbol of life and fertility since ancient times because of the many seeds contained within it. Fertility and continuous renewal are thus the benefits of the pomegranate, the fruit of power and a symbol of life.
Four highly exclusive models have now been revealed which celebrate the pairing of the Rat and the pomegranate. They showcase Jaquet Droz’s Ateliers d’Art, whose work brings naturalistic scenes to life in the true spirit of the brand. The first two models (Petite Heure Minute 35 mm and 39 mm) depict two rats on a bed of leaves dotted with pomegranates, set on a Grand Feu enamel dial. Both variations are produced in red gold, and the 35 mm model is set entirely with diamonds (case and pallet lugs). The case back of both models houses an oscillating weight designed especially for this limited series of 28 pieces. A second scene, engraved in red gold, depicts two rats reveling in a basket of pomegranates, continuing the metaphor of prosperity, abundance and intelligence.
For the 41 mm version, the Petite Heure Minute is available in two other animal-inspired variations that explore the same theme yet feature an onyx dial in a shade of black that is as pure as it is intense. This incredibly deep black serves as the backdrop for a Rat holding a pomegranate in its hands. These two prestigious pieces are crafted in either red gold or white gold (case, rat, hands, and oscillating weight engraving). In addition, the white gold version is set with 272 diamonds that illuminate its ring and pallet lugs with radiant sparkle while creating contrast with the dark intensity of onyx.
For each of these versions set with jewels, pomegranates are symbolized by rubies, which are arranged in a snow setting to depict multiple arils at the 9 o’clock position, while one larger ruby is used for the seed in the Rat’s hands. This combination of precious materials (diamonds, gold and rubies) reinforces the natural qualities of the Rat, a passionate, ambitious, creative animal, and a symbol of prosperity. Each of these creations has been issued in a strictly limited edition of eight pieces, in keeping with the purest tradition of Jaquet Droz’s Numerus Clausus artistic creations.
“Some watches tell time. Some tell a story.”
It’s a project to take art beyond borders and across continents, and the creators are in it for the long haul. That was all it took to convince Jaquet Droz to get on board with Urban Odyssey, the graphic journey of Swiss artists Jeremy Ferrington and Joanne Faivre, aka Muga & Ghost.
Jaquet Droz has always enjoyed close ties with the arts. Almost three centuries ago, the Jaquet-Droz family was working with painters, engravers, gem-setters, and the finest grand feu enamel artists to create works of art exhibited in eminent museums. These artistic crafts are still practiced in its Ateliers in La Chaux-de-Fonds and are a cornerstone of Jaquet Droz creations to this day. More recently, the brand has been a patron to Béjart Ballet Lausanne and the illustrator Stéphanie Barba, while Jaquet Droz exhibitions at the London Science Museum and Hong Kong Science Museum have commissioned and showcased exceptional pieces that are shaping the field of Fine Watchmaking.
Muga & Ghost share common roots with Jaquet Droz, not just in Switzerland but in La Chaux-de-Fonds, where their respective studios and workshops are located. Their hometown is a haven for artists. A UNESCO world heritage site since 2009, La Chaux-de-Fonds is the birthplace of architect Le Corbusier, writer Blaise Cendrars, and motoring legend Louis Chevrolet. The influence of these local personalities can be seen in the city’s art school and numerous museums, including of course the International Watchmaking Museum. La Chaux-de-Fonds continues to build on its legacy as a creative melting pot, producing a pool of local talent that has helped the Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art to thrive.
Buoyed by this creative background, Muga & Ghost spent three years traveling the world to spread their art., painting massive murals inspired myths and local legends. The two artists settled down to paint in India, Morocco, Scotland, and Mexico. There, they created exclusive works depicting the founding myths of these nations. Muga & Ghost delved into the cultures of Pondicherry, Fez, Edinburgh, and Guanajuato to create street art that honored their hosts and their respective traditions. A documentary about their journey, Urban Odyssey, was notably selected for the Media Library of Nyon International Film Festival, Visions du Réel. This very human artistic odyssey presents a modern-day mirror to the travels of Pierre Jaquet-Droz, who set out in 1758 to present his creations to the courts of Spain, France, England, and Russia, and as far as China.
Today, Jaquet Droz is a proud patron of the artists Muga & Ghost. Like the watchmaking brand, they are forging their own path, keeping alive the art of travel and the pictorial art, and bringing Swiss expertise to the four corners of the globe. Each of their creations tells a story; the soul of a place or a people. This narrative approach echoes that of Jaquet Droz, whose watches and automatons tell the story of their time, now more than ever.
“Some watches tell time. Some tell a story.”
It was one of the few complications yet to grace the Grande Seconde. Now the monopusher chronograph makes its grand entrance into the Jaquet Droz collection, equipped with an exclusive movement. An inaugural, limited series piece is complemented by three permanent additions to the collection.
Purists consider the chronograph a queen among Fine Watchmaking complications. Although not a rare complication, it remains a challenge to master for many watchmakers. It is also challenging to come up with an original aesthetic since so many variations on the modern wristwatch have already been created.
Jaquet Droz took on this dual constraint in the much-anticipated addition of a chronograph to its Grande Seconde. The specifications came with limitations: an in-house movement to meet the Jaquet Droz standards of watchmaking excellence, readability under all circumstances to ensure the effective measurement of time, and an aesthetic in keeping with the clean lines of the Grande Seconde.
Custom-designed movement for the Grande Seconde Chronograph
The Grande Seconde Chronograph delivers on these prescriptions with aplomb. Its movement, exclusive to Jaquet Droz, uses a column wheel construction in keeping with the great watchmaking tradition of the chronograph. It also incorporates a silicon balance spring that guarantees resistance to magnetic fields and temperature variations. The volumes and proportions of this caliber have been tailored to the highly specific geometry of the Grande Seconde.
True to the legacy of the historic Jaquet Droz collections, the movement continues in the vein of the brand’s Grande Seconde Deadbeat –a genuine Fine Watchmaking complication that was created in the 18th century to literally beat the seconds and thus facilitate the measurement and reading of shorter durations of time. This chronometric focus gave rise some years later to the chronograph as we know it today. The inventor of the deadbeat seconds was none other than Jean-Moyse Pouzait, a friend of the Jaquet-Droz family. The Grande Seconde Chronograph presented today is heir to this chronograph tradition.
Highly limited inaugural edition
Jaquet Droz presents this creation in two versions: a highly limited inaugural edition (numerus clausus of only 88 pieces), along with three permanent additions to the collection.
The red gold limited edition boasts an eye-catching Grand Feu enamel dial. This ivory-colored dial is a tribute in wristwatch form to the earliest pocket watches by Pierre Jaquet-Droz.
The Arabic and Roman numerals on the dial are a striking illustration of the brand’s creative flair: the fine, even strokes of these numerals are faithfully produced using Petit Feu enamel, another delicate firing technique. Together the Grand Feu enamel dial and Petit Feu enamel numerals hold the piece true to its original, centuries-old coloring.
In the purest Fine Watchmaking tradition, Jaquet Droz has adorned the Grande Seconde Chronograph with red gold hour, minute and date hands, while the chronograph seconds and minute hands are in blued steel. The minute and second displays on the chronograph are in blue Petit Feu enamel to maximize the readability of the time. The retrograde date indicated by a red-tipped gold hand also illustrates the intent to enhance the aesthetic with the technical. Thanks to this ingenious mechanism, the perfect figure 8 proportions of the Grande Seconde are kept intact, and the date hand is not impeded by the central shaft of the seconds hand. The monopusher reflects this same desire to preserve the lines of the Grande Seconde: no other push-pieces are needed to stop, start or reset the chronograph, and so the purity of the case remains intact.
Fully formed collection
In complement to this limited edition, Jaquet Droz today presents a trio of more contemporary variations on the timepiece that offer two distinctive features.
First, a steel case, as always measuring 43 mm. The dial is available in a choice of sand-blasted silver, blue or taupe gray, and finished by hand using a dry sand-blasting technique that differs from the wet sand-blasting favored to date. New to the Grande Seconde Chronograph model, this finish accentuates the depth of the graining. The new blue and warm gray tones have never previously been used by Jaquet Droz.
An off-centered dial is the second standout feature of this steel trio. While it has made an appearance in previous Grande Seconde collections, Jaquet Droz gives it a fresh twist here to produce a contemporary, unusual and lively aesthetic for the new chronograph. In complement to the crown now shifted to 4 o’clock, the off-centered dial puts the finishing touches to the originality of these models. In all four versions the oscillating weight is pared down to a minimum to reveal the beauty of the hand-assembled manufacture movement. Together, these variations constitute a new chapter in the history of the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde.
The latest Petite Heure Minute.
The timepiece harks back to its signature off-center displays with a single circle for the hours and minutes positioned at 12 o’clock. The two soft-tinted midnight blue hands swinging inside match the hand-made rolled-edged alligator leather strap.
White mother-of-pearl fills in the dial with iridescent gray and white reflections that add to the look of the moon’s nocturnal glow. It is the perfect luminescence for the surprisingly thin 35 mm steel case. Finished with a white gold ring, it is an aesthetic expression of the meticulous attention to detail Jaquet Droz lavishes on its creations. The metals shine with slightly different intensities that complement one another to accent the distinctive properties of the mother-of-pearl on the dial.
This latest Petite Heure Minute Mother-of-Pearl exists in two versions with one featuring a bezel studded with 160 diamonds (0.97 carat). As a final touch for the white gold, steel and mother-of-pearl, the diamonds cast flecks of light on the case’s contours for a piece with rare radiance. This sleekly finished studded model is a classy alternative to the gold and steel version that is more modern and streamlined. Both versions are powered by a self-winding mechanical movement with double barrels that provide up to a 68-hour power reserve.