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Architecture - Brilliant achievements

Architecture Brilliant achievements

Over and above a shared lexical field, architecture and watchmaking share a philosophy upheld by innovation, technical competence and aestheticism. Similarities highlighted by architect Alex Leuzinger.

The watch : Lady 8 Sunstone by Jaquet Droz

It all started with a mistake made by a Murano glassmaker. From this serendipitous accident, this brilliant, fortuitous stroke of luck, Aventurine glass was born. Since the beginning of the 17th century, this fascinating material has sparkled with a unique brilliance that Jaquet Droz has seized this year all the better to revisit it. The watch brand is offering a new variety inspired by the light output of the sun. The Sunstone (“Pierre de Soleil– or Stone of the Sun”) shines with the light of the gold flakes of which it is made. More refined than ever, the Lady 8 Sunstone stands out from amongst the Jaquet Droz watches bedecked in this new material. Highlighted with diamonds, even the collection’s emblematic ball presiding over the case is made of Sunstone. Precious aesthetics driven by a self-winding movement over which time appears to glide effortlessly.

Its architectural counterpart : Bruder-Klaus Chapel, Wachendorf by Peter Zumthor

The little chapel dedicated to Bruder Klaus in Wachendorf in Germany was built for a rich local farmer and rises like a tower from the fields. This spiritual work breathes the simplicity of local materials. Construction started in 2005 with 112 tree trunks measuring 12 meters high and built like a tepee, in the style of the typical Indian constructions. At the top, a gap opens onto the sky connecting the external world with the miniscule inside space.

Around the building, a casing filled with concrete has been made by hand by the farmer and his nearest and dearest. The result is a slightly asymmetrical pentagonal shape with a small triangular entrance. Inside, Peter Zumthor has subsequently burnt the trunks and reduced them to ash, providing an amazing result after the ash has been removed. The trunks leave their imprints in the concrete, and the crenelated, blackened surface draws its life from its structure and the history of each tree. Here, the architect has placed glass eyes, bringing brilliant points of light to the burnt surface.

The space created is intriguingly simple and allows an extraordinary intellectual vivacity to shine forth. This minimalistic spirit is to be found in the Jaquet Droz watch, a timepiece which expresses a form of simplicity and, at the same time, the complexity of a creative idea. This spirit of creation, together with know-how and a quest for that which is pure, form the link between these two unique works.


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An elegant, outward-looking philosophy that dates back to the Age of Enlightenment is still at the heart of Jaquet Droz's identity. The fine and rare handcrafts practiced at the company’s workshops produce exquisite miniature works of art and automata that combine the best of design with unprecedented levels of horological know-how.

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