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Jaquet Droz -  Jaquet Droz wraps up its 280th anniversary on 5th Avenue

Jaquet Droz Jaquet Droz wraps up its 280th anniversary on 5th Avenue

As the finishing touch to its 280th anniversary celebrations, Jaquet Droz has opened a pop-up store in New York. WorldTempus presents the highlights of the year.

An exceptional year is drawing to a close on one of the most famous streets in the world, New York’s 5th Avenue. That is where, for the final time, Jaquet Droz will be telling its “Story of the Unique”, before preparing to write some more new chapters next year. 

In the heart of the Big Apple, Jaquet Droz is closing a cycle of exhibitions that has travelled from Milan to Moscow, Singapore to Tokyo, and Macao to Zurich via Hong Kong. On every continent, the watchmaker has showcased some of its greatest accomplishments to collectors and friends of the brand. The itinerant exhibition has also introduced the public to some of the company’s historic pieces, as well as its most exclusive new creations.

Jaquet Droz clôture son 280e anniversaire sur la 5ème Avenue

© Jaquet Droz

The watch industry’s most famous parrot

The year 2018 naturally featured a number of pieces created for the 280th anniversary. Two of them made a particularly strong impression. The first, a conversation piece par excellence, was the Parrot Repeater Watch, unveiled at Baselworld.

Jaquet Droz clôture son 280e anniversaire sur la 5ème Avenue

Parrot Repeater Pocket Watch © Jaquet Droz

It took three years to develop and, perhaps even more interestingly, almost every division of Jaquet Droz added its own touch to this unique piece, numerus clausus 01/01. The Parrot Repeater, a descendent of the Bird Repeaters, is an automaton featuring a pair of parrots with two chicks, set against an animated waterfall. Engraving, appliqué, miniature painting, gem-setting and enamelling: all of Jaquet Droz’s artistic crafts are present. Apparently, the timepiece, which has an estimated value of one million francs, was snapped up immediately it went on display in Basel. 

The Grande Seconde bares all

At the other end of the spectrum, a completely different creation marked the 280th year: the world’s first skeletonised Grande Seconde. Everyone had an opinion on the cleverly named “Skelet-One”. On the one hand, there were the defenders of the historical integrity of the Grande Seconde, whose design has remained virtually unchanged for almost three centuries. And on the other, there were the proponents of a modern alternative, who thought the iconic complication should evolve with the times. In the centre stood Jaquet Droz, trying to answer both sides of the question, without falling into the trap of tame compromise. 

Jaquet Droz clôture son 280e anniversaire sur la 5ème Avenue

Grande Seconde Skelet-One, pink gold © Jaquet Droz

The result was not a disappointment, because it eschewed compromise in favour of making a statement: it’s modern, progressive and bold. Jaquet Droz has kept the 8 that defines the dial of the Grande Seconde, but only in outline – one in gold, the other in sapphire. Because the watch has no casing ring it is very spacious, allowing the maximum amount of light into the movement. The bridges are reduced to their simplest expression, their taut lines contrasting with the residual curves of the figure 8. The Skelet-One is beginning to find an audience, and we fully expect to see some new variations in the coming year. 

The brand

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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