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Jaquet Droz - Jaquet Droz pulls out all the stops for its 280th birthday

Jaquet Droz Jaquet Droz pulls out all the stops for its 280th birthday

The La Chaux-de-Fonds watchmaker is celebrating its 280th birthday – a perfect opportunity to show off its artistic and mechanical talents, with a stunning unique piece and an extraordinary Grande Seconde skeleton.

An exceptional year with some exceptional pieces. That may sound a bit glib, but it’s an appropriate summary of Jaquet Droz’s 280th anniversary. The watchmaker comes to Baselworld with some limited editions and a unique piece that demonstrate its creative and technical vitality.

Everyone’s talking about...

An essential component of any watch fair worth its salt is the obligatory conversation piece, the watch whose media footprint is in inverse proportion to the pool of potential buyers. The effect will be magnified for the Parrot Repeater Pocket Watch, only one of which will be made.
It will certainly make some noise in the halls of Basel. First, because this watch, which spent more than three years in development, is a genuine work of art. Or, perhaps more accurately, work of arts. For the first time, Jaquet Droz has brought together all of its artistic crafts in a single watch creation. It features painting, engraving, sculpture, grand feu enamelling and a new discipline: grand feu enamel painting. Rather than using traditional paint pigments mixed with water, hand-ground enamel powder is combined with oil and used to paint a miniature scene, which is then fired in an enamel kiln.

Jaquet Droz pulls out all the stops for its 280th birthday

Parrot Repeater pocket watch © Jaquet Droz


The Parrot Repeater’s mechanical credentials are equally impressive. It is minute repeater automaton. The five macaws are animated, as is the waterfall. The animation follows the spirit of the watchmaker’s Bird Repeaters, with the addition of an haute horlogerie complication with a cathedral gong (two gongs in a 56 mm case). The watch is the subject of two patents, one for the crown, which has been moved to 12 o’clock, and the other for the secret latch mechanism concealed inside the watch bow to open the two covers.

A major departure for the Grande Seconde

The 280th anniversary also provides the occasion for a Grande Seconde limited edition of 88, made exclusively of yellow gold for the first time. Another unusual detail is that the watch has a handcrafted guilloché motif on the rotor, a feature not found on any other Grande Seconde. The oscillating weight is also engraved with two polished stars, the company emblem, representing Jaquet Droz père et fils.

Jaquet Droz pulls out all the stops for its 280th birthday

Grande Seconde Tribute © Jaquet Droz

In a complete departure from its ultra-classical codes, the Grande Seconde will also see the first skeletonised version. This is a bold and somewhat risky move, given that it entails removing the very feature that gives the Grande Seconde its identity: its understated grand feu enamel dial in the famous figure of 8. Nevertheless, the exercise is part of a drive to update the Grande Seconde. The edgy, modern, architectural SW version was one illustration, and the Grande Second Squelette follows the same logic.  The hours and minutes are displayed on a seconds dial made of sapphire, with a gold chapter ring. There are three versions on offer: red gold, white gold and ceramic.

Jaquet Droz pulls out all the stops for its 280th birthday

Grande Seconde Skelet-one © Jaquet Droz

Two new creations for women

To conclude this rich anniversary year, Jaquet Droz unveils two new ladies’ models. The first celebrates plique-à-jour enamelling, called smalta clara in Latin, which explains the name of these two series of 28 pieces. This is a first for Jaquet Droz. The dial features a strikingly modern depiction of a tiger, in either blue or brown. The watch is driven by the company’s smallest mechanical movement, borrowed from the flagship ladies’ collection, the Lady 8 Flower.

Jaquet Droz sort le grand jeu pour ses 280 ans

Petite Heure Minute Smalta Clara © Jaquet Droz

The second watch is a reinterpretation of the “Petite” from the same collection. The dial features the company’s signature figure of 8, and displays the traditional skills of gem-setting and use of natural dial materials. At 12 o’clock, there is the traditional rotating gemstone to match the dial. For the first time, this watch will come with a double-wrap strap.

Jaquet Droz sort le grand jeu pour ses 280 ans

Double-wrap strap Lady 8 Petite © Jaquet Droz

Lecture 2 Comment(s)

22 March 2018
Brian Ssengo
Very Beautiful watches
22 March 2018
Beatrice Doncarli
Tant d'inspiration pour ces créations et tant de belles choses....

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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