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Jaquet Droz - The art of paillonné enamelling

Jaquet Droz The art of paillonné enamelling

Jaquet Droz unveils the “Fleur de Lys” Grande Seconde Paillonnée and the “Fleur de Vie” Petite Heure Minute Paillonnée watches.

The craft of paillonné enameling is as rare today as it was 300 years ago and is practically a lost art. Les Ateliers d'Art de Jaquet Droz have however put it back in the spotlight with two new timepieces, the “Fleur de Lys” Grande Seconde Paillonnée and the “Fleur de Vie” Petite Heure Minute Paillonnée.

The concept of the art of paillonné enameling is based on another decorative art special to Jaquet Droz, 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.

L'art du paillonnage perpétué

The paillons are cut from a thin gold leaf, © Jaquet Droz

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 while the latter 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. 

The Grande Seconde Paillonnée "Fleur de Lys" comes in a 43mm case in 18-carat red gold and houses the self-winding mechanical movement Jaquet Droz Calibre 2663.P, with a power reserve of 68 hours. The blue Grand Feu enamel and silvered opaline dial has 18-carat red gold applique.
The watch comes with a hand-made blue alligator strap with 18-carat red gold pin buckle.

L'art du paillonnage perpétué

Grande Seconde Paillonnée Fleur de Lys © Jaquet Droz

 
L'art du paillonnage perpétué

© Jaquet Droz

With a diameter of 35 mm, the Petite Heure Minute Paillononnée "Fleur de Vie" has an 18-carat red gold case set with 232 diamonds and a Blue Grand Feu paillonné-enameled and white mother-of-pearl dial. The automatic movement Calibre Jaquet Droz 2653.P provides a 68-hour autonomy to the watch. 

L'art du paillonnage perpétué

Petite Heure Minute Paillonnée Fleur de Vie © Jaquet Droz

L'art du paillonnage perpétué

© Jaquet Droz

 

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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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