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Jaquet Droz - The second stops, the woman awakens

Jaquet Droz The second stops, the woman awakens

It’s an unusual Baselworld for Jaquet Droz, which is (physically) stopping its famous Grande Seconde and breathing life into an automaton for ladies.

Jaquet Droz likes to come to Baselworld with a guaranteed minimum of four new releases in the fields of watchmaking, automata, Ateliers d’Arts and ladies’ collections. This year, the novelty is that there will only be… three. Because, for the first time, the ladies’ piece is also an automaton.

Tribute to ladies
This union is a significant step for Jaquet Droz, as it is the first time that “the talking piece” of Basel Fair is a feminine creation, in addition to being the first time that the brand uses its know-how in the realm of automata for this clientele.

After two years of making the most of the Lady 8, the brand’s ladies’ collection, Jaquet Droz appears to have succeeded in its bid to conquer a female audience that had not been its customary target. This is a great achievement backed by a daring creation, although the investment with regard to image is not yet proven – but will be to a greater degree in 2015.

Jaquet Droz - Lady 8 Flower

The Lady 8 Flower unveiled here will be available in two limited series - eight pieces for the white gold version, and 28 pieces for the red gold version. The piece has a similar architecture to the Lady 8 (still 35mm), with the former mineral bead decoration at 12 o’clock now replaced with a lotus flower enclosing a Briolette diamond. These secrets are revealed by an opening of its petals done by pressing on a pushpiece, thus delivering the force required to activate the movement.

Demise of the Grande Seconde
Rumours had been circulating for weeks, and now it’s official: Jaquet Droz’ Grande Seconde is dead – or at least technically so, since the model has been treated to a “dead beat” rhythm, meaning one step per second.

This is also new ground for Jaquet Droz, that of a playful yet technical complication reserved for a circle of enlightened enthusiasts, whereas up until now the Grande Seconde had exercised a resolutely universal appeal with its eminently useful perpetual calendar, thus naturally targeting the widest possible audience.

So it took a certain amount of daring to tackle the seconds hand of the legendary Grande Seconde, its founding element and its very essence. “It is above all an exceptional piece of technical work”, admits Christian Lattmann, VP Jaquet Droz. “The deadbeat seconds is one of the rare watchmaking complications that literally gives the seconds hand such a starring role. From an aesthetic point of view, we have completely rebuilt the face of the piece using new or rearranged elements, such as a retrograde date at 6 o’clock, an hour dial at 12 o’clock and a large seconds display which has moved to the centre.”

Jaquet Droz - Grande Seconde Morte

Technically, the piece is just as much of a success. It is based on an existing calibre to which the “deadbeat” module has been added. The distinctive nature of the composition lies in “its flat assembly” continues Christian Lattmann. “This is an option enabled by the use of Liga technology, which is so accurate that the parts can be assembled on the same level. The cam, the lever and the escape-wheel of the deadbeat seconds are all on the same level, an innovation for which a patent has been filed.”

Butterflies and carp in extremely limited series
Finally, the Ateliers d’Art collection is rounded off with a series of 41mm “Petite Heure Minute Relief Carps”. This scene had already been produced in enamel, and is now embodied using engraving and translucent champlevé enamel creating the illusion that the carp are literally underwater, and seen from the surface. Two 28-piece editions in white or red gold will be on offer

Jaquet Droz - La Petite Heure Minute Carpe

Finally, in an equally artistic vein, one should note the composition of two sets of eight pieces. They will be differentiated by a fluttering butterfly beginning its journey on the first piece at 10 o’clock and ending at 2 o’clock with the eighth piece. The symbolism of the butterfly is none other than that drawn by the automaton known as “The Draughtsman” created by Pierre Jaquet-Droz in 1763.

Jaquet Droz - Ateliers d’Art Papillon


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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