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Jaquet Droz - A New Vision of Disruption

Jaquet Droz A New Vision of Disruption

To respect the legacy of Pierre Jaquet-Droz, we had to shake up conventions, take risks, be bold and show the way

You thought you knew your classics inside out? Are you convinced that nothing can surprise you anymore coming from an age-old Maison established for nearly three centuries? It’s time to change your point of view: disruption often pops up where it is lease expected, shattering watchmaking conventions as well as certain aesthetic codes that one might have thought immutable. Such is the approach taken by Jaquet Droz since the arrival in 2021 of its CEO Alain Delamuraz. Its new slogan: “JD 8.0 A, Disruptive Legacy”. Its new strategy: to adapt by being closer to customers, to be flexible, to be capable of calling itself into question without forgetting its roots. The result: a repositioning at the very high end of the market, illustrated by increasingly exclusive and customizable creations. 

A New Vision Of Disruption

Tourbillon Skelet Saphir © Jaquet Droz

An Exceptional Heritage 

The turnaround seems radical for this brand created in 1738 by Pierre Jaquet-Droz, considered one of the greatest creative artisans of the Age of Enlightenment, particularly for his inventive and ingenious automatons. Radical yet ultimately very natural in terms of history. “As early as 1738, Pierre Jaquet-Droz was such a trailblazing innovator with his automatons that he was already disruptive for his contemporaries”, recalls Alain Delamuraz. “He was even nearly put in prison because his ability to create objects that sang, wrote or played music earned him the suspicion that he was making a pact with the devil!” His visionary creations enabled him to rise to the top, from the Spanish court to the English court and even the Forbidden City in Beijing. “Jaquet Droz is considered an exceptional, high-end brand, just as it originally was three centuries ago”, adding “This is where the brand is repositioning itself.

For Alain Delamuraz, this strategic repositioning does not mean a clean break with the past. On the contrary, the heritage remains central. “To respect the legacy of Pierre Jaquet-Droz, we had to shake up conventions, take risks, be bold and show the way”, he explains. “To remain a great brand, you have to be followed rather than a follower, and therefore shatter existing codes. Our heritage is art watches and automata with a six-figure price tag, so we’ve done away with anything that doesn’t fit into that category.” This strategy involves ultra-exclusive creations that take the concept of personalization to new frontiers and call on the formidable expertise of the Manufacture’s artisans, both technically and in the field of artistic crafts.

Contemporary and Playful

In terms of design, alongside gold cases, the ultimate classic precious metal, Jaquet Droz’s expertise is also expressed through the use of new materials and straps that offer an alternative to leather, such as recycled fishing net fabric or more colorful options. Sapphire cases are making a noteworthy entry into the Jaquet Droz collections, as in the new Tourbillon Skelet Saphir, which radically reinvents the case of this legendary complication, giving way to absolute transparency. “We are the only ones to design a case that is 100% sapphire, 100% machined and assembled in La Chaux-de-Fonds, without any screws in the case, magnifying an 8-day tourbillon”, says the CEO of Jaquet Droz. “These new materials and colors perfectly represent the more contemporary and playful JD 8.0, A Disruptive Legacy. Such modern technologies can be combined in a spectacular way with the ancestral techniques of paillons or transparent opal: it is an absolutely unique offering!”

A New Vision Of Disruption

Tourbillon Skelet Skull Red Gold © Jaquet Droz

Personally yours!

A unique offer, exceptional expertise. The strategy initiated by Alain Delamuraz also consists in giving pride of place to the traditional watchmaking skills. “Who else but Jaquet Droz could give work to an artist who assembles dials from fragments of quail eggshells? Jaquet Droz stands out as a human-sized Manufacture of about 50 artisans, but one that is fortunate to have the support of a fantastic group that supports the preservation of heritage and the encouragement of artistic skills.” For the brand that joined the Swatch Group in 2000, expertise in the field of artistic crafts remains central, as does the tradition of automaton watches in which Jaquet Droz has consistently distinguished itself. It does so while also treating itself to a few original moves in terms of design, as shown by the Tourbillon Sapphire Skelet Skull watch, featuring a majestic sculpted skull nestling at the heart of a sapphire case.

A New Vision Of Disruption

Dragon Automaton © Jaquet Droz

Another example of Jaquet Droz’s mastery is the Dragon Automaton model, which features a new automaton mechanism that animates nine elements of a dragon that is finely sculpted, engraved and adorned with micro-painting by the Manufacture’s artisans based on a drawing by John Howe, an illustrator famous for his work on the Lord of the Rings universe. 

The fantasy animal is visually entrancing. Its crest moves, its mouth opens, revealing its tongue, its eye comes to life, while its dorsal scales and its tail slowly undulate. The dragon’s legs also move as if to seize a rotating stone bead. A mesmerizing show that lasts between 10 and 15 seconds, with a customizable dial serving as a stage.

Showcase Manufacture

Jaquet Droz’s strategic shift also involves an extremely advanced personalization concept based on a special relationship with customers. For example, certain timepieces such as the Tourbillon Skelet or the Dragon Automaton can be customized as desired, from the material of the case to the dial and the color of the hands and hour-markers. “The customer can decide on the material of the case, which can for example be sapphire, gold or titanium”, says Alain Delamuraz. A phygital approach is currently being developed that will enable brand aficionados to enjoy initial personal contact with the artisans of the Manufacture. In order to offer its customers an ever more personalized service, Jaquet Droz does not hesitate to open the doors of its workshops. “Customers discover our craftsmanship, it’s an opportunity for travel”, continues the CEO of Jaquet Droz. “We have also equipped it with a very elaborate professional video studio with high-definition cameras pointed at the drawing board, the workbench and the artisan, who can thus work remotely with the client on the progress of their timepiece. They are given an access code, make an appointment with our craftspeople who spend time with them and perform the customization as if the clients were physically present.” 

Building customer loyalty at Jaquet Droz also involves a highly successful after-sales service. “In the customers’ journey, we want to accompany them before, during and after, as well as with their friends! No one is indifferent to our craftsmanship, yet the unboxing ceremony will be given a unique touch since an (optional) experience will accompany each sale in the environment of each customer’s choice, on a mountain top or on a yacht, with their three best friends. Marketing is based on the customer’s DNA and Jaquet Droz adapts to it. Acquiring a Jaquet Droz watch thus becomes an experience in itself. Rare, highly exclusive and infinitely personal!

 

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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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