Time to Move: Jaquet Droz

by Katherine Arteche
28 Aug 2019

From the inaugural watch show by the Swatch Group, we select our favourite timepieces that exhibit both technical and aesthetical prowess birthed from these watchmakers.

Jaquet Droz just passed its 280 year mark, having commemorated its milestone with the debut of the Grande Seconde Skelet-One last year. The openworked movement is an exhibition of dark grey bridges that create a muted contrast for the red gold and white gold versions, while for the ceramic version, it looked to be seamlessly fused into the black case. All that remains is the sapphire crystal against the caliber 2663 SQ with all of its intricate components in clear view.

This year, the latest Skelet-One Ceramic is donned in hues of black and blue, with a monochromatic touch accented across the grey skeletal frame. Applied only to the hour, minute, second hands, and screws, the chapter ring is crafted from white gold with bold appliques, and reflects a vertically brushed finish.

The exposé of the 8-shape is in homage to Pierre Jaquet-Droz’s very first iteration of the pocket watch bore the stylised figure in circa 1785. Then as it was now, the configuration evoked a minimalistic style that was ahead of its era.

Today, the Grande Seconde collection now includes a Chronograph version, which preserves its unique aesthetic with precise chronometric capability. Unlike most chronographs in the market, the Grande Seconde style is dressier than its counterparts.

Affixed with a monopusher, the movement was exclusively made for Jaquet Droz, assembled with a column-wheel construction, and the Grande Seconde Deadbeat. The model premieres in four versions, one of which is an 88-piece limited edition in red gold and Grand Feu enamel dial.

The perpetual editions comprise of stainless steel cases in 43mm which are available in sandblasted silver, blue, or taupe grey dials. The configuration also slightly differs, with more off-centred dials and a crown at the 4 o’clock position.

Limited edition Grande Seconde Chronograph in red gold

Lest we forget, what sets the maison apart from the rest in this roundup is the manufacture’s affinity for automatons, much ado by its founder Pierre Jaquet-Droz. This year’s creation encapsulates flora in an exceptional moving Zen garden.

In a picturesque display that lasts four minutes, the Magic Lotus Automaton is an animation of lotus blooms, swimming Koi fish and precious stones in rotation. Its entirety comprises of an onyx dial, set with gold petals, engraved mother-of-pearl, and a visual tease of blue and yellow sapphires and a ruby. Delicately encased in 43mm red or white gold cases, the creation operates on an in-house movement comprising of 500 components, that’s only been created for to 28 pieces in each version.