From automata to artistic masterpieces:

28 REASONS TO LOVE JAQUET DROZ

A celebration of horological innovation, ateliers d’art and fine watchmaking, on its 280th anniversary this year.

01


Grande Seconde

02


Automata

03


Ateliers d’Art

04


Grande Feu Enamelling

05


Watch Case

06


Exceptional Mechanisms

07


Minerals

08


Numerus Clausus

09


Father and Son

10


The Forbidden City

11


Atelier de Haute Horlogerie

12


Grande Seconde Collection

13


SW Collection

14


Astrale Collection

15


Petite Heure Minute Collection

16


Lady 8 Collection

17


Automata Collection

18


Philosophy of the Unique

19


Enamel Painting

20


Paillonne Enamelling

21


3-D Engraving

22


Plique-a-jour Enamelling

23


Boutique Exclusives

24


Grande Seconde Skelet-One

25


Grande Seconde Tribute

26


Grande Seconde Moon

27


Tropical Bird Repeater

28


Parrot Repeater Pocket Watch

1. Grande Seconde: An Iconic Design
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Inspired by Pierre Jaquet-Droz’s pocket watch, which he designed in 1784, the Grande Seconde continues to be one of the brand’s enduring icons. The watch bears the legendary hour and minute counter with Roman numerals that’s off-center at 12 o’clock, intertwined with the large seconds counter featuring Arabic numerals at 6 o’clock. Together, the two subdials form a figure 8 – the mystical figure of infinity and eternity – a key motif in Jaquet Droz watches. With these unique elements, the watch dial offers the wearer a fresh perspective on the passage of time.

Since the 18th century, the Grande Seconde’s distinctive design has been an endless source of inspiration. Today, it continues to evolve with exclusive interpretations and new collections for a new generation of watch lovers to discover. There are bejewelled versions, exquisitely decorated and enamelled pieces and, for the first time, a skeletonised model for its 280th anniversary.

2. Automata: Mechanical Robots in Action
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Bearing ultra-intricate mechanical craftsmanship, automata can be said to be the predecessors of the modern computer. Pierre Jaquet-Droz was a master at crafting automata and created mechanical wonders inspired by humans, animals and nature. The brand’s most famous automata are the The Writer, a delightful humanoid robot capable of inking a goose quill and writing a sentence up to 40 characters long; The Musician, a female organ player; and The Draughtsman, a child sketching four images.

Still delighting watch lovers in this high-tech age, the tradition of creating automata continues with animated timepieces such as The Bird Repeater featuring a family of moving birds, and The Charming Bird, the first miniature singing bird on a wristwatch, both inspired by the birdcage automata of the 18th century.

3. Ateliers d’Art: The Art of Luxury Decoration


In the 18th century, the Jaquet-Droz family were pioneers in the art of luxury decoration and passionate supporters of craftsmen who specialised in these artisanal techniques. The brand’s signature art forms include enamelling, paillonne embellishments, sculpting, engraving and painting, all in intricate, miniature form. Many of the items the brand created, including pocket watches, decorative urns, snuffboxes and cages for mechanical singing birds, were decorated with these techniques, establishing the Jaquet-Droz family’s reputation as a patron of these rare arts. It was only later that these special techniques were adopted by enamellers of the time. Because of the high level of skill and craftsmanship displayed by the artists, these timepieces are today considered precious works of art.

The Art of Enamelling
There are several enamelling techniques – cloisonne, paillonne and champleve. But it is grand feu enamelling that has become the distinctive signature of Jaquet Droz. Grand feu enamelling involves coating a surface, such as a watch dial, with layers of enamel (a glass-like substance composed mainly of silica and other materials). Each layer is heated at extremely high temperatures where it liquifies and permanently sets to produce a glossy and unique surface. It is a meticulously intricate process which Jaquet Droz has mastered and used for its timepieces.

The Art of Painting
The art of painting on enamel is a painstaking decorative technique applied to a few remarkable timepieces in Jaquet Droz’s collection. With the aid of a microscope, each surface is carefully hand-painted, taking at least one week to produce each one-of-a-kind piece.

The Art of Paillonne Enamelling
This is another technique that is central to Jaquet Droz’s traditional expertise. This enamelling technique involves tucking a piece of gold or silver leaf foil called a paillon between two layers of translucent enamel to create tiny motifs.

The Art of Engraving
Engraving is a skill that requires a keen eye and dexterity. The typical engraving method calls for the design to be incised directly onto the material, while relief engraving requires the background material to be removed with a chisel. The back of the case of the Charming Bird featuring a hand-engraved bird is a fine example of this technique

4. Grande Feu Enamelling: A Signature Art Form

A distinctive signature of Jaquet Droz timepieces, grand feu enamelling is an expert technique that combines traditional production methods with the latest advancements in technology to create a thin watch dial.

Relying on the subtle interaction between ultra-fine powders and precision kilns, the brand’s master dial-makers have exclusive knowledge of the formula needed to create such magnificent dials that bear a unique colour and graining.

Once a piece is completed, it is unalterable and the enamel will retain its beauty and gloss for centuries. Today, this enamelling technique has been reinterpreted by the brand and is used in its contemporary collections.

5. Watch Case: A Treasure Chest of Mechanical Wonders
Sculpted with handsome curves and lines, each Jaquet Droz watch case, whether it is made of majestic gold, elegant ceramic or ultra-light titanium, undergoes no fewer than 80 operations by master craftsmen. The brand also uses its own unique type of sapphire crystal directly inspired by pocket watches of the 18th century.
6. Exceptional Mechanisms: Cutting-edge Technology
In 2014, the Jaquet Droz movement underwent a ground-breaking change with the addition of a silicon balance spring and inverted horns on the pallet fork. Silicon is a highly flexible material that is unaffected by magnetic fields and can withstand shock, and variations in temperature or pressure. The modification to the pallet fork improves the functioning of the movement, with better resistance against the influence of temperatures and magnetic fields.
7. Minerals: Priceless, Natural Beauty
Jaquet Droz captures the natural brilliance of precious stones by using rocks, crystals and minerals to decorate its watch dials. Slices of these materials are cut from rough materials in their raw state to showcase their textures, then worked and refined to reveal the depth of colour, radiance and light that nature has bestowed on them.
8. Numerus Clausus: Limited Edition Luxury
With one-of-a-kind creations, as well as Numerus Clausus watch editions which are limited to just 1, 8, 28 or 88 pieces, exclusivity is guaranteed when it comes to Jaquet Droz watches. Some examples of limited edition watches include the Grande Seconde Moon and Grande Seconde Tribute.
9. Pierre and Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz: A Father-and-Son Team

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Born in 1721 on a small farm in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Pierre Jaquet-Droz learnt about clockmaking and precision mechanics under the tutelage of older relatives. He devoted his life entirely to clockmaking and design, and built animated dolls, known as automata, to help his firm sell watches and mechanical birds. His quirky and delightful humanoid automata including The Writer, The Draughtsman and The Musician quickly caught the attention of the wealthy, who had not seen anything like that before. He and his son, Henri-Louis, travelled throughout Europe to showcase their mechanical creations, and their watchmaking brand even became the first to be exported to China’s Forbidden City.

10. Jaquet Droz and China: Entering the Forbidden City

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According to Jaquet Droz, it was the first clockmaking brand imported by China’s Forbidden City, with over 600 pieces introduced within a decade. Emperor Qianlong of the Qing dynasty was said to have been fascinated by European mechanical watches and automata, and he collected Jaquet Droz timepieces. Today, several automata and pocket watches are still carefully preserved in the Imperial Palace Museum.

11. Atelier de Haute Horlogerie: A Timeless Archive

In 2010, Jaquet Droz moved to its new Atelier de Haute Horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The headquarters is where research and development, assembling, manufacture and decorating of the timepieces take place. This facility also houses the brand’s priceless archives, which include antique pieces as well as iconic watches from previous collections.
12. Grande Seconde Collection: Contemporary Interpretations
With its avant-garde lines and distinctive subdials, the pocket watch created by Pierre Jaquet-Droz in 1784 continues to inspire the Grande Seconde collection. From a skeletonised version to off-centre subdials to atelier d’art pieces, the Grande Seconde spans an impressive array of variants to suit discerning collectors.
13. SW Collection: Modern Sportiness
The SW is a sporty interpretation of the iconic Grande Seconde for those who prefer a versatile watch for all occasions. The designs feature the same figure 8 subdials but incorporate rubber-treated elements on the dial and crown for a more rugged appearance. For versatility of wear, the SW collection has models with 45mm and 41mm diameters.
14. Astrale Collection: Elegant Appearance, Complex Mechanisms
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The refined Astrale collection pays tribute to Pierre Jaquet-Droz, whose creations are universally acclaimed for their timeless elegance and phenomenal complex mechanisms. Likewise, the classic-looking timepieces in this collection may have a streamlined design but are mechanically complicated, like the Twelve Cities jumping hours or the Perpetual Calendar Eclipse watches.

15. Petite Heure Minute Collection: Creative Dials
The Petite Heure Minute collection, which features dials in a wide variety of materials and minerals, and with great diversity in complications and decorative techniques, is where the brand’s artisans truly express the range of their creativity and technical excellence. For example, aventurine, a form of quartz, is used for a shimmering, “starry night” effect on the dial.
16. Lady 8 Collection: Fine Jewellery Craftsmanship

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Sensual curves in the distinctive figure 8 shape define the Lady 8 models. They come decorated with a wide array of precious gemstones and minerals, offering a stunning example of fine jewellery craftsmanship.
17. Automata Collection: Wristwatch-sized Wonders

Jaquet Droz continues to showcase its mechanical ingenuity with the Automata collection of timepieces featuring three-dimensional animations. Highlights include The Charming Bird, the first miniature singing bird on a wristwatch; Loving Butterfly, featuring a butterfly-drawn chariot with moving wings and wheels; and the Lady 8 Flower, the first automaton specially dedicated to women.
18. Philosophy of the Unique: The Ultimate in Customisation
For those who prefer one-of-a-kind timepieces, Jaquet Droz can create and customise the dials of watches on request to suit individual preferences. As a starting point, those who commission customised watches may send in their own designs. During the collaborative process, the artisans will work with the individual to decide on the model that will serve as a canvas for the customised design. The craft techniques to be employed on the dial – enamelling, painting, or sculpted and engraved ornamentation – will also be determined in the process. Each of these historic craft techniques are examples of luxury decoration that the Jaquet-Droz family pioneered. The brand’s master artisans continue to uphold these traditions by spending their lifetimes perfecting their craft. Once the designed is confirmed, it will take between two and six months to complete the watch.
19. Enamel Painting: A Painstaking Decorative Technique
This is an extremely intricate decorative technique that is used on select Numerus Clausus pieces, like the Petite Heure Minute Lion and Dragon watches. The painter paints the entire image by hand with the aid of a microscope using a range of brushes – some are just a single bristle measuring a hair’s breadth – to bring the image to life. It takes at least one week to produce each painting.
20. Paillonne Enamelling: Luminous Motifs
A signature of Jaquet Droz’s artisanal atelier, paillonne enamelling brings a shimmering luminosity to the dial. This technique involves tucking a piece of gold or silver leaf foil called a paillon between two layers of translucent enamel to create tiny motifs, like those seen on the Petite Heure Minute Paillonnée and Grande Seconde Paillonnée.
21. 3-D Engraving: Textured Figures

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Engraving is an increasingly rare ancestral technique that results in a textured and three-dimensional sculptural effect, evoking the aesthetic of carved Chinese folding screens. This technique is brought to life in the Petite Heure Minute Dog and Dragon watches that feature such hand-engraved 3-D applique reliefs.
22. Plique-a-jour Enamelling: Colourful Translucency
Only a select few watch brands have successfully mastered the complex art of plique-a-jour enamelling. This technique is showcased on the Petite Heure Minute Smalta Clara watch dial, which comprises multiple cells in different colours and shapes, separated by thin gold wire in an open framework with no backing. What results is a beautiful translucency, akin to the effect of stained glass.
23. Boutique Exclusives: Of Moons and Meteorites

For a timepiece that is truly out of this world, consider the Grande Seconde Quantieme, whose dial is made of meteorite. Another Numerus Clausus boutique exclusive is the Grande Seconde Moon, which has an onyx dial with an 18K white gold applied ring. Only 88 pieces are available globally.

For an even more memorable experience, head to the Jaquet Droz boutique at Marina Bay Sands from Sep 28 to Oct 14, 11am to 11pm. The brand celebrates 280 years of watchmaking and horological craftsmanship with the “Story Of The Unique” exhibition. Go on a historical retrospective of the brand while discovering its latest collections that blend heritage with contemporary mechanical watchmaking.
24. Grande Seconde Skelet-One: A Graphic Interior Revealed

This is the first skeleton Grande Seconde watch, designed to commemorate the brand’s 280th anniversary. The timepiece features a sapphire dial integrated within a skeleton composition to reveal the watch’s intricate mechanism. To better showcase the watch’s elegantly graphic interior, the casing up circle has been eliminated and the plate is entirely openworked.

The self-winding mechanical movement features a silicon double-barrel balance spring, pallet horns, and an 18K red gold oscillating weight with the watch’s individual number engraved on the weight.
25. Grande Seconde Tribute: A Classic in Yellow Gold

The Grande Seconde Tribute was created to celebrate Jaquet Droz’s 280th anniversary, in honour of the brand’s most recognisable watch model. For the first time, the watch is available in an 18K yellow gold case. Each watch in this Numerus Clausus series of 88 has a limited edition serial number in red enamel.
26. Grande Seconde Moon: A New Phase
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The moonphase complication was added to the 2017 Grande Seconde collection, upping the ante for mechanisms in this range. This year, the Grande Seconde Moon is available in new 43mm and 39mm variations in white or red gold with grand feu enamel. There is also a steel model with an opaline dial, and another diamond-set steel version with an aventurine dial and disc. All maintain the same figure-eight configuration, with the moonphase located on the bottom dial together with the date and running seconds.
27. Tropical Bird Repeater: Exotic Flora and Fauna

Enter into a colourful, exotic landscape, with Jaquet Droz’s Tropical Bird Repeater, where its inhabitants come to life on demand. A peacock spreads its feathers, a hummingbird beats its wings and takes a sip of nectar from flowers, a toucan emerges from leaves and opens and closes its beak, dragonflies flit around, and a waterfall flows in the background.

It’s a sight to behold, as the elegant timepiece combines many of the artisanal crafts the watchmaker specialises in – the tropical jungle and birds are hand-engraved and hand-painted. There are two variants, with either a white mother-of-pearl or a black onyx subdial. Limited to just eight pieces each, the 47mm watch features a minute repeater that can chime the hours, quarter hours and minutes. The hand-wound mechanical movement has a power reserve of 60 hours and is housed in an intricately hand-engraved case, either in 18K red gold or white gold. Each comes fitted with a rolled-edge handmade alligator strap in dark green.
28. Parrot Repeater Pocket Watch: So Fly

There is none like it. The Parrot Repeater Pocket Watch captures Jaquet Droz’s deep-rooted history in automata and watchmaking in one extraordinary timepiece. Created to commemorate the brand’s 280th anniversary, this one-of-a-kind pocket watch is the ultimate testament to the brand’s exceptional watchmaking skills and rare decorative techniques.


The 56mm 18K red gold case is engraved, paillonne-enamelled and set by hand with over 1,000 precious jewels, including marquise-cut rubies, pink and blue sapphires, as well as yellow diamonds, emeralds and yellow sapphires.


The masterpiece opens to reveal a pair of exquisitely decorated macaws, two chicks and a hatching egg in a lush tropical jungle. The birds are animated and “sing” on demand. But look closely, and you’ll spot a tiger at 6 o’clock, and another one at the foot of an animated waterfall.


The caseback is equally meticulously decorated. It depicts a macaw engraved and finished in grand feu enamel and decorated with spangles. Open the back cover and you’ll see the hand-wound mechanical movement Calibre RMA88 with cathedral gongs that chime the hours, quarter hours and minutes.