The Swiss Watch Gallery welcomes Swiss watchmaker Jaquet-Droz into its collection of brands in Malaysia. The CEO of Jaquet-Droz, Christian Lattman was in Kuala Lumpur on September 26th for the official introduction of the brand as he presented some of its 2018 novelties, including the Parrot Repeater Pocket watch.
Founded by Pierre Jaquet-Droz in 1738, the historic watch brand was favoured by noblemen and royals including King Ferdinand VI of Spain as well as French king Louis XVI and his queen, Marie-Antoinette.
Second generation Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz alongside fellow apprentice Jean Frédéric Leschot continued to expand the business to major cities across the world including London, Paris and China before settling in Geneva by the end of the 1700s. The two also opened Geneva’s first clockmaking manufacture and at the same time introduced the production of timepieces featuring grand compilations like clocks, automata and singing birds.
Jaquet-Droz however took a nosedive in 1806 during the end of prosperity for the well-to-do bourgeoisie and killed off all remaining market for luxurious objects.
The Swatch Group acquired Jaquet-Droz in 2000, enabling the brand to recapture the glory it enjoyed during the 18th century and preserve the exceptional heritage of its founder. Today, the legacy remains with these historic timepieces being the key inspiration to modern day novelties that embody traditional century-old techniques.
The identity of the Jaquet-Droz family was shaped by its history, creations and encounters. With each new venture, the Jaquet Droz signature became increasingly recognisable as the genetic codes of the brand evolved. Here are eight key features of the brand that you should know as it enters the Malaysian market.
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Grande Seconde was launched in 2002, a piece inspired by a pocket watch created in the 18th century. The dial of this ageless icon of the company is a refined demonstration of the art of Grand Feu Enameling, with the hour and minute display at 12 o-clock, overlapping the second counter at 6 o’clock.
Collectors and enthusiasts would notice the shape of ‘infinity’ or the ‘8’ symbol (a lucky number for Jaquet-Droz) that is evident on the dials. The brand continues to enhance the mechanism of the Grande Seconde by combining it with the tourbillon, creating impeccable precision and creative possibilities to future creations in its repertoire.
Jaquet-Droz makes it a priority to develop its Ateliers d’Art within the fine watchmaking workshop as well to integrate and preserve the centuries of special expertise that defines the brand’s identity. The meticulous work involved in miniature painting, carving, engraving and paillonnée enamelling is highlighted in some exceptional pieces in the collection. Observe the intricate handwork that beckons a closer look, perhaps even under a magnifying glass.
Grand Feu Enameling is one of the expert techniques that constitute the signature of a Jaquet Droz watch. Combining traditional production methods with latest generation technology, the craftsmen at Jaquet Droz have kept up with the latest developments in timepieces and the technical constraints that they involve. Relying on the subtle interaction of ultra-fine powders and precision kilns, master dial-makers are sole guardians of the formula that yields these magnificent dials. Once a piece is finished, it is unalterable. The enamel will retain its beauty and gloss for centuries, withstanding the ravages of time indefinitely.
Jaquet-Droz is also known for its automata, a series of intricate mechanical animations that are incorporated into the timepieces. The Bird Repeater (2012), Lady 8 Flower (2015) and Tropical Bird Repeater (2017) all demonstrated the history, expertise and imagination of Jaquet-Droz craftsmen, paying tribute to the founder of the brand.
In 2013, the brand released the first singing bird automaton on a wristwatch, The Charming Bird – a veritable technical feat that won the house the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in the “Mechanical Exception” category. Jaquet-Droz renews a focus on the ancestral skills of the automata with a workshop specially dedicated to it.
Jaquet Droz captures the natural brilliance of stones, using them to decorate its watch dials. Cut from rough materials in their raw state, they reveal their fascinating beauty only once they have been worked. Adorned in this way, mineral watches by Jaquet Droz become naturally unique. The brand seals its spot in the world of Haute Horlogerie as it strikes an elegant balance in the art of customisation – Jaquet-Droz is one of the very few brands in the world to provide exquisite personalisation that incorporates artisanal techniques, automaton mechanisms and minerals.