Automata have always fascinated man, right from the days of master watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz. The marque, true to its roots, manages to amaze its aficionados every year. 2017 is no exception with the Loving Butterfly ruling the Petite Heure Minute along with lions, flamingos, and carps, while the Grande Seconde arrives as a moon phase, a mother-of-pearl tourbillon, and a satin-brushed quantième
The name of Pierre Jaquet-Droz, founder of Jaquet Droz, is one venerated in the world of automata. A Swiss watchmaker born in 1721, Pierre, whose creations are considered by many to be the earliest examples of a computer, had set up his own workshop by 1738. Beginning with making of grandfather clocks, he added his own touches to his creations, enhancing them with music and automata.
In its heyday, Jaquet-Droz’s clientele included the royalty and nobility of China, Asia, and Europe. Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz, Pierre’s son, and partner Jean-Frédéric Leschot were also key contributors to the marque’s growth. Acquired by the Swatch group in 2000, the maison today stays true to its roots with its haute horlogerie creations incorporating both automata and the skill of its Ateliers d’Art. The brand’s offering for 2017 lives up to its reputation, including as it does the “Loving Butterfly Automaton,” three additions to the Grande Seconde line, and two to its Petit Heure Collection.
Loving Butterfly Automaton
Loving Butterfly Automaton is inspired by abreath-taking sketch delivered by Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz’s android automaton, created 242 years ago, and is part of the prestigious Jaquet Droz automaton watch collection, which includes the Bird Repeater, the Charming Bird, and the Lady 8 Flower. The dial of the Petite Heure Minute has been adapted as a naturalistic backdrop for the cherub and the butterfly, come alive from a sketch of the Draughtsman – the automaton that fascinated the whole of Europe in the 18th century.
With just one push on the crown button, the butterfly comes to lifewith grace and delicacy, pulling behind it a cherub in an animated chariot. The chariot’s wheel begins to turn in an exquisite optical illusion made possible by the combination of fixed and mobile spokes. The exclusive automaton mechanism, for which two patents are pending, took three years to develop. The power reserve, maintained with three barrels manually wound using the crown, allows the butterfly to delicately flutter its wings 300 times over a period of approximately two minutes. The watch is available in two versions – red gold on a Polynesian black mother-of-pearl dial or white gold on an onyx dial – both 43 MM in diameter, in a limited edition of 28 pieces each.
Grande Seconde Moon
Jaquet Droz has integrated an astronomical moon phase – requiring adjustment only once every 122 years and 46 days – into its legendary Grande Seconde. The moon disc, of blued steel, is located at the heart of the lower dial dedicated to the date with a direct-drive seconds hand. The moon floats on a backdrop of dark blue where tiny gold stars shimmer. A corrector positioned at 8 o’clock enables its adjustment. The watch is available in three versions of onyx, gold, and silvery opaline.
Grande Seconde Tourbillon Mother-of-Pearl
The dial of the Grande Seconde Tourbillon Mother-of-Pearl gleams off the red gold 39 MM case set with brilliant-cut diamonds plus the highlight on the dial and the folding clasp. Roman numeral indexes for hours and minutes accentuate the blued-steel hands. The white satin strap offsets the gold oscillating weight adorned with white mother-of-pearl and the movement’s bridges with a fanned Côtes de Genève design. Mother-of-Pearl is a limited edition of 88 pieces.
Grande Seconde Quantième Satin-Brushed
The Grande Seconde Quantième – instantly recognisable by its two off-centre dials, majestic direct-drive seconds hand, and pointer-type date display highlighted with a touch of intense red – is now displayed on a dial featuring a sunray finish that creates a fascinating iridescence. Two versions – anthracite, equipped with hands in rhodium-plated steel; and gray, with hands in blued steel – are available with a diameter of 39 or 43 millimeters.
Petite Heure Minute Relief Seasons
Jaquet Droz is presenting two new models of the Petite Heure Minute Relief Seasons that portray the magic of spring and the splendour of summer. Pierre Jaquet-Droz’s fascination with the landscape of the changing seasons and birds is brought alive in the two new versions of the Petite Heure Minute Relief Seasons that pay homage to spring and summer. The mother-of-pearl dial – in two versions: spring and summer – becomes a majestic sky on which a pair of blue tit birds, carved from gold, then engraved and painted by hand, appear strikingly real. Each of these stunningly beautiful timepieces comes in a limited edition of just 88 pieces.
Petite Heure Minute Lion, Petite Heure Minute Pink Flamingo & Petite Heure Minute Carps
The lion, the flamingo, and the koi carp are Jaquet Droz’s guests of honour on three timepieces that bring together the very best of its artisans’ mastery. The Grand Feu enamel of the dial has been worked to create a deep, uniform black backdrop that enhances the visual appeal of the painter’s art. While the Lion is housed in a generous 43 MM case, the Flamingo and Carps both come in a 39 MM case. The Flamingo is further enhanced by the eye-catching 248 brilliant-cut diamonds that are set in the red gold case. Fitted with a self-winding mechanical movement and featuring a 68-hour power reserve, these three editions are available as just 28 pieces for each version.