Swatch Group founder Nicolas G. Hayek had a perceptive intuition for traditional watchmakers of which horological heritage has been ageing little over the years and he had a strong demand to keep the Swiss watch industry alive – thus, his attention was besides Abraham-Louis Breguet and Jehan-Jacques Blancpain also on Pierre Jaquet Droz, the ingenious watchmaker and his 1738 founded brand. Jaquet Droz was an illustrious constructer and during his time he built automatons, pendulum clocks and pocket watches. Its sophisticated and somehow playful heritage still can be found in the collections today, or let’s say, has been revitalized. In 2018 the Maison Jaquet Droz celebrated its 280th anniversary – a good opportunity to launch some anniversary watches.
A complete new line has emerged within the most important collection ‘Grande Seconde’. For the first time they show skeletonized movements and introduce three new interpretations: Grande Seconde Skelet-One in red gold, white gold and ceramic. The watch line ‘Grande Seconde’ plays an essential role within the watch collections of Jaquet Droz. They are based on the founders pocket watch from 1784. It becomes noticeable that the seconds-hand is distinctly bigger then the minute-/hour-indication. Thereby Pierre Jaquet Droz wanted to symbolize the precision of his watches through his watchmaking savoir-faire. In 2002 for the first time, this feature was adopted into the wristwatches of the collection ‘Grande Seconde’.
Ever since then, the collection regularly appears in a new style – with a second time zone and date indication, with minute repeater, with tourbillon or with jumping second and retrograde date indication. However the figure “8” remains unchanged and becomes visible from the distance due to the arrangement of the indications. Therefore some of the watches are limited to 88 pieces, although they decided not to limit the new skeletonized pieces. For us, the highlight watch of the line is the Grande Seconde Skelet-One Ceramic in black. The contrast between black ceramic and the golden, skeletonized rotor and the golden elements is especially well made. The dial is made from sapphire glass in order to prevent it from covering the open movement. Also the hours and minutes turn around a sapphire hour ring and are set on a base of black ceramic (for the other two versions in red or white gold accordingly). Jaquet Droz also plans to launch a new black ceramic model with a blue hand-lined fabric strap and blue dial elements coming up soon.
The ceramic interpretation has a case diameter of 41.5 millimetres and is therefore slightly bigger then its sibling watches that have a diameter of 41 millimetres. Additionally the numerals are neither Roman nor Arabic but simply attached as plain indices. Furthermore the strap is not made from leather but from a hand-lined fabric. They deliberately dispensed the traditional elements to point out its modern interpretation – the contrasting red gold indices nevertheless symbolize the overall luxury approach of Jaquet Droz. The two gold versions present themselves slightly more authentic and show the seconds indication in Arabic numerals and the minute-/hour-indication in Roman numerals. At the point where both meet, the numerals change from Roman to Arabic (analogue to the historical pocket watches).
The Grande Seconde Skelet-One movement calibre JD2663.SQ (squelette) is equipped with a double barrel and offers a power reserve of 68 hours. The balance spring and the pallet lugs are made of silicon.
The Grande Seconde Skelet-One cost 24.500,- Euro in black ceramic and 34.100,- Euro in red or white gold. On occasion of this years anniversary, two more collections have been introduced within the ‘Grande Seconde’ line: Tribute and Moon.