Jaquet Droz introduced its new limited collection of exclusive models based on the centuries-old art of "paillonné" enameling. This refined selection reminds us that beauty from the hand of man can endure the test of time.
By Walter Raymond
The art of paillonné enameling has been cultivated for centuries by the artisans of the Swiss firm Jaquet Droz. This 18th-century decorative technique is the star feature in a refined limited edition of three iconic models by the legendary haute horlogerie label: the 29 mm Petite Heure Minute, the stunning 43 mm Grand Seconde and a regal 50 mm pocket watch.
Thanks to the fine craftsmanship by the firm’s goldsmiths, the timepieces feature a red gold case with blue steel needles and deep blue enamel dial which masterfully integrates the brand’s distinctive floral design. The watches come with an alligator leather strap in black or blue. With a limited edition of eight copies of each model, the prices range between $39,900 and $47,300. Read more about luxury watches.
The legend of Jaquet Droz goes back to 1738 and its timepieces continue to amaze us all. Almost three centuries ago, the firm presented to the European courts three autonomous mechanical devices known as The Writer, The Cartoonist and The Pianist. These three mechanisms, now a part of the collection of the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, astonished kings and nobles for centuries with their ability to write sentences, draw pictures or play a soft melody.
The famous Swiss house surprised its clients yet again in 2009 with The Time Writing Machine, another very complex mechanical device made of more than 1,200 pieces, able to tell the time and write on a sheet of paper. The piece that followed was The Signing Machine, a marvel of miniaturization, able to write its owner´s signature in cursive.
But perhaps their most beautiful recent creations have been The Charming Bird and The Bird Repeater. The first incorporates a colorful and lively bird that dances and chirps at the appointed time. The second features two tiny birds in their nest, chirping and feeding their young to mark the hour. The whimsical dial of this limited model is nacre and the needles, as well as the hand-carved birds, are 18K white gold. The black alligator strap comes with a white gold buckle.
We are all better off because there still are legendary brands committed to mechanics as they are to the incomparable, timeless beauty and craftsmanship of their timepieces. Jaquet Droz remains classic and unique, refrains from nostalgia but is as classic and sophisticated as it has ever been. ■
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