Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Dual Time Ivory Enamel

Fine Art In Motion: Discovering Jaquet Droz’s 2019 Novelties And Interview With CEO Christian Lattmann

Involving hundreds of man-hours per piece, the new Jaquet Droz novelties are hidden gems for savvy collectors.

By Thomas Hendricks
Contributor

Jaquet Droz is a brand that has maintained insider status in the US, known only to those in the know. But with the extension of their lease on their 5th Avenue boutique from increased customer interest, it seems word has gotten out. 

Founded in 1738, Jaquet Droz was best known for their automatons, wind-up machines that performed human-like tasks of sketching an image, writing a signature, or pouring a cup of tea. So life-like and futuristic, these machines brought sorcery allegations against Jaquet Droz.
 

Jaquet Droz Manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

After an extended dormancy period, the brand was revived by two former Breguet employees in 1995 and was purchased by the Swatch group in 2003. Since then, the brand has regained notoriety for their intricately hand-carved and hand-painted automaton watches and for their signature Grande Seconde collection. 

2019 Novelties

The three defining pillars of Jaquet Droz are the Grande Seconde collection, Automatons, and a commitment to craftsmanship. True to form, the new 2019 novelties move the needle on all three. 
 

Grande Seconde Skelet-One

The recognizable Grande Seconde collection gets a cutting-edge overhaul with the Skelet-One. The open-worked watch reveals a sapphire dial, silicon balance spring, and depending on the colorway, an 18k red gold or 18k white gold oscillating weight. 
 

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Ceramic

The Skelet-One should attract a younger market interested in skeleton designs, but without having to spend on a Richard Mille or Audemars Piguet. The Skelet-One is available in 18k white gold, 18k red gold, or black ceramic. 
 

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Ceramic
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantième Satin-Brushed Blue

Grande Seconde Quantième Satin-Brushed Blue

Available in 39mm or 43mm, the Grande Seconde Quantième Satin-Brushed Blue adds a sunray finish to the classic Grande Seconde. This model also features a 68-hour power reserve, white gold indexes, and an exhibition caseback.
 

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantième Satin-Brushed Blue

Grande Seconde Dual Time

The world map function adds a touch of elegance to the collection, set in a silver opaline, onyx, black enamel, or ivory Grand Feu enamel dial. The 43mm case is available in either stainless steel or 18kt red gold.
 

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Dual Time Ivory Enamel
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Dual Time Ivory Enamel

Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph

This mono-pusher chronograph showcases a double-level, blue dial that has been sandblasted by hand to achieve just the right amount of texture. The 43mm piece is available in either stainless steel or 18kt red gold with dials in blue, gray, silver, or ivory enamel. This watch also features a 40-hour power reserve and a pointer-type retrograde date display at 7 o’clock.
 

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph Blue
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph Blue

Petite Heure Minute Mother of Pearl

In the ladies' collection, the 35mm Petite Heure Minute features a mother of pearl dial, 18kt white gold applied ring, optional diamond bezel, and under the hood, a 68-hour power reserve.
 

Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Nacre
Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Nacre

Magic Lotus Automaton

Finally, the Magic Lotus Automaton is a true show-stopper. Each element of the mother of pearl dial has been hand-engraved and hand-painted. The mono-pusher activates the rotating rings, animated pond with carp, dragonfly, and lotus. The automaton features an astounding four-minute runtime that cycles through four-seasons, representing a continuous cycle of death and rebirth. Through the exhibition caseback, one can view the intricately hand-carved movement. In total, the watch requires nearly 300 hours of artistry. 
 

Jaquet Droz Magic Lotus Automaton

In conversation with CEO Christian Lattmann

To learn more about the brand, its approach to watchmaking, and what it’s like to be a niche manufacture, Watchonista sat down with Jaquet Droz CEO, Christian Lattmann.
 

Christian Lattmann, CEO of Jaquet Droz

Thomas Hendricks: Christian, it’s a pleasure to meet you, and thank you for sitting down with Watchonista. How is 2019 going for Jaquet Droz?

Christian Lattmann: For Jaquet Droz, 2019 is an exceptional year for our novelties. What we presented during Time To Move was really well accepted by the press and retailers. All said that we are going in a good direction, we are doing well with our new products in terms of creativity, design, and technique, of course, craftsmanship, but also price positioning. They all said the price for value is good and money for value is good, so I'm really happy with the result.

The baseline of Jaquet Droz is that some watches tell time, some tell a story. And for each new product we create, we try to tell a new story. To explain why we have done this product and what is behind it, the symbolism, the philosophy of each watch. We're not talking about watches anymore, it's more about trying to position watchmaking as art and explaining this to all our clients.

So, yes, it was a good year - it is a good year, it's not finished - and now we're traveling around the world to present our novelties.
 

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph Blue

TH: It seems like by and large Jaquet Droz is undiscovered or even underappreciated. You've been CEO for 3 years now and the brand seems to have gotten more recognition in that time. What have you found that's worked?

CL: First what we have done, in terms of market and product, is for everything to be more focused. We don't want to open too many points of sale or be in too many markets without having reached a certain level and being a bit more established. So, we decided to not go too fast in every market and we only have 200 points of sale in the world.

For the people who love watches and are discovering Jaquet Droz, we want it to be easier to "read" the brand, to understand where we are going, who we are, what our values are.

I think, more and more, people want to know about what's behind the brand. They want to know the authenticity of how we work, how we do things, and to be completely transparent with how we create. This is very important for the future of Jaquet Droz.
 

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph Blue
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph Blue

TH: For my final question, I saw that Jaquet Droz is a supporter of the Béjart Ballet in Lausanne and I was curious to get your take on the overlap between the arts and watchmaking.

CL: Well, we did that 3 years ago and we decided to choose the Béjart Ballet but, more generally, what we want to support is the arts in general. You know, we have 8 in-house artists who are creating this kind of craftsmanship. So, what we sell, what we show, what we develop, what we create is not watches, it's pure art. When you see the ballet, it's so elegant and so beautiful that you don't see all the work behind it. This is the beauty of dancing. Here it is the same. When you see, for instance, the new Magic Lotus Automaton, it is very beautiful, but you cannot imagine all the work that is behind it.
 

Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Nacre

You have the beauty where you can just imagine how it is difficult to create the leaves which are in gold and engraved and enameled. It's quite difficult. Normally gold, when you put it in the heat it moves, it changes the shape. So, it's the first time we've done that. But when you see the watch you don't realize it.

Well, that's not completely true. I was wearing this watch at the airport and this lady, who I didn't know, came up to me and said, "Ah, you have the new Jaquet Droz! I love it!" And this was not the first time. So sometimes we say that not enough people know the brand but in fact, the people who do know the brand love it.
 

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Dual Time Ivory Enamel

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

Certina's DS-1 Big Date 60th Anniversary: A Special Edition Not To Be Missed!

By Benjamin TeisseireEditor & Business Development
For Certina, there are always technological breakthroughs that stand out. The Double Security – DS – introduced in 1959 is one of them. Since...

Sure, Breguet Invented The Tourbillon, But He Also Had Other Tricks Up His Sleeve

By Hyla BauerContributor & Special Projects
On the 218th birthday of the Tourbillon, a look at Breguet's lesser-known mechanical firsts.

Modern Royalty: Breguet Knights Their 2019 Novelties (Hands-On)

By Vincent DaveauManaging Editor France
One of our favorite stops during #TimetoMove was the historic Breguet manufacture. Join along as we discover this year's novelties. 

The Vallée de Joux Goes Diving: Our Favorite 2019 Blancpain Novelties

By Vincent DaveauManaging Editor France
During #TimetoMove, the scenic Swiss Jura played host to six of Swatch Group’s most popular brands. One of our first stops was a visit to the Blancpain...

Why Swatch Group’s ‘Time To Move’ Summit Was More Of A ‘Time To Reset’

By Vincent DaveauManaging Editor France
Swatch Group’s recent “Time to Move” press event followed an ambitious itinerary that offered guests a guided tour of the most exclusive...

A Closer Look at the Jaquet Droz Grande Heure Minute Silver

By Josh ShanksManaging Editor US
Jaquet Droz goes back to its roots by producing this exciting yet classical design.

Baselworld 2018: A Closer Look at Jaquet Droz’s Latest Creations

By Joël A. GrandjeanContributor
To celebrate its 280th anniversary, Jaquet Droz released a vast array of new timepieces. Let’s dive right in!

The Grande Seconde Quantième Radiates Blue By Jaquet Droz

The Grande Seconde Quantième now features a modern, tasteful and spirited satin-brushed sunray finish, and is available in a diameter of 39 mm or 43 mm.

A New Gold And Mother-Of-Pearl Face For The Petite Heure Minute

Jaquet Droz opts for sleek minimalistic beauty with the latest Petite Heure Minute.

Jaquet Droz Sponsors Only Watch For Eighth Consecutive Edition

The brand is donating a very special one-of-a-kind Grande Seconde Skelet-One timepiece to the 2019 Only Watch auction.

Petite Heure Minute “Smalta Clara Hummingbird”: The New Creation In Plique-À-Jour Enamel By Jaquet Droz

Once again, the Petite Heure Minute lends the canvas of its off-centered time to the Ateliers d’Art. On its dial comes plique-à-jour enamel work...

Jaquet Droz Unveils A Brand New Version Of The Grande Seconde Dual Time

Ever the explorer, the Grande Seconde Dual Time presents a stylish and contemporary new look that ushers the centuries-strong aesthetic of the Grande Seconde...

Jaquet Droz Unveils The First Ever Grande Seconde Chronograph

It was one of the few complications yet to grace the Grande Seconde. Now the monopusher chronograph makes its grand entrance into the Jaquet Droz collection...

Bohemian Chic: Jaquet Droz Unveils Two New Versions Of Its Lady 8 Petite

Jaquet Droz puts malachite and mother-of-pearl center stage in two variations of its Lady 8 Petite. Half-jewel, half-talisman, these pieces shine new light...

Magic Lotus Automaton Blooms From The Naturalist Roots Of Jaquet Droz

The new Magic Lotus Automaton invites meditation and contemplation in an animated Zen garden. Fauna and flora come to life in breathtaking detail in this...