About Jaquet Droz
Jaquet Droz, one of the oldest Swiss watchmaking houses
While the Jaquet Droz brand is now part of the Swatch Group, it still retains its character, its tradition of excellence and its exceptional watches. The Swiss House, based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, not only bears the name of its founder, it perpetuates a three-century-old heritage.
Indeed, it was in 1738 that Pierre Jaquet-Droz opened his first workshop, already in La Chaux-de-Fonds, in which he devoted himself exclusively to watchmaking for about ten years. His long clocks with increasingly sophisticated movements, outclassed everything that had been produced up to that point, which did not escape the notice of King Ferdinand VI of Spain. The watchmaker returned from a trip to Iberia with a handsome fortune, which allowed him, from 1759 onwards, to devote himself to the creation of clocks, watches and the automata that would play a large part in building his reputation throughout Europe.
The Jaquet-Droz family, father and son, who made people dream with their android automatons, opened the first Geneva watch factory specializing in the design and export of luxury watches. It was successful, but the company died out with the successful deaths of Pierre Jaquet-Droz and his son Henri-Louis in 1789 and 1790.
The Maison Jaquet Droz actually sank into a slumber that would last two centuries. Only its automatons still work, defying time, all the way to the Forbidden City in Beijing.
In 2001, the Swatch Group acquired Montres Jaquet-Droz and set out to revive the excellence of the House as it shone in the 18th century. The launch of the iconic Grande Seconde the following year celebrated this alliance between past and present: it was inspired by a pocket watch imagined during the Age of Enlightenment, where the display of hours and minutes at 11 o'clock overlapped with that of seconds at 6 o'clock.
Iconic models, a 300-year bridge
The Grande Seconde leaves its mark on the world of luxury watchmaking for another reason. It resurrects the art of Grand Feu enameling, which becomes one of the codes of the new generation House. With it, Jaquet Droz produces unalterable watches, whose enamel preserves their beauty and brilliance indefinitely.
"Relying on the subtle interaction of ultrafine powders and precision ovens, our master dial makers are the sole custodians of the formula that yields these magnificent dials, whose color and grain are absolutely unique."
Through its aesthetics, the Grande Seconde still inscribes elegance, but also poetry, into the identity of the 21st century Maison Jaquet Droz. They are found in the Pocket Watch launched in 2008, which takes up a model created in 1785, but also in The Eclipse of 2010, a timepiece with eight stars and an engraved moon that reaffirms the Swiss watchmakers' passion for the decorative arts.
Poetry, innovation and... the number 8 as a symbol and good luck charm, the expertise of the House of Jaquet Droz in mechanisms definitely inscribes it in the circle of exceptional watchmakers. In 2015, the Lady 8 Flower animated a blooming lotus flower, when the Grande Seconde Deadbeat brought the deadbeat second, a rare complication and a masterpiece of precision watchmaking, back into fashion.
Between new models and collection extensions, the Swiss company continues to pursue its path of technicality and innovation, poetry and emotion. In 2017, the art and fine watchmaking workshops take up the challenge of the Tropical Bird Repeater. This unique watch is an exotic painting, with its hand-decorated automata by engravers and miniature painters.