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Jaquet Droz Chinese zodiac sign of the Ox collection

The Jaquet Droz Chinese zodiac sign of the Ox collection comprises four models, each encompassing artistic crafts such as miniature painting, hand-engraving and gem-setting. The Swiss brand has enjoyed a long relationship with China, dating back to 1774 when Pierre Jaquet-Droz sent automata and watches to the Qianlong Emperor (1711-1799), the fifth Emperor of the Qing dynasty.Jaquet Droz Chinese zodiac sign of the Ox

Pierre Jaquet-Droz was born in 1721 on a small farm in La Chaux de Fonds. From the age of 17 until he reached 26, he focussed solely on clockmaking. His work became increasingly more sophisticated. In 1758, he travelled to Spain taking six clocks with him, ultimately presenting them to the King of Spain. These clocks were incredibly complex with some equipped with chiming mechanisms. In effect, Spain was Pierre Jaquet-Droz’s first export market. He would go on to make automata (from 1759) which attracted new patrons in additional markets.

In 1774, Pierre established a workshop in London, a location which allowed him to utilise established trade routes with China, India and Japan. Pierre’s work became very popular with the Qianlong Emperor, the fifth Emperor of the Qing dynasty. The Emperor was fascinated by European automata and watches. Today, China continues to remain an important market for the Swiss brand. This is manifest with the firm repeatedly creating models that celebrate the Chinese New Year.

The Swiss marque has recently unveiled the Jaquet Droz Chinese zodiac sign of the Ox collection, comprised of four models, each encompassing various artistic crafts. Two Petite Heure Minute watches are endowed with miniature painted dials. The 35mm ladies’ model features a gem-set bezel and lugs, while the larger 41mm shuns precious stones but does include a hand-engraved 18-carat openworked oscillating weight, visible via the exhibition caseback.

The remaining two models, each measuring 41mm in diameter, feature relief engraving, one in a white gold case and a second in red gold. Each option includes a depiction of an ox in matching gold set against a black onyx background. The engravings are performed with deft use of hand, employing a burin and a suitable holder. Patience is essential as there is little margin for error. Similar to the 18th century, when Switzerland was the primary source of automata and watches, the land-locked nation remains a centre for Haute Horlogerie creations imbued with artistic crafts.

Jaquet Droz Chinese zodiac sign of the OxThe Swiss marque has recently unveiled the Jaquet Droz Chinese zodiac sign of the Ox collection, comprised of four models, each encompassing various artistic crafts. Two Petite Heure Minute watches are endowed with miniature painted dials. The 35mm ladies’ model features a gem-set bezel and lugs, while the larger 41mm shuns precious stones but does include a hand-engraved 18-carat openworked oscillating weight, visible via the exhibition caseback.

The remaining two models, each measuring 41mm in diameter, feature relief engraving, one in a white gold case and a second in red gold. Each option includes a depiction of an ox in matching gold set against a black onyx background. The engravings are performed with deft use of hand, employing a burin and a suitable holder. Patience is essential as there is little margin for error. Similar to the 18th century, when Switzerland was the primary source of automata and watches, the land-locked nation remains a centre for Haute Horlogerie creations imbued with artistic crafts.

The brand’s press release

There are some traditions that Jaquet Droz always observes; one of the most treasured being a tribute to the Chinese zodiac. The connection to China has been a part of the brand’s DNA for centuries. The Jaquet-Droz family began fostering relations with the imperial court as early as 1774. Over a decade, the Jaquet-Droz family exported over 600 pieces to China, much to the fascination of the Qianlong Emperor and the imperial court mandarins, who could not get enough of their mechanical automaton watches. This qualified Jaquet Droz as the first watchmaking brand imported into the Forbidden City. Numerous Jaquet Droz automatons and pocket watches are still preserved to this day in the imperial Palace Museum.

Jaquet Droz Chinese zodiac sign of the Ox

Nearly 250 years later, the Maison is still headquartered in La Chaux-de-Fonds and is honoured to be carrying on this longtime Sino-Swiss friendship with a tribute to the zodiac sign for the 2021 Chinese New Year: the ox.

Jaquet Droz Chinese zodiac sign of the Ox

Legend has it that the Jade Emperor chose the animals in the 12-year zodiac cycle based on a race. The ox is portrayed carrying a rat on its back, which is ultimately how the rat won the race.

Jaquet Droz Chinese zodiac sign of the Ox

Since then, the ox has represented attributes like perseverance and reliability — the same values that unite China and Jaquet Droz. The ox has a reputation for staying the course in the face of adversity, powering through and remaining rational. With strong calm and persistence, children born under the sign of the ox are known for their honest and hard work. For women, the ox symbolizes perseverance and the importance of education and keeping the family together.

Jaquet Droz Chinese zodiac sign of the Ox

Each animal of the zodiac is traditionally connected with an element. This year it is metal. Combined with the ox, metal serves to heighten its qualities as well as its ability to do everything in its power to attain goals and achieve dreams.

Jaquet Droz believes gold is the only metal worthy of the ox. There are three pieces in red gold and one in white gold. The Maison selected two distinctive artisanal techniques to represent the new zodiac sign. First, miniature painting, which appears on two 35 mm x 41 mm timepieces with a majestically peaceful ox against a background of mist-covered mountains. A handpainted and softly serene pastoral scene. This pair of Petite Heure Minute watches provide an ample canvas for micro-painting, both in a 35 mm ladies’ version with a gem-set bezel and lugs, and a 41 mm version without gems. As for the case-back, the first one’s oscillating weight is personalized with a red gold appliqué. The second one has an 18-karat open-worked rotor that is hand-engraved.

The other two feature relief engraving, an artisanal technique cherished by Jaquet Droz. This method is used to create an ox that literally seems to be coming out of the dial as it calmly saunters on to the pitch-black onyx face towards a gold plum tree with red ruby blossoms. The plum tree symbolizes the harmony between humans and nature, the earth and the sky. Rubies stand for bravery and victory, values close to the ox’s heart. The stunning raised tableau is made possible by hand-engraved gold appliqué on these two 41 mm Petite Heure Minutes hour rings. One is crafted in red gold and the other in white gold with a gem-set bezel and lugs. Like on the dials, the Ateliers d’Art also engraved the oscillating weights with the head of an ox on an onyx background.

Each of these four handcrafted compositions are exclusively being released in a series of eight. A continuation of the age-old Sino-Swiss friendship and the Art of Astonishment that has lasted over 250 years.

Further reading

https://www.jaquet-droz.com/

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