Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Moon Ivory Enamel
The Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Moon Ivory Enamel perpetuates the Swiss watch marque’s reputation for making pulchritudinous timepieces rich in mechanical virtue. Angus Davies explores this magical watch, discovering a lucid dial, sumptuous case and matchless movement finishing.
Image – Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Moon Black Enamel
In the fairy tale ‘Cinderella’, the lead character is depicted as a beautiful young woman, blessed with a caring nature. Likewise, her stepsisters are portrayed as evil and ugly. From an early age we learn to distinguish between an attractive face and those individuals with an ill-favoured appearance.
When it comes to the world of fine watchmaking, there are some timepieces blessed with a prepossessing beauty and some which should only leave the confines of a box in the dark of night.
Jaquet Droz is one brand which never seems to get it wrong. Each reference has been smiled upon by the horological gods and exhibits a notably handsome appearance. Recently, I fell under the spell of the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Moon Ivory Enamel, a glorious watch housed in a 18-carat white gold case. Its dial is beautifully appointed and includes a gorgeous expanse of grand feu enamel. However, beyond the chaste appearance of the dial, there are many other qualities which make this watch worthy of discussion.
The Swiss Maison offers the Grande Seconde Moon in a choice of dial colours and case materials. I am especially drawn to this white gold option with its softly spoken ivory enamel dial.
Enamel comprises of silica, soda and red lead. These ingredients are blended with other materials, often undisclosed, to form a powder. This is subsequently applied to a dial, often made of brass, and heated to temperatures in excess of 800°C. Thereafter, it is allowed to cool. This process is repeated several times in order to achieve the desired look. Unfortunately, the nature of this technique can lead to unsightly bubbles or cracks appearing on the dial surface. These imperfect dials are discarded as only absolute perfection is deemed acceptable.
Clearly, grand feu enamel is a protracted technique, attracting commensurate pricing, however, one glimpse at the resultant finish justifies the expense. A key attribute of a grand feu dial is that its surface retains its factory-fresh appearance forever, showing no signs of ageing with the passage of time.
A reoccurring theme with many Jaquet Droz models, but not all, is the stylised ‘figure of 8 dial’. The Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Moon Ivory Enamel proves no exception to this house style.
The hours and minutes are depicted on an off-centre display. Blued lancine-shaped hands converse with Roman numerals, imparting time clearly, despite the comparatively small scale of the display. A Chemin de fer frames the hour and minutes display, aiding read-off and providing a tasteful means of delineating the area.
A second subdial is positioned in the lower portion of the main dial area. A large format moon-phase indication sits at the heart of the subdial, pairing a depiction of a blue nocturnal sky with a glinting, silver-toned moon and sparkling stars. Jaquet Droz has expended much effort equipping the moon’s surface with a becoming, rich texture. Prolonged scrutiny of this indication reveals that this watch has not been conceived in haste.
Two slender, thermally-blued hands circumnavigate the subdial. These comprise of a small seconds hand and a red-tipped hand indicating the prevailing date. The luxury marque has chosen to depict the date values on a circular brushed, angled track which sits adjacent to a flat seconds track. Similar to the hour and minutes display, the lower subdial is framed with a railway track.
Despite the dial of the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Moon Ivory Enamel being endowed with several functions, each indication proves simple to read. Furthermore, there is a wonderful sense of cohesion to the dial ensemble with each element synergistically contributing to the overall allure of the design.
Over the years, I have admired several Jaquet Droz models, some of which have been housed in warm 18-carat red gold. However, I must confess that the white gold case of this version is beautiful and understated. It plays a deferential role to the dial adjacent, causing each indication to come to the fore.
The 43mm case provides a generously sized canvas for the artistic depiction of time. Personally, I found the dimensions of the case to be perfect, however, the brand does offer a smaller 39mm case option for those wearers who prefer diminutive proportions.
Exploring each facet of the case reveals a palpable degree of luxury. The underside of the lugs project downwards, coaxing the strap to encircle the wrist. Each facet of this case is refined to the nth degree.
The Jaquet Droz 2660QL3 is a self-winding movement, visible via the exhibition caseback. It is exquisitely presented with an openworked 18-carat white gold oscillating weight. The bridges are adorned with Côtes de Genève rayonnantes and sport gleaming bevels. The jewel and screw sinks are highly polished as fine watchmaking etiquette dictates.
Image – Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Moon Black Enamel
Two barrels collaborate, delivering an impressive 68 hours of autonomous operation. The movement incorporates 30 jewels and the balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz).
While Jaquet Droz has upheld traditional finishing techniques it has also embraced modernity. The cutting-edge silicon hairspring is not subject to corrosion, nor is it adversely troubled by magnetism. In addition, the pallet horns are also made of silicon.
As the Swiss brand has shown, style and functionality don’t need to be mutually exclusive. The Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Moon Ivory Enamel proffers both legibility and artisanal charm. Moreover, its sumptuously appointed gold case and flawless movement finishing further heighten its prodigious allure.
While this watch is endowed with a beauty often only found in fairy tales, it is clearly no exemplar of fiction. Its magical qualities are destined to endure well beyond the midnight hour, conferring an abundance of enchantment for years to come.
- Model: Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Moon Ivory Enamel
- Reference: J007534200
- Case: 18-carat white gold; diameter 43mm; water resistance 3ATM (30 metres) sapphire crystals to the front and back
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; pointer date; moon-phase indication
- Movement: Jaquet Droz 2660QL3; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 30 jewels; power reserve 68 hours
- Strap: Black rolled-edge, alligator strap paired with an 18-carat white gold pin buckle
- Price: £29,500 (RRP as at 19.8.2019)