Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel

Angus Davies reviews the breathtakingly beautiful Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel, recently launched at Baselworld 2014. This watch features a grand-feu enamel dial and wonderfully finished movement.

This details review of the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel includes live images and specification details.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

My romance with Jaquet Droz commenced several years ago, before the company’s handsome watches returned to my native England. Jaquet Droz had a presence in London in the 18th century, but was absent from Angleterre during the 20th century and has only returned to the English capital in the last couple of years.

I recall travelling to Switzerland a few years ago and spending an inordinate amount of time gazing in a jeweller’s window, admiring a selection of Jaquet Droz models. A love affair ensued. My affection for the unusually styled watches has never waned, but grown in magnitude.

Whilst I adore many watches from a plethora of brands, on occasion, I concede that many look similar. However, Jaquet Droz offer watches with a unique aesthetic unlike anything else on the market.

Recently, I visited the company’s atelier on the outskirts of La Chaux-de-Fonds, to view a watch I have had my eye on since it was launched at Baselworld 2014. The Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel is the very embodiment of elegance and grace. Its parentage is without question, it could only be a child of the Jaquet Droz workshops, where magnificent horological creations come into the world.

The Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel is new, but instantly familiar. It harnesses several design codes synonymous with the brand, which in the 18th century created automata and pocket watches.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Whilst visiting Jaquet Droz, I came across this beautiful pocket watch.

I spoke to the company and learned the watch had come into their possession after meeting a collector who had a pocket watch with an old and very rare signed Jaquet Droz movement.

When Jaquet Droz took possession of the watch it was encased in a contemporary case. However, Jaquet Droz lovingly rebuilt the watch from scratch, crafting a new case and dial, creating a timepiece that respectfully captures the appearance of a Jaquet Droz 18th century pocket watch. The result is gorgeous to behold.

The dial

The nomenclature of this watch immediately identifies the dial colour. The named hue has a delicious creamy quality, courtesy of grand feu enamelling, and exudes a classical, luxurious air.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Occupying the upper area of the dial is an hour and minutes display, off-centre and biased to the northern aspect of the ivory canvas. Gold lancine shaped hands tastefully communicate the prevailing time with seemly conduct. Roman numerals impart the hours and are encircled with a matching black minute rail.

A larger display, positioned to the lower portion of the dial, partially overlaps the hour and minutes display. It is a key point of differentiation from other competing watches, bestowing a breathtaking individuality which is very endearing. However, a notable attribute of Jaquet Droz is that originality does not necessitate garish design or unreadable dials. Everything is distinct but cohesive, with ease of read-off evident within the first few nano-seconds of association.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

At the heart of the lower dial display is an ivory disc which sits lower than the surrounding dial surface. It features a date display with a red-tipped gold hand pointing to the relevant value. It is the execution of the dial which is truly exceptional. The contrasting depths of the dial deliver a matchless, three dimensional quality delighting with its original mien.

Encircling the lower dial display, Arabic numerals and a black minute track collaborate with a long, slender Grande Seconde hand reminiscent of the company’s traditional pocket watches.

The dial is simple to read but equally exudes boundless style. Moreover, the scale of the dial on the 43mm model provides large areas of pure white enamel, allowing the indicated functions room to breathe. It is simply wonderful.

The case

Would-be buyers have a choice of 39mm and 43mm case options. The latter would be my model of choice, purely as a result of my larger than average physical stature. The visual difference between the two models is negligible.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The red gold case charmingly contrasts with the ivory dial. It exhibits a palpable sense of luxury but at no point appears outré or garish. This model successfully blends opulence and restraint with tasteful aplomb.

The crown may at first seem large, but it does not impinge on hand movement or gouge the wrist. Its size and fluted profile confer ease of adjustment and, in keeping with other components, has been distilled to perfection.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Adorning the caseback is a large sapphire crystal allowing ambient light to refract off the finely executed anglage on the movement bridges.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The movement

The Jaquet Droz 2660Q2.P is a self-winding movement made for the brand by its sister-company, Manufacture Blancpain.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The movement includes some cutting-edge know-how, including a silicon balance spring. This glass-like material delivers some notable benefits. It is non-magnetic, making it ideal for use within a wristwatch. However, Jaquet Droz has not eschewed traditional Swiss craftsmanship synonymous with haute horlogerie.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The mainplate is adorned with perlage and the wheels are circular grained. This is a wonderful exemplar of expert finishing. However, there are two specific areas of the movement which captivate me.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Firstly, I adore the open-worked oscillating mass presented in red gold. It looks magnificent, but also helps to deliver an impressive power reserve, in collaboration with twin barrels, of 68 hours.

Secondly, the bridges are adorned with fan shaped Côtes de Genève decoration and feature sublime anglage. Each bevelled edge interfaces with light and looks flawless. The finissage of this movement is superb.

Closing remarks

Jaquet Droz watches feature an extraordinary aesthetic which I find most engaging. The grand feu dials are difficult to produce, but the outcome is beautiful. The iconic arrangement of the upper and lower dials which interface to form a number “8”, is almost balletic in its beauty.

The Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel is a new watch and in 43mm form is firmly on my “bucket list” of watches I wish to own before I die. It harnesses both cutting-edge know how with its silicon balance spring, but equally respects tradition.

I referred to this new watch as appearing “familiar”. I don’t use the term to mean it lacks originality, quite the contrary, this watch features much innovation. I describe this watch as having a “reassuring familiarity”, similar to a favourite food, a preferred holiday destination or a comfortable pair of shoes. It just feels right, sitting perfectly at ease on the wrist. I have a profound love for this model and I suspect this will endure for many decades to come.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantiéme Ivory Enamel
  • Reference: J007033200
  • Case: Red Gold; diameter 43.00 mm; height 12.21 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; large seconds; date.
  • Movement: Jaquet Droz 2660Q2.P, self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 30 jewels; Power reserve 68 hours.
  • Strap: Rolled-edge hand-made alligator leather strap presented on a red gold pin buckle.

Related Links