Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel

Angus Davies reviews the new contemporary Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel, recently launched at Baselworld 2014. This watch features a clean dial, adorned with Côtes de Genève motif and bestows a sense of order which appeals to this sufferer of OCD.

This detailed review of the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel includes live images and specification details.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

I like queues. It is a trait I share with many of my compatriots. They establish a sense of order, a system that everyone can understand.

A queue can deliver a sense of anticipation. It represents the prelude to an event and heightens expectation.

As a child, I was no stranger to a calorific diet. Whilst some pupils adored teachers, I loved the “dinner ladies”. These catering professionals ranked as some of the most important women in my life during my school years. A physically precocious pre-pubescent child with behemoth thighs, I would stand in line and salivate at the prospect of eating chocolate sponge pudding with mint green custard.

No doubt Freud would attribute my predilection for standing in an orderly fashion, waiting in turn, as formative behaviour that has indelibly shaped my psyche.

Today, I suffer Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). In my case it manifests itself with an obsession for checking that doors are locked and switches are turned off. In addition, and perhaps more tellingly, I obsess about patterns, lines and order.

Sat in front of a coffee table at a friend’s house, I will invariably arrange table mats, drink coasters, anything else that comes to hand, in a series of geometric patterns. It is not a deliberate act, something subconsciously makes me do it. Indeed, it is only after someone points out the ordered rows of magazines and photo frames that I become aware of yet another “episode”.

However, I don’t feel OCD is a disability or in any way inhibits my daily life, in fact, I would suggest that having OCD is an advantage in my profession. An obsessive eye for detail suitably serves my discriminating occupational role.

An aspect of queues I adore is the orderly arrangement of bodies in harmonious lines. Whilst attending Baselworld 2014, it was this fondness for lines which led to an immediate affection for the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel. It was definitely love at first sight.

The dial features parallel lines of Côtes de Genève motif running north to south. The brand offers this model in two case sizes, 41mm and 45mm, and provides a choice of three dial colours, blue, grey and dark grey. It is the 45mm dark grey option which is my favourite and for this reason I have selected it as the focus of this review.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The dial

Côtes de Genève is a pattern typically restricted to the decoration of bridges and, in some cases, the oscillating mass of a self-winding watch. It is a motif I particularly appreciate and when it is executed to a high standard, it confers much eye-appeal.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Interestingly, Jaquet Droz has recognised that for some watch collectors, myself included, the sight of the motif on the dial provides a comely canvas on which to express time.

The Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel retains some familiar design traits of the classically designed Jaquet Droz models, judiciously harnessed within a contemporary watch to sublime effect. The two overlapping off-centre dials, synonymous with the brand, feature in sublime union. They confer a charming balance which, once again, sates my obsession for order.

The upper dial is smaller in scale than its adjacent sibling, displaying hours and minutes with open-worked hands. The tips of each hand are filled with SuperLumiNova and interface with Roman numerals encircling the dial, save for the southerly region which defers to the Arabic numerals of the large seconds subdial.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

This large seconds subdial provides a refreshing alternative to other timepieces on the market and is charmingcourtesy of its long slender hand with its elongated counterweight.

Spanning the dial surface, two steel plates sit either side of the interfacing subdials. Their brushed surface adopts the north to south orientation of the aforementioned Côtes de Genève motif. The presence of these two sections of steel enhances the whole dial ensemble and creates further interest without making the dial appear unduly fussy.

The dial is supremely legible but delivers copious quantities of aesthetic charm. It is stunning.

The case

Measuring 45mm in diameter, the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel delivers a substantial dial area contributing to the elevated clarity of the dial display. I found the scale of the case perfectly suited my wrist, however those of more diminutive build may well favour the smaller 41mm option.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The steel case coalesces with the dark grey dial wonderfully. All surfaces of the case are highly polished, save for the crown guard and matching bezel detail positioned at 9 o’clock; these are vertical satin-brushed. This small departure augments the overall aesthetic appeal of the watch, slightly tempering the appearance of the polished surfaces.

Jaquet Droz always seems to have an adept understanding of design which sets it apart from many other brands and this is perfectly illustrated with the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel.

The crimped edge of the bezel creates small pockets of shade, once again, slightly moderating the boldness of the polished surfaces.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Even something as seemingly minor as the crown design has not escaped the scrutiny of the brand. It delivers a delightful tactility, courtesy of a rubber cast encircling the crown. Jaquet Droz has expended much time on the smallest of details and everything synergistically combines to deliver a pleasing artistic composition.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Adorning the case back is a sapphire crystal which accords a view of the movement within.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The movement

The Jaquet Droz 2663A-S self winding movement is beautiful. The 18-carat white gold oscillating mass is open-worked, allowing a view of the micro-mechanics beneath. The bridges are traditionally decorated with Côtes de Genève but feature ruthenium treatment, adding a touch of modernity.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

In particular, I appreciate the sight of some of the gear train with the circular grained wheels readily disclosed, reinforcing the sense of quality.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

However, the movement is not just gorgeous to look at. It also features some notable functionality to its specification, such as the twin barrels that deliver an impressive power reserve of 68 hours.

Indeed, there is much to praise about this movement.

Closing remarks

Jaquet Droz is on my expansive list of watch brands I want to own. I revere the design language of its models which exhibit individuality fused with elegance. The biggest problem with Jaquet Droz is being spoilt for choice with its vast array of models, all justifying intimate union.

The brand, by ingeniously depicting Côtes de Genève on the dial, has imparted the display with a beguiling depth that arrests attention and seduces the heart. Quite simply, this watch is drop-dead gorgeous.

Perhaps I should be prescribed this watch on medical grounds because I find its seemly appearance, with its palpable sense of order, bestows calm and cathartically distracts me from any chaos in my midst.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel
  • Reference: J029030245
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 45.00 mm; height 11.93 mm; water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; large seconds.
  • Movement: Jaquet Droz 2663A-S, 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 stainless steel folding clasp.

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