Jaquet Droz The Twelve Cities Ivory Enamel

Angus Davies provides an in-depth review of the Jaquet Droz The Twelve Cities Ivory Enamel. This charming watch combines a jumping hours display with an ingenious and user-friendly time indication for 12 cities around the globe.

This detailed review of the Jaquet Droz The Twelve Cities Ivory Enamel includes live images and specification details.

Jaquet Droz The Twelve Cities Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

I adore complicated watches. A chronograph, a GMT and annual calendar are wonderful. Indeed every complication appeals to me, including incredibly complex minute repeaters and tourbillons. Beyond merely showing the hours and minutes, a watch which displays additional indications, not only offers greater functionality, but often examples incredible watchmaking prowess.

However, a potential drawback of complicated watches is that they can sometimes lead to a cluttered dial, impairing the ease of interpretation with a plethora of detail which sometimes proves challenging to interpret. In this instance, Jaquet Droz has produced a watch which delivers additional information in a simple to interpret visage, the Jaquet Droz The Twelve Cities Ivory Enamel.

In the last few weeks I have visited Paris a few times and, on one such occasion, chose to visit the Jaquet Droz Boutique on the city’s prestigious Rue de la Paix. Whilst surveying the numerous horological delights gracing the display cabinets of the sumptuously appointed store, my eyes happened to fall upon the Jaquet Droz The Twelve Cities Ivory Enamel. On hearing the name, I was reminded of Charles Dickens’ famous novel, A Tale of Two Cities. However, where the famous English novelist cited the plight of the French peasantry in his fictional work, I found much joy to write about in the French capital.

The dial

The ivory coloured dial is an aspect in common with several other Jaquet Droz models and often attracts me, when positioned against alternatively hued siblings. Whilst I like the purity of a brilliant white dial evincing a chaste temperament, there is something very attractive about ivory.

Jaquet Droz The Twelve Cities Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Indeed, ivory, in my opinion, personifies experience. It is a colour which has witnessed time, like the keys of an old piano. It is a tincture that has matured with advancing years. It does not boast or shout, but gently observes its surroundings. Ivory is often the foil to a more dominant shade, such as the ebony keys of said piano, pushing to the front, inviting attention and demanding to be touched. However, as any competent pianist will attest, the ivory keys may be more reserved, but they share equal importance.

Jaquet Droz has expertly paired ivory and the widow’s favourite shade, clearly conveying the pertinent information. A sole golden lacine hand circumnavigates the dial and imparts the prevailing minute against a series of Arabic numerals and small black dots. The brevity of its dialogue is simple to interpret and charming to behold.

However, the seemingly lonely hand, secretly collaborates with the jumping hour display, revealed via an aperture, positioned below noon. The framed Arabic numerals deliver the current hour in a succinct and simple to interpret form. The numerals feature serifs, aiding interpretation and reaffirming the traditional persona of this stylish watch.

At 2 o’clock, a push-piece advances a city disk, revealed via the aperture at 6 o’clock. This is not a worldtimer which presents 24 locations around a dial, the Jaquet Droz The Twelve Cities Ivory Enamel reveals only half the number of places. However, the advantage conferred with the Jaquet Droz approach is a clean, uncluttered display.

The case

The 18-carat red gold case measures 43mm in diameter and has a case height of 12.25mm. I found its proportions, together with its lugs, which arc downwards, accorded a very comfortable fit.

Jaquet Droz The Twelve Cities Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

All surfaces are highly polished, providing an interesting contradistinction with the coy demeanour of the hour and city displays.

The crown resembles a bloom flower, reaching outwards with increasing width. It is delightfully adorned with a discreet knurled motif which remains simple to grip, granting ease of adjustment. Gracing its vertical flank, the brand’s logo of two stars completes the specification.

Jaquet Droz The Twelve Cities Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

An exhibition case back embellishes the rear of the watch, allowing the wearer to view the movement within.

Jaquet Droz The Twelve Cities Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Seldom do leather straps merit discussion, but the “rolled-edge, hand-made black alligator” item attached to the case of the Jaquet Droz The Twelve Cities Ivory Enamel has a readily discernible sense of luxury. A matching 18-carat red gold pin buckle, adorned with the brand’s nomenclature, completes the elegant ensemble.

The movement

The Jaquet Droz 5153 is a self-winding movement, crafted to an elevated standard. One glance at its exquisite form reveals a world of high-end watchmaking and no compromise construction.

Jaquet Droz The Twelve Cities Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Jaquet Droz The Twelve Cities Ivory Enamel - in-depth watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The oscillating mass made of 22-carat white gold and features a fluted motif consisting of fine lines radiating from the fulcrum of the rotor. The bridges below are decorated with Côtes de Genève, expertly executed. The lines are beautifully defined and the bevelled edges deliver a contrasting brilliance.

Beyond the exalted finissage is a high specification which includes twin barrels, providing an impressive power reserve of 68 hours.

Closing remarks

The Jaquet Droz The Twelve Cities Ivory Enamel bestows a unique mien, different from any other watch I can readily call to mind. It is highly functional, yet simple to use and converses with the wearer with welcome brevity.

Beyond its exquisite appearance, there is much mechanical virtue to this Jaquet Droz timepiece, which demands respect. This watch delivers an artistic depiction of time, imbued with delightful details and is distilled to a very high standard.

However, unlike Charles Dickens’ famous novel, there is nothing fictitious about this watch. Indeed, whilst its beauty seems almost magical, its virtue is very real.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Jaquet Droz The Twelve Cities Ivory Enamel
  • Reference: J010133209
  • Case: 18-carat red gold; diameter 43.00 mm; height 12.25 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Jumping hours; minutes; 12 cities through an aperture at 6 o’clock.
  • Movement: Jaquet Droz 5153, self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 28 jewels; Power reserve 68 hours.
  • Strap: Black rolled-edge hand-made alligator leather strap presented on a 18-carat red gold pin buckle.

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