Chinese New Year: Jaquet Droz dedicates six exclusive creations to the Tiger
Jaquet Droz celebrates Chinese New Year for the first time with six unique pieces that pair together, each one taking an artistic approach to represent the Tiger’s iconic attributes.
Extra exclusive, rare and precious. These three characteristics perfectly describe the three pairings that Jaquet Droz is dedicating to the Chinese New Year and the Tiger that represents it. Each of these compositions features the legendary animal portrayed differently and uses different symbolism and techniques to demonstrate the quintessence of Jaquet Droz's Ateliers d’Art and to allude to the brand’s personal history – for over two centuries, it has been renowned for its duo watches. The duo watches were developed in particular for the Chinese Empire where the brand was, from 1774, one of the most important Swiss watchmaking houses (600 pieces sold in 10 years, including a large number to the Emperor himself).
A few weeks ago, an auction confirmed the heritage value of the duo watches, sold for five times their initial estimate. The two pieces that were sold came from the same batch as those intended for the Emperor of China 250 years ago.
The unparalleled art of the automaton
In the first set, the two pieces embody the iconic expertise of the Jaquet Droz art of the automaton. A tiger nestles in the gentle curves of a gold-rimmed onyx dial, above a vast expanse of water made of opal in which a carp floats about. In the first piece, the Tiger dozes on a bed of foliage, seeming to want to touch the carp circling him with the tip of his paw. In the second, the Tiger stands, on the lookout – not for the carp, with who he lives in harmony, but instead surveying his environment for prey of which he is one of the most feared hunters.
These two naturalistic scenes, in the purest Jaquet Droz spirit, unfold above a dial in Australian opal, from the Sanskrit “upala,” meaning “precious stone.” It is also one of the most difficult stones to work with to achieve the extreme finesse required by a mobile dial, onto which the gold motifs of the Tiger and its environment are applied.
Power & Protection
The next set features two cases, in red gold and white gold, the latter set with 143 baguette-cut diamonds. On the same Australian opal background, this 41 mm Petite Heure Minute Relief depicts the Tiger's two sides: power and protection, a dual symbol of the Tiger’s value and virtue.
In each piece, the Tiger is depicted from the front – strong, powerful and imposing. His coat seems to vanish in the reflections of the opal, an optical illusion of great artistic finesse that alone requires a month of work. The gold oscillating weight in each movement is adorned with an opal insert and engraved with a roaring Tiger. Paired with the relaxed Tiger on the dial side, the set truly represents the Tiger’s two sides.
Gold and enamel duo
The final set of pieces is the most contrasting and enigmatic. Within the same cases (41 mm, set white gold or red gold, hour dial in onyx), we discover two complementary interpretations of the Tiger. On the same background made of “Heure Bleue” Grand Feu enamel, the set mirrors that fleeting moment that separates dogs from wolves, with the sky adorned with a gradation of blue drawn from the clarity of day and the deep black of night. On one side, a finely chiseled Tiger in white gold, on the lookout, in its atavistic pose of a hunter. Like a mirror reflection, on the other side, the red gold feline stretches out, calm and relaxed. By combining engraving and micro-sculpture, gold and enamel, Jaquet Droz succeeds in creating a hyper-realistic rendering of the Tiger and its reflection. In terms of the movement, an oscillating weight in gold and onyx reveals a Tiger dozing in the foliage.”