There are techniques that border on the sublime, particularly when they fully capture the sheer magic of time. Take, for example, those employed by the craftsmen of the Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art, masters in the art of paillonné enameling. This decorative technique, passed down by Renaissance goldsmiths, had its heyday in the 18th century, its exquisitely meticulous execution marrying the beauty of history with the promise of the present. Applied individually by hand on the Grand Feu enamel of the dial, the fragile gold elements create kaleidoscopic patterns of hypnotic beauty, which are then fixed with a layer of translucent enamel. The result of this controlled mastery of fire, color and creative fragility is set by the extreme temperatures of the kilns: paillonné enameling produces masterpieces in which not even the slightest imperfection can be tolerated.
This year, six iconic models have been decorated using this exceptional technique, bringing together historic paillons and modern creations including the bird, which was so dear to the brand's founder, Pierre Jaquet-Droz. A model particularly beloved of the artists who worked with Jaquet Droz, the Petite Heure Minute celebrates the richness of blue and red enamel in a broader range of executions measuring 35, 39 and 43 mm. The Grande Seconde is available in a version with a dial decorated with blue Grand Feu enamel, beautifully set off by the brilliance of the paillons and the 43-mm diameter gold case. An exceptional tourbillon, an ingenious complication that compensates for the effects of gravity, is housed in the seconds dial of one, while a pocket watch, which affords a precious insight into the standards of elegance in the 19th century, adds to the magic of this collection.
As rare as they are iconic, these new models effortlessly combine the colors that Jaquet Droz has made its own since the Enlightenment: the purest blue ever and deep red of the dial, and the luminous azure of the hands, complemented by the rich lustre of the rolled-edge hand-made alligator straps. All equipped with a silicon escapement movement (except for the pocket watch), these watches – eight of which have been produced in each version and engraved with an individual number – convey the characteristic Jaquet Droz style: pure refinement to capture the magic of time.
“Some watches tell time, some tell a story”
Jaquet Droz is writing a new chapter in its special relationship with China. The grand opening of the Xi’an boutique on July 6th thus solidifies a history that the Jaquet-Droz family first began to write 280 years ago.
From its first designs almost three centuries ago to its most recent developments, the legacy inherited from Pierre Jaquet-Droz has stayed true to the core values of the brand's founder: a pared-down aesthetic, audacity of style, and creativity in the mechanisms. And the Petite Heure Minute Smalta Clara presented on the occasion of the brand’s 280th anniversary is no exception.
It has been the turn of the Thai capital, Bangkok, to welcome the Jaquet Droz Basel Novelties with the presence of the Vice President and Head of International Sales, Mr. Aellen.
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