From June 21st to June 24th, Tsutaya Books welcomed the exhibition of the 280th anniversary of Jaquet Droz, illustrated by its new releases for 2018 as well as by two exceptional creations: the “Parrot Repeater Pocket Watch,” a unique piece, and “The Signing Machine.”
Following in the footsteps of its illustrious founder, Pierre Jaquet-Droz (1721 – 1790), the brand is traveling the world to present its creations to its most important collectors.
This long journey celebrated the 280th anniversary of the house of Jaquet Droz. Entitled “Story of the Unique,” it has already made five stops (Hong Kong, Milan, Zürich, Macao and Lisbon), detailing the exhibition’s three major themes: Ateliers d’Art, Automatons and Grande Seconde. Last week, it took up residence at the famous Tsutaya Books bookstore, on the sixth floor of Ginza Six, in the vicinity of the permanent Jaquet Droz boutique in Tokyo.
The choice of the Tsutaya Books bookstore was no accident. Ever since the brand adopted the motto “Some watches tell time, some tell a story”, its relationship with time, like with its customers, has been written like the chapters of a book, following a narration that covers not only contemporary creations by Jaquet Droz but also its 280 years of history. The design of the event at Tsutaya Books is centered around the presence of a life-size open book, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in one of the most fascinating stories in watchmaking.
Accompanying this journey through time, Christian Lattmann (CEO of Jaquet Droz) and Christophe Savioz (President and Chief Representative of Swatch Group Japan) were the hosts of the exhibition that opened on June 21st. For the occasion, Jaquet Droz also had an artist from its Ateliers d’Art come to give attendees an exclusive demonstration of the infinite refinement of miniature dial painting. The exhibition itself saw the brand from the La Chaux-de-Fonds exhibiting most of its 2018 new releases, some appearing in Japan for the very first time. Two other pieces have been also specially presented. The first has been the Parrot Repeater Pocket Watch, a unique timepiece (Numerus Clausus 1/1) that has the particularity of bringing together every existing craft at Jaquet Droz – both watchmaking crafts and métiers d’art (enameling, engraving, miniature painting, gem-setting, etc.). This masterpiece – one of the brand’s most ambitious creations and rarely shown in exhibition – takes the long tradition of automatons to new technical, creative and artistic horizons.
The second piece, The Signing Machine, is also a continuation of the legacy of Pierre Jaquet-Droz: to create mechanical wonders, able to copy the living with a mastery of magic and mystery. This new automaton, the result of four years of research and development, is an exceptional work of mechanics that, with 585 components assembled and finished by hand, is able to reproduce with unparalleled fluidity the signature of the human hand – the signature of a single person, manually coded by the brand’s artisans.
Along with the 2018 new releases, including the emblematic Grande Seconde Skelet-One and the delicate and feminine Lady 8 Petite, these two pieces brilliantly mark the 280th anniversary of Jaquet Droz. In honor of the occasion, the brand welcomed a Kabuki performance, (a 1600 year-old epic form of traditional Japanese theater) a form of traditional Japanese theater dating back to around the 1600s, during the grand opening. The performance was done by Ichikawa Udanji, the famed Kabuki actor from Osaka, thus combining Swiss and local arts to envision a shared future faithful to its origins.
“Some watches tell time, some tell a story”
A warmed up stage, a drum kit, a few guitars and a harmonica: “It’s only rock’n’roll!” Today, Jaquet Droz unveils the first out of the 23 unique timepieces to retrace the world of the Rolling Stones through motion. Beside the arm of a record player that hovers over a platinum album replica (the power reserve), a scene depicts their signature instruments in miniature paintings and gold thread. The external disc rotates up to 8 consecutive times for 30 seconds and is adorned with the albums that the collector will choose for his unique timepiece. At 9 o'clock, the iconic tongue beats rhythmically, from left to right and from top to bottom. “And I like it!”
After three years of work, Jaquet Droz and John Howe have developed an Art Watch dedicated to emotion, wonder and fantasy. Draped in gold and rare stones, their dragon has a record 9 distinct animations. Inside a 43 mm case, the piece is entirely handmade and can be customized almost without limit by the client. Thanks to a Studio in the heart of the Jaquet Droz head quarter, clients will be offered an immersive phygital experience that will allow them to witness the live creation of their timepieces. There is no series to be announced, only unique pieces.
The “Effinger” clock dated from 1783 and signed Jaquet-Droz, has been sold at CHF 256,000.-, which is more than three times the starting bid of CHF 70,000.-, during the Koller auction on March the 31st 2022.
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