It was one of the few complications yet to grace the Grande Seconde. Now the monopusher chronograph makes its grand entrance into the Jaquet Droz collection, equipped with an exclusive movement. An inaugural, limited series piece is complemented by three permanent additions to the collection.
Purists consider the chronograph a queen among Fine Watchmaking complications. Although not a rare complication, it remains a challenge to master for many watchmakers. It is also challenging to come up with an original aesthetic since so many variations on the modern wristwatch have already been created.
Jaquet Droz took on this dual constraint in the much-anticipated addition of a chronograph to its Grande Seconde. The specifications came with limitations: an in-house movement to meet the Jaquet Droz standards of watchmaking excellence, readability under all circumstances to ensure the effective measurement of time, and an aesthetic in keeping with the clean lines of the Grande Seconde.
The Grande Seconde Chronograph delivers on these prescriptions with aplomb. Its movement, exclusive to Jaquet Droz, uses a column wheel construction in keeping with the great watchmaking tradition of the chronograph. It also incorporates a silicon balance spring that guarantees resistance to magnetic fields and temperature variations. The volumes and proportions of this caliber have been tailored to the highly specific geometry of the Grande Seconde.
True to the legacy of the historic Jaquet Droz collections, the movement continues in the vein of the brand’s Grande Seconde Deadbeat –a genuine Fine Watchmaking complication that was created in the 18th century to literally beat the seconds and thus facilitate the measurement and reading of shorter durations of time. This chronometric focus gave rise some years later to the chronograph as we know it today. The inventor of the deadbeat seconds was none other than Jean-Moyse Pouzait, a friend of the Jaquet-Droz family. The Grande Seconde Chronograph presented today is heir to this chronograph tradition.
Jaquet Droz presents this creation in two versions: a highly limited inaugural edition (numerus clausus of only 88 pieces), along with three permanent additions to the collection.
The red gold limited edition boasts an eye-catching Grand Feu enamel dial. This ivory-colored dial is a tribute in wristwatch form to the earliest pocket watches by Pierre Jaquet-Droz.
The Arabic and Roman numerals on the dial are a striking illustration of the brand's creative flair: the fine, even strokes of these numerals are faithfully produced using Petit Feu enamel, another delicate firing technique. Together the Grand Feu enamel dial and Petit Feu enamel numerals hold the piece true to its original, centuries-old coloring.
In the purest Fine Watchmaking tradition, Jaquet Droz has adorned the Grande Seconde Chronograph with red gold hour, minute and date hands, while the chronograph seconds and minute hands are in blued steel. The minute and second displays on the chronograph are in blue Petit Feu enamel to maximize the readability of the time. The retrograde date indicated by a red-tipped gold hand also illustrates the intent to enhance the aesthetic with the technical. Thanks to this ingenious mechanism, the perfect figure 8 proportions of the Grande Seconde are kept intact, and the date hand is not impeded by the central shaft of the seconds hand. The monopusher reflects this same desire to preserve the lines of the Grande Seconde: no other push-pieces are needed to stop, start or reset the chronograph, and so the purity of the case remains intact.
In complement to this limited edition, Jaquet Droz today presents a trio of more contemporary variations on the timepiece that offer two distinctive features.
First, a steel case, as always measuring 43 mm. The dial is available in a choice of sand-blasted silver, blue or taupe gray, and finished by hand using a dry sand-blasting technique that differs from the wet sand-blasting favored to date. New to the Grande Seconde Chronograph model, this finish accentuates the depth of the graining. The new blue and warm gray tones have never previously been used by Jaquet Droz.
An off-centered dial is the second standout feature of this steel trio. While it has made an appearance in previous Grande Seconde collections, Jaquet Droz gives it a fresh twist here to produce a contemporary, unusual and lively aesthetic for the new chronograph. In complement to the crown now shifted to 4 o’clock, the off-centered dial puts the finishing touches to the originality of these models. In all four versions the oscillating weight is pared down to a minimum to reveal the beauty of the hand-assembled manufacture movement. Together, these variations constitute a new chapter in the history of the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde.
“Some watches tell time. Some tell a story”