The Age of Enlightenment was marked by philosophers and the birth of modern science, but also saw the rediscovery of nature. Pierre Jaquet-Droz was particularly touched by the natural world, as can be seen in his clocks, watches and precious objects that have gone down in the history of decorative arts. Despite being quite the keen traveler, he was particularly fond of the beauties of his native Jura. As the Seasons passed, he noticed the changes in the landscapes, the transforming light, the first flowers to pierce through the snow and the sun that bathes the hills with its golden rays. Birds in particular drew his attention, which he observed close up and which inspired many of his most spectacular creations.
This passion is kept alive to this day in the Ateliers de Haute Horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds, where a number of timepieces – such as the tremendous automaton watches – faithfully preserve the founder's spirit. Following on from fall and winter, two new versions of the Petite Heure Minute Relief Seasons are beginning a new chapter by paying homage to spring and summer. Like a painter’s canvas, this iconic model has become a space on which the artisans of the Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art can express their full creativity, thanks to the off-centered hours and minutes dial at 12 o’clock, which makes way for Jaquet Droz’s ornamental intentions.
The Petite Heure Minute Relief Seasons watches showcase the vitality of the twin-star brand's mastery. The mother-of-pearl – a fragile and flaky material – has been delicately fashioned by the firm’s artisans to form a fine hand-engraved dial. The dial becomes a majestic sky brought to life with every movement of the wrist thanks to its shimmering iridescent effects. Carved from gold then engraved and painted by hand, two pairs of blue tit birds are placed in the background and demonstrate staggering precision. The plumage, eyes, beaks and round bodies are strikingly real. The two decorations, two designs of hands and the domed sapphire crystal were specially designed to enhance the three-dimensional effect of the birds, which are emblematic of the La Chaux-de-Fonds region. The branches of blossoming plum trees at the heart of the white gold and diamond-set case of the Petite Heure Minute Relief Seasons evoke the arrival of spring and the signs of awakening life. The chill of the final days of winter is highlighted by the blued steel hands and the gray satin strap. On the second version, dedicated to summer, the sunflowers face the sun in a warm palette of yellows and browns that pay tribute to sunnier days, echoed by the red gold case and hands, and a chocolate-brown alligator strap.
Each of these stunningly beautiful timepieces comes in a limited edition of just 88 pieces. On the back, the gold oscillating weight, which is adorned with mother-of-pearl, two sculpted wings and the Jaquet Droz twin stars, sets the cadence of the scene. These two timepieces come with a certificate of authenticity signed by the very Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art artisans who devoted their passion and finest talents to the piece’s creation.
“Some watches tell time, some tell a story”