The inauguration in 2015 of four new single-brand boutiques in China bears testimony to the Swiss watchmaker's desire to celebrate its long-standing ties with the Middle Kingdom.
The nine Jaquet Droz boutiques in China today are all imbued with the same spirit as their driving force: to perpetuate a shared history that spans several centuries. The dialog between the watchmaking firm and the illustrious country-continent began in the 18th century, under the initiative of Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz, one of the firm's founders, who had the idea of establishing a workshop that would produce predominantly for the Chinese market. These frequent exchanges created close and lasting bonds between China and the brand known by its twin stars. In 1783, Jaquet Droz became the first watchmaking brand to be admitted into the grounds of the Imperial Palace, where the Emperor Qianlong and his courtiers showed fascination at the originality of his creations. Certain historic pieces are still conserved today in the Museum of the Forbidden City.
True to its heritage, the brand has successfully preserved and cultivated this exceptional relationship. With desire to strengthen and promote these privileged ties, Jaquet Droz has inaugurated four new boutiques in 2015, covering three of the country's major cities. The opening of a retail store in Beijing in May and a second location in July, along with the launch of a new location in the heart of Studio City in Macau, have sealed the beginning of a new era in the relationship between Jaquet Droz and China.
As the most recent manifestation of the lasting bonds of this shared history, on November 12th of this year, a new showcase boutique opened its doors on West Nanjing Road, a prestigious and unmissable address in the heart of Shanghai. The event was marked by festivities celebrating the themes of discovery and initiation, giving Jaquet Droz the opportunity to reiterate an ambition that has remained unchanged from its beginnings: to surprise, to fascinate, and also to tell its story.
The new boutique is outfitted with elegant showcases that present the various Jaquet Droz models as veritable works of art under carefully designed lighting. Customers are immersed in a refined space with clean lines that play on the various tones of slate, in harmony with the minimalist scenography, true to the spirit of the brand. Several illustrations on the walls highlight the different arts and crafts that represent the pure expertise of the watchmaking firm.
For the inauguration ceremony, Jaquet Droz had an artist from its Ateliers d’Art come especially to give attendees an exclusive demonstration of the infinite refinement of miniature painting on the dial.
The event was also marked by the presentation of the Grande Seconde Deadbeat, a masterpiece of watchmaking complications that has been subtly redesigned, with its seconds hand centered on the dial. Also featured at the opening was the Charming Bird, a feat of technical and artistic prowess distinguished by its automaton in the form of a singing bird, which won an award in the "Mechanical Exception" category of the 2015 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. True to the Jaquet Droz aesthetic, these timepieces resonate with the culture of amazement and a love of tradition, two emblematic traits that unite the Swiss watchmaker and the Middle Kingdom.
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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