The place is Murano. The time: the dawn of the 17th century. Just a short distance from Venice, the new European capital of art and pleasure, an artisan glass-maker accidentally lets some tiny shards of metal slip into the vitreous paste. It was, in fact, a serendipitous mistake. In this lagoon devoted heart and soul to the cult of beauty, it gave rise to aventurine glass, a substance rendered more beautiful with splinters of light, unique in the world.
This product of a chance "avventura" - "adventure" in Italian - remains to this day one of the most fascinating materials to work with for artisan craftsmen and women. Its matchless, shimmering blue and infinite iridescence naturally caught the eye of Jaquet Droz, and the brand is pursuing this aesthetic adventure in 2015 by introducing a new variety to its collections: Sunstone. A "Pierre de Soleil" ("Stone of the Sun"), it has a singular radiance in which flecks of gold scintillate in an ember-like glow of spellbinding intensity, evoking the luminous power of the star considered by the sages of Antiquity as at once celestial body and deity.
Sunstone carries within it both a solar, astral magic and the ultimate refinement of the Venetian Golden Age. Enthralling, astonishing, Sunstone is the latest addition to a long tradition cherished by the brand, that of mineral dials, carved of jasper, lapis lazuli or meteorites, and all worked with the incredible dexterity particular to Jaquet Droz. That the master dial-makers should choose emblematic models to celebrate this new material was therefore a natural step. It graces the Grande Seconde Cerclée, adorning the 8 formed by the two interlocked dials, and the Petite Heure Minute 35 mm, embellishing the model with a touch of novel originality. Meanwhile, the dial of the Lady 8 is caught up in a sensual flurry of golden specks, which now make this jewelry watch - in its exquisite femininity - more vibrant than ever.
With Sunstone, and these three new models, Jaquet Droz has chosen to begin the year not only with innovation but also with beauty, individuality and the infinite dream embodied by these motes of gold dust. A blush of flame, passionate and unique, becomes a galaxy of wondrous stars on the wrist, akin to a desire to travel with the promise of imminent fulfillment.
This latest variation incorporates rock fragments from the sheer slopes of the Matterhorn.
The falcon, national symbol of the United Arab Emirates, was honored in an exclusive new version of the Bird Repeater that draws on 280 years of the Jaquet Droz Art of Astonishment.
Until April 10, 2019, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Series: Treasures of Time exhibition is running at the Hong Kong Science Museum.
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