Petite Heure Minute “Dragon”: the first masterpiece created from the collaboration between Jaquet Droz and John Howe
The Maison and the artist best known for his artistic direction of The Lord of the Rings showcase a creation that gives pride of place to a mythical creature, micro-painted in two very limited series.
What else spans continents, transcends cultures and religions, defies myths and legends, stretches from the Far East to the Alps, and soars over Babylon? There is no other. The Dragon is far more than just a mythical creature. It is something that has never existed, yet it has always been there. From the Big Bang to the end of time, it embodies perpetual renewal, both evil and redemption.
One man has become a leading specialist in them. John Howe is a legend of fantasy art, as well as the illustrator and conceptual artist of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. He has shaped the Dragon in our collective imagination and placed the mythical creature in the context of its millennial history, revealing its past richness as well as its various contemporary dimensions.
Jaquet Droz and John Howe revealed the first signs of this unique partnership in late 2020. On the one hand, an age-old Fine Watchmaking brand, which has become a master in artisanal techniques, with creations that have spanned the centuries while also embracing each of their changes. On the other, a versatile artist whose designs capture the essence of his time, conveying the myths and beliefs that have been nestled deep within people’s minds for thousands of years.
The Petite Heure Minute “Dragon” is the fruit of this union. Jaquet Droz gave John Howe the wide-open dial of its model with off-centered hours for the artist to leave his own style, mark and inspiration. On a dark blue Grand Feu enamel backdrop, the Dragon comes to life as its body nestles into the hollow of the 41 mm case, which is available in red gold or white gold.
Born in Canada, 62-year-old John Howe has lived in Neuchâtel for 30 years. His creation reveals a very simple Dragon that returns to the essence of his early designs. It has required the full range of Jaquet Droz decorative techniques to reproduce each relief, contour and volume – a true work of art with unique dimensions and a monochrome pictorial masterpiece, which emerges from a dial with shared dominant tones thanks to the finesse of its features.
The red-tongued Dragon holds a luminous pearl in its claws known as the Dragon Pearl. It is traditionally associated with happiness, abundance, wisdom and knowledge for its owner. In Chinese imperial symbolism, it represented the Emperor’s wisdom and the perfection of his mind. This is both the sacred essence of the Dragon as well as its power. Today, it enhances these two very limited series of 18 pieces, which are powered by a self-winding movement. The precise attention to detail, in keeping with the Art of Astonishment so cherished by Jaquet Droz, extends to the gold oscillating weight, which has been meticulously hand-engraved to depict the dragon’s tail with its countless scales.