Tag Archives: Jaquet Droz

Grisaille enamel painting for Van Cleef & Arpels’s Midnight Nuit Boréale

Six Enamelling Techniques used for luxury watch making, from Patek Philippe to Cartier, Hermès and more

Enamelling at Swiss watchmaker A. Lange & Söhne

Enamelling at Swiss watchmaker A. Lange & Söhne

Enamelling is a tedious process, to put it mildly. The raw material must first be ground into a fine powder, then mixed with a suitable medium (oils or water are both used) to form a paint-like emulsion. This liquid is then applied like paint, before being fired in a kiln to vitrify it the medium evaporates, while the powder melts and fuses into glass. There are variations to these steps, of course. Some manufactures, for example, choose to sieve the power directly onto a base of either brass or gold, and fire this “layer” of powder directly. Whatever the process, every step is fraught with danger. The product may crack during the firing process. Unseen impurities may surface as imperfections. Colours may react in unexpected ways. There are numerous risks to endure. Why, then, does this technique continue to be used in watchmaking?

Despite all its drawbacks, enamel still has a depth and nuance that cannot be replicated anywhere else. It is also permanent vitrified enamel is essentially inert and, like noble metals, remains unchanged even a century from now. Different enamelling techniques are capable of creating a wide spectrum of products as well, from a single large surface free of blemishes, to microscopic levels of detail as part of a painting. Perhaps the romantic aspect of this metiers d’art also accounts for part of its appeal; the time and touch of the enamellist is the perfect counterpoint to the watchmaker, with art on one side and science on the other.

Variations on a Theme

Enamels are fired at various temperatures or not at all depending on their types. Grand feu (literally “great fire”) enamel is fired at around 820 degrees Celsius, although intermediate firings to “set” it may be at around 100 degrees Celsius, to boil the solvent off without fusing the powder. Enamels in general, including those used in miniature painting, may also be fired at around 100 degrees Celsius instead. Finally, there is cold enamel, an epoxy resin that cures and hardens at room temperature.

There are no hard and fast rules to the craft; every enamellist has his/her own materials and approach

There are no hard and fast rules to the craft; every enamellist has his/her own materials and approach

What difference does it make? For a start, higher temperatures are definitely more difficult to work with, since the enamel may crack during firing, or the subsequent cooling down process. The spectrum of colours used in grand feu enamelling is also more limited, as there are fewer compounds that can withstand the temperature. The choice of technique boils down to the desired product for all its drawbacks, grand feu enamel has an inimitable look.

Seiko’s Presage SRQ019 chronograph with white enamel dial

Seiko’s Presage SRQ019 chronograph with white enamel dial

Enamels, porcelains, and lacquers all share common properties of hardness, durability, and the ability to take on both matte and polished finishes. The three aren’t interchangeable though. Lacquer is an organic finish that is applied in layers, with each successive coat curing at room temperature before the next is added. Porcelain is a ceramic that is produced by firing materials in a kiln to vitrify them. Although enamel is also fired, it only contains glass and colouring compounds and lacks porcelain’s clay content.

Raised Fields

In champlevé enamelling, a thick dial base is engraved to create hollow cells, before these cavities are filled with enamel and fired. Because the engraving step produces rough surfaces at the bottom of each cell, the champlevé technique typically uses only opaque enamels. The method allows areas on the dial to be selectively excavated, and for enamels to be mixed freely within each dial. This is done to great effect in Piaget’s Emperador Coussin XL Large Moon Enamel watch, where the gold dial is largely untouched for the “continents”, while the “oceans” are created in champlevé enamel, with differing shades of blue to convey their varying depths.

An excavated cell in Ulysse Nardin’s Classico Goat being filled with enamel using the champlevé technique

An excavated cell in Ulysse Nardin’s Classico Goat being filled with enamel using the champlevé technique

Champlevé enamelling’s use isn’t limited to creating decorative art. In Parmigiani Fleurier’s Tecnica Ombre Blanche, for instance, it was simply the most appropriate technique. Although the timepiece has a simple white enamel dial, its surface is interrupted by three sub-dials and an aperture for the tourbillon. Using champlevé enamelling here allowed each dial element to have a clearly defined border without adding unnecessary thickness. A possible alternative would be to make a complete enamel dial, before cutting out the appropriate sections in the middle. One can, however, imagine the risks of doing that.

Patek Philippe’s Ref. 6002 combines champlevé and cloisonné enamelling

Patek Philippe’s Ref. 6002 combines champlevé and cloisonné enamelling

Is there a limit to the level of details that can be achieved with champlevé enamel? Patek Philippe may have the answer with the Ref. 6002 Sky Moon Tourbillon. Apart from the centre portion, which is produced using the cloisonné technique (discussed later), its dial is a work of champlevé enamel even the railway track chapter ring was milled out in relief, before the recesses are filled with enamel and fired.

Engraving isn’t necessarily the only way to produce the cells used in champlevé enamel though. Hublot puts a modern twist on things with the Classic Fusion Enamel Britto, by stamping the white gold dial base to create the raised borders between the cells. This not only reduces the time needed for each dial but also ensures uniformity between them. Subsequent steps, however, remain unchanged the cells were sequentially filled with different colours of enamel and fired multiple times before the entire dial surface is polished to form a uniformly smooth surface.

Wire Work

Cloisonné enamelling is almost like the opposite of the champlevé technique instead of removing material from a dial blank, things are added on it instead. The “cloisons” (literally “partitions”) here refer to the wires, each no thicker than a human hair, that the enamellist bends into shape and attaches onto a base to create enclosed cells. These cells are then filled with enamel of different colours before the dial is fired to fuse the powder. The wires remain visible in the final product, and look like outlines of a drawing, with a metallic sheen that contrasts with the glassy surfaces of the enamel.

Wires are shaped and attached to a dial to form cells, before enamel is painted in

Wires are shaped and attached to a dial to form cells, before enamel is painted in

Plique-à-jour (“letting in daylight”) enamel can be considered a variation of cloisonné enamel, but the technique is a lot rarer owing to its complexity and fragility. Like its cloisonné sibling, plique-à-jour enamelling involves creating enclosed cells using wires, before filling them with enamel. In this case, however, there is no base. The lack of a backing can be achieved in various ways, but usually involves working on a base layer à la cloisonné enamelling, before filing it away to leave just the wires holding onto vitrified enamel. Since there is no base, plique-à-jour enamelling almost always involves transparent or translucent enamel that allows light through, which essentially creates tiny stained glass windows.

A dial in cloisonné enamel is in the making

A dial in cloisonné enamel is in the making

Van Cleef & Arpels has used the above technique to great effect. In the Lady Arpels Jour Nuit Fée Ondine watch, a 24-hour module rotates a graduated lower dial once a day to mimic Earth’s diurnal rhythm, while an upper dial with elements executed in plique-à-jour enamel forms the foreground. The watch thus creates an ever-changing scene that mimics the rising and setting of the sun and moon, with the appropriate shades of blue for the sky and water, depending on the time of the day.

Hybrid Theory

There are several “hybrid” techniques that combine enamelling with other decorative arts, and flinqué enamelling is arguably the best known given its long history of use. The technique combines guillochage with enamelling a brass or gold dial is first decorated with guilloché, before layers of enamel are successively applied and fired. When this enamel coating is sufficiently thick, it is polished to create a smooth surface; the final result is a translucent lens through which the guilloché is admired. Depending on the desired effect, the enamel used may be colourless to impart a subtle sheen, or coloured for more visual oomph, like the trio of limited edition Rotonde de Cartier high complications unveiled at Watches & Wonders 2015. Vacheron Constantin has even adapted the technique by using guilloché patterns to mimic woven fabrics in the Métiers d’Art Elégance Sartoriale.

Enamel being applied to the engraved white gold base on the Hermès Arceau Tigre

Enamel being applied to the engraved white gold base on the Hermès Arceau Tigre

Developed by the husband-and-wife team of Olivier and Dominique Vaucher, shaded enamel (email ombrant) also involves the application of translucent enamel over an engraved dial. Instead of a regular pattern à la guilloché, however, shaded enamel entails the creation of an image in relief. In the Hermès Arceau Tigre, the likeness of the animal is first carved into a white gold base, before translucent black enamel is applied and fired. A thicker layer of enamel accumulates in areas where the engraving is deeper and appears darker as a result the shading corresponds to the depth of the enamel, which creates an extremely lifelike product.

Cartier Ballon Bleu de Cartier Enamel Granulation with Panther Motif

Cartier Ballon Bleu de Cartier Enamel Granulation with Panther Motif

The final technique here is Cartier’s enamel granulation, which combines enamelling with Etruscan granulation originally used by goldsmiths. The craft requires multiple steps and is extremely tedious, to say the least. Enamel is first worked into threads of different diameters before these threads are chipped off bit by bit to form beads of various sizes. The beads are then sorted by colour and applied to the dial successively to assemble an image, with intermediate firings to set and fuse the enamel. As different colours of enamel fuse at different temperatures, there is a clearly defined order for the assembly process; up to 30 firings are necessary, and each dial requires nearly a month to complete. Like shaded enamel, enamel granulation is a very recent development, and Cartier has only used it on one watch so far: the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Enamel Granulation with Panther Motif.

Metallic Content

Paillonné is among the rarest enamelling techniques today and practically synonymous with Jaquet Droz, which has maintained its expertise in this area. The manufacture currently has two full-time enamellists who don’t just produce enamel dials but also train artisans to perpetuate this know-how.

A paillon being applied to the coloured enamel “base”

A paillon being applied to the coloured enamel “base”

The “paillon” here refers to the small ornamental motifs that are created from gold leaf, and are the calling card of the technique. Essentially, paillonné enamelling involves setting paillons within enamel to form patterns, with regular geometric ones being the norm. To do so, a layer of coloured enamel is first fired to set it. Upon this layer, the paillons are positioned, before translucent enamel is applied and fired, thus “locking” the paillons in. Additional steps can be taken to create even more intricate designs. Before the coloured enamel layer is applied, for instance, the substrate surface may first be decorated with guilloché, which basically creates flinqué enamel that is then decorated with paillons over it. According to Jaquet Droz’s CEO Christian Lattmann, the textured base doesn’t just offer visual benefits but also helps the initial layer of coloured enamel to “stick” better. Lattmann also revealed that the choice of white or red gold as this base will impart a different tone to the finished product as well both because of its inherent colour and because of how the guillochage plays with light.

A watch from Vacheron Constantin’s Métiers d’Art Villes Lumières collection, with applied precious metal powders on the enamelled surface

A watch from Vacheron Constantin’s Métiers d’Art Villes Lumières collection, with applied precious metal powders on the enamelled surface

In lieu of regular patterns, Jaeger-LeCoultre opted for a twist on the technique, by distributing flecks of silver randomly on the dial instead. The result can be seen in the Hybris Artistica Duomètre Sphérotourbillon Enamel, whose enamel dial mimics the look of lapis lazuli. This technique was also used for the second dial of the Reverso One Duetto Moon.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso One Duetto Moon

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso One Duetto Moon

While not paillonné enamelling per se, Vacheron Constantin’s use of hand applied precious powder deserves a mention here. In the manufacture’s Métiers d’Art Villes Lumières timepieces, gold, platinum, diamond, and pearl powders are affixed to the surface of the enamel dial by Japanese enamel artisan Yoko Imai. Instead of being covered with a layer of enamel, these particles sit atop them, and catch the light variously to mimic a bird’s eye view of a city at night.

Brush Strokes

Enamel painting is simply painting with enamel pigments rather than some other medium. The technique is challenging not just due to the canvas’s size, which makes it miniature painting as well, but also because of the multiple firings needed to vitrify and set the enamels, colour by colour. Given the level of detail that can be achieved, however, this is one of the few techniques that are capable of making their subjects almost lifelike. Consider Slim d’Hermès Pocket Panthère, which has the eponymous animal rendered in this technique, for example. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso à Eclipse also showcases what enamel painting is capable of with its uncanny facsimile of Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait as a Painter on its dial.

Slim d’Hermès Pocket Panthère being painted. Image © Pierre-William Henry

Slim d’Hermès Pocket Panthère being painted. Image © Pierre-William Henry

Grisaille enamel can be considered a subset of enamel painting, and is a specific method of painting white on black to create monochromic imagery. The black canvas is grand feu enamel that must first be applied, fired, and then polished to create a perfectly smooth surface that’s free of imperfections. This preparatory step is, in and of itself, already very challenging, as minute flaws are extremely easy to spot on such a surface this explains why most watch brands offer white enamel dials, but black onyx or lacquer dials instead of enamel. Upon this black canvas, the enamellist paints using Blanc de Limoges, which is a white enamel whose powder is more finely ground than normal. To create micro details, fine brushes, needles, and even cactus thorns are used, and the dial is painted and fired multiple times to create the nuanced paintings grisaille enamel is known for.

Grisaille enamel painting for Van Cleef & Arpels’s Midnight Nuit Boréale

Grisaille enamel painting for Van Cleef & Arpels’s Midnight Nuit Boréale

Owing to its complexity, grisaille enamel is rarely seen. There are brands that still offer metiers d’art watches with them though, sometimes with their own take on the technique. In its Métiers d’Art Hommage à l’Art de la Danse collection, Vacheron Constantin opted to use translucent brown enamel for the dial base to impart a greater sense of depth, while softening the contrast between the two colours. Van Cleef & Arpels used a midnight blue base in its Midnight Nuit Boréale and Nuit Australe timepieces instead, to evoke the night sky.

This article was originally published in WOW.

Raw Beauty: Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Sunstone

For years, the ethereal beauty of gemstones has been harnessed by Jaquet Droz to produce some of the most graceful timepieces in modern watchmaking. Working with masterful dial-makers, it has released variations of the iconic Grande Seconde paired with lapis lazuli, jasper, aventurine, and meteorite. The latest addition to this is the Grande Seconde Sunstone.

Back view of the Grande Seconde Sunstone

Back view of the Grande Seconde Sunstone

A gem from the feldspar group of minerals, which includes moonstone, labradorite, and amazonite, sunstone is desired for its aventurescence – the metallic glitter from minute platelets in the mineral. The larger those platelets, the more glittery or spangled the stone appears to be. Typically reddish brown in color, sunstone has a hardness of 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale.

The Grande Seconde Sunstone uses this dazzling gem in a combustive trio of glamorous natural materials. Its raw elemental beauty contrasts sharply with pristine white mother-of-pearl, which gives the watch an air of serenity. Both materials are accented by 18K red gold, which not only complements the union, but also adds a touch of traditional luxury.

Back view of the Petite Heures Minutes 35 Sunstone

Back view of the Petite Heures Minutes 35 Sunstone

Accompanying this fiery timepiece is another equally glittery creation, this one decidedly more suited for feminine wrists. The Petite Heures Minutes 35 Sunstone is the yin to the Grande Seconde Sunstone’s yang. This exquisite model also combines sunstone with red gold, but switches white mother-of-pearl for not one, but two rows of full-cut white diamonds around its bezel – what better way to highlight the shimmer of sunstone than with the brilliance of diamonds?

Specs

  • Case: 35mm and 39mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes
  • Power Reserve: 68 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding Calibre 2663
  • Material: 39mm in red gold
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Rolled-edge handmade brown alligator leather with red gold ardillon buckle

This story was first published in World of Watches.

6 Métiers d’Arts Monkey Year Watches

The year of the monkey began several months ago but that doesn’t mean its too late for you to get some arm candy featuring exceptional artwork. We bring you six timepieces that combine the art with the zodiac in a sophisticated way.

Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the MonkeyChopard-Monkey-Business

Reprising the Japanese art of lacquer painting, the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Monkey depicts a scene considered particularly auspicious: A monkey gathering eight peaches. This symbolises longevity and good fortune since peaches stand for good health and eight is a lucky number. Chopard worked with the Yamada Heiando lacquerware firm, which happens to be the official purveyor to the Japanese imperial family.

Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Relief MonkeyJaquet-Droz-Monkey-Business

The incredibly lifelike Petite Heure Minute Relief Monkey resembles a mini-diorama, the kind you might find in a natural history museum. No less than four métiers d’art techniques were employed in its making: mother-of-pearl marquetry (on the peach tree), hand-engraving and sculpture in relief (on the macaque and branch), and lacquering (on the dial). Two versions exist, one in white gold and the other in red gold, each limited to 28 pieces.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Sealand 3 Days Automatic Acciaio PAM850Panerai-Monkey-Business

Panerai’s tradition of making Luminor 1950 Sealand models engraved with animals of the Chinese zodiac continues this year. It began with the Year of the Ox in 2009. This year, PAM850 bears a picture of a monkey surrounded by peach blossoms. While the subject engraved on the case cover is indisputably Chinese in style, the technique used is Italian, involving the hammering of gold threads into hand-chiselled grooves.

Ulysse Nardin Classico Year of the MonkeyUlysse-Nardin-Monkey-Business

Going for a more comic strip-like style as opposed to attempting to create a lifelike image, Ulysse Nardin presents a monkey motif that is alert, lithe, and impish yet artistic. This dial had been created for Ulysse Nardin by sister firm and dial specialist, Donze Cadrans, which used the champlevé technique. Chiselling grooves on the dial and filling them with vitreous enamel, the background lends a nice contrast to the gold markings.

Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art La Légende du Zodiaque Chinois Year of the MonkeyVacheron-Constanin-Monkey-Business

Crafting artistic watches is Vacheron Constantin’s specialty and its Chinese zodiac collection has always aimed to replicate the nuances in poise and expression of the animals. This year’s piece combines relief engraving with the traditional art of paper cutting. In addition, Grand Feu enamel was used to create the backdrop of a blue or bronze-toned dial. Using the Calibre 2460 G4 allows for a view that is not obscured by hour and minute hands.

Piaget Altiplano Cloisonné EnamelPiaget-Monkey-Business

After the dragon, snake, horse, and goat, Piaget gives the monkey a go in this 12-year series. World-renowned master enameller, Anita Porchet, graciously loaned her skills to the manufacture, presenting a dial that resembles a traditional Chinese watercolour painting. Here, Porchet used the cloisonné technique with the Grand Feu method and her initials have been painted by hand at five o’clock. Only 38 pieces have been produced.

Story Credits

This story was first published in World of Watches.

10 Ways to Wear Asia on Your Wrist

The most sublime artistic watches of 2015 are replete with motifs dear to Asia. Our friends at WOW curated this list of the 10 best examples, featuring a showcase of artisanal techniques in watchmaking such as champlevé enamelling but also incorporating outside crafts such as Aka-e painting.

HERMÈS

Travel back in time to ancient Kyoto with the 39.5mm Slim d’Hermès Koma Kurabe watch (pictured above), named after the famous millennial-old horse race at the Kamigamo Shrine. Fine French porcelain is further exalted with the Japanese art of Aka-e painting, under the expert brush of master Buzan Fukushima from Kutani in the Ishikawa Prefecture. One of the rare artisans who still practice this technique, Fukushima deftly paints on subtly graded shades of red and ochre, which he coats with a fine layer of gold before firing it three times. The watch also features the mechanical self-winding H1950 movement.

Jacquet Droz-r50

JAQUET DROZ

Honouring the Chinese Year of the Goat is this Petite Heure Minute Relief Goats, which features three goats carved out of white gold springing from the summit of an imaginary mountain. In the backdrop is a stylised dial evoking the motif of the plum blossom through champlevé enamelling of white and Jaquet Droz’s signature blue, with the finished result resembling an exquisite piece of Chinese paper cutting. 
This 41mm timepiece is endowed with a self-winding mechanical movement.

Piaget-r50

PIAGET

Also paying homage to the Chinese zodiac, the Altiplano Enamelled Cloisonné Goat watch displays the talent of world-renowned independent enamel artist Anita Porchet, who created this Grand Feu cloisonné enamel dial in soft shades of grey. The tones on the magnificent buck were painstakingly graded from intense to lighter nuances, while the ethereal background brings to mind a cloud-streaked sky over a mountain range. Housed within the 38mm watch is the Piaget 430P mechanical manual-winding movement.

VCA-r50

VAN CLEEF & ARPELS

A work of superlative savoir faire and craftsmanship, this Palais de la Chance Carpe Koï high jewelry bracelet watch is a tribute to Japanese culture, of which the koi is a symbol of love, life, and serenity. Requiring 3,450 hours of meticulous work, it is set with 8,000 colored stones that includes diamonds, spessartite garnets, and yellow sapphires for the body; black spinels for eyes; and Paraiba-like tourmalines and diamonds for the water motif. The bracelet of this watch, which is powered by a quartz movement, is unfastened by pressing on the koi’s tail.

Chaumet-r50

CHAUMET

Beautifully captured on the dial of the Lumières d’Eau Parure 11 watch is the elegance and grace of the carp, which in Chinese mythology is a symbol of success for its ability to transform into a dragon. It features four fish made of engraved yellow gold with blue sapphires for eyes, gliding across softly swirling water represented by a cream-colored lacquered dial set with brilliant diamonds for ripples. The long tails of the fish extend out over part of the bezel, the rest of which is set with 183 brilliant diamonds. The piece is powered by a Swiss mechanical self-winding movement.

Blancpain-r50

BLANCPAIN

The Hindu god of Ganesh is superbly immortalized on the dial of this Villeret Shakudo watch. Shakudo, which is a historical technique Japanese in origin, refers to an alloy principally composed of copper and gold that acquires a dark patina between blue and black. The 45mm timepiece also features engraving and damascening, which is another old technique that involves inlaying precious metals, in this case gold, into a base metal. It is endowed with the manual-winding Calibre 15B mechanical movement.

De Bethune-r50

DE  BETHUNE

Named after an ancient Mesoamerican feathered serpent, which is a deity of the summer winds and a protector of artisans, the DB25 Quetzalcoatl flaunts a solid gold dial sculpted by engraver Michèle Rothen. The head of the coiled snake at the center points to the hour, while its tail indicates the minutes. The hour markers resemble a series of temples viewed from the sky, while a circular guilloché motif makes the watch glow. Beating at the heart of this 44mm watch is the manual-winding Calibre DB2005.

Corum-r50

CORUM

The watchmaker’s legendary linear movement is paired up with a mythical creature, the dragon, to give us the audacious Golden Bridge Dragon. Immaculate hand-engraving work taking more than two weeks transforms a mold-poured piece of white gold into an incredibly detailed, three-dimensional piece of art. The dragon’s sinuous silhouette, which wraps around the movement without actually touching it, is covered with tiny depth-effect scales, and given impressive claws and a pearl-tipped tail. Encased within the 34mm x 51mm watch, with a bezel and lugs adorned with baguette diamonds, is the CO113 manual-winding movement.

Cartier-r50

CARTIER

The ancestral damascene technique is used on the dial of this Rotonde de Cartier 42mm to depict the amazingly life-like and detailed head of a majestic panther, which represents ferocity and strength to the Chinese. Wires in rose, yellow and white gold were hammered into troughs cut into a gold base, while the feline’s nose and spots 
were painted with black lacquer. Black onyx forms the background of the watch, which is equipped with the manual-winding mechanical movement 9601 MC.

Story Credits

Text by Yanni Tan

Illustrations by Irene Arifin

Cut and Polished: Jaquet Droz and Mineral Dials

Mention decorative arts in horology, and Jaquet Droz will invariably come to mind. The association’s well-deserved, since every Jaquet Droz collection has references with immaculately decorated dials. The timepieces demonstrate the brand’s expertise in several techniques, including Côtes de Genève engraving, grand feu and paillonné enamelling, and gem-setting. To top things off, its Les Ateliers d’Art collection puts it in an exclusive club of métier d’art-capable watchmakers.

In a variation on the theme of decorated dials, Jaquet Droz has unveiled several timepieces featuring dials of alternative materials. As these materials are mined, not made, every specimen is unique. Clearly, this demands a different sort of finesse from the usual decorative techniques. The chief challenge here is to choose a suitable piece and decide which of its surfaces to cut, polish, and present.

Grande Seconde Imperial Jasper
As its name suggests, the subject here is a dial of imperial jasper, a variant of jasper mined near San Cristobal, Mexico. This particular piece contains banding with layers ranging from light pink to dark orange, and frames the mother of pearl sub-dials with a red gold border. The use of red gold extends to the 43mm watch case, creating a warm appearance that’s balanced by the cooler sub-dials. This timepiece is powered by Jaquet Droz’s self-winding Calibre 2663, which beats at 28,800 vph and holds a 68-hour power reserve. The Grande Seconde Imperial Jasper is a once-off creation.Jaquet Droz And Mineral Dials 3

Petite Heure Minute 35mm Ruby Heart
For something even hotter, consider the Ruby Heart. This timepiece presents the familiar ruby atypically – rather than a polished and faceted gem, Jaquet Droz uses a single slice of it as the watch’s dial. The ruby’s strong hues dominate the watch, while its cross-sectional cut reveals textured inclusions that lend visual interest. To avoid cluttering the dial, the timekeeping “sub-dial” is a mere ring with the hour and minute hands. These features are in red gold, like the watch case, which houses a self-winding Calibre 2653 movement that runs for 68 hours when fully wound.Jaquet Droz And Mineral Dials 4

Grande Date Lapis Lazuli
In stark contrast to Ruby Heart, the Grande Date Lapis Lazuli looks almost cold to the touch. The intensely blue stone forms the background here, against which the mother of pearl sub-dial and big date windows are set. Red gold is used to frame the sub-dial and big date apertures, and as the case material. Interestingly, this combination of colours and textures mutes the metal’s characteristic warmth without diminishing its elegance and luxurious touch. Beneath the lapis lazuli dial lies a Calibre 2653G, which is self-winding with a 65-hour power reserve ticking at four hertz. The watch is limited to 88 pieces.Jaquet Droz And Mineral Dials 5

Grande Seconde Meteorite
Last but not least, the Grande Seconde Meteorite is for those who want a literal piece of the heavens. This watch’s dial shows the distinctive Widmanstätten pattern unique to iron meteorites that have fallen to earth from outer space. This pattern is formed as the meteorite cools down over thousands to millions of years in space, and is not reproducible in laboratories. The pattern of three bands intersecting each other at 60 degrees is achieved by cutting the meteorite equidistant from the crystallographic centre. For a touch of class, a red gold ring with inlaid diamonds surrounds the mother of pearl sub-dials. The Grande Seconde Meteorite is limited to 88 pieces in red gold.Jaquet Droz And Mineral Dials 2

Here Come The Goats

The Chinese Zodiac is a rich source of inspiration for art, given its cyclical nature and varied subjects, from the magnificent dragon to the more worldly pig. Come 19 February, Chinese around the world will welcome the Year of the Goat. Or Sheep. Or Ram. Curiously enough, a distinction was never made on the specific animal which occupies this sector of the zodiacal calendar which, as you can see below, has allowed much room for watchmakers’ interpretations.Here Come The GoatsJaquet Droz is offering two references dedicated to the goat this year. Based on its eponymous collection, the Petite Heure Minute Relief Goats comes in either a white or red gold case, and is rife with symbolism. Note, for example, the three goats which have been hard carved in relief from either red or white gold. Beyond their allusions to the Year of the Goat, their depiction on a mountain top also symbolises achievement, and the hope for success in the year ahead. The dial also contains stylised plum blossoms done in champlevé enamel. As one of the four “noble flowers” in Chinese iconography, plum blossoms flower in the winter and are seen as a herald of spring. Each reference of the Petite Heure Minute Relief Goats will come in a limited run of 28 pieces.Pam00848 PressPanerai’s Luminor 1950 Sealand 3 Days Automatic Acciaio 44mm is the seventh in the series to pay tribute to an animal of the Chinese Zodiac, beginning with the Year of the Ox in 2009. PAM848 has a decorated steel cover – a special tool called the sparsello is first used to engrave grooves into the cover, before multiple layers of gold thread are inlaid into these grooves and pounded to fill them up. Each representation of the goat is thus unique, since the process is done entirely by hand. The PAM848 contains Panerai’s in-house P.9000 calibre, fitted into the Luminor 1950 case which is 44mm wide. This boutique exclusive is limited to 100 pieces worldwide.Pam00848 Detail 3Piaget’s Art & Excellence collection is dedicated to special pieces commemorating the Chinese New Year. Like the models before it, the Altiplano Enamelled Cloisonné Goat has a dial featuring cloisonné enamel in muted tones that fully flaunt the artist’s mastery of the medium. The enameller, Anita Porchet, has used the cloisonné technique to great effect here – note the sharp demarcation between the shadowed outline of the goat and the light shades of the sky; the two shades of vitreous enamel would have mixed during firing if the gold wires weren’t present to separate them. The watch houses Piaget’s 430P ultra-thin movement, and has an 18K white gold case set with 78 brilliant-cut diamonds totalling approximately 0.7 carats. It is sold exclusively in Piaget boutiques, and has a limited run of 38 pieces. A separate reference in pink gold is also limited to 38 pieces.G0a39540Ulysse Nardin’s acquisition of dial enamelling specialist Donzé Cadrans in 2011 signalled the brand’s desire to vertically integrate this branch of metier d’art into its operations. A quick glance through the manufacture’s Classico collection will reveal just how well this decision has turned out. The latest from Ulysse Nardin, the Classico Goat, depicts a goat with two kids with champlevé enamelling. The UN-815 movement within it is COSC certified, and the watch is limited to 88 pieces.8156 111 2 ChevreVacheron Constantin’s Métiers d’Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac collection has been updated with the Year of the Goat model. The boutique exclusive comes in either pink gold or platinum, with 12 pieces in each reference. The watch uses champlevé enamelling to create a background of leaves and honeysuckles, upon which a goat engraved in relief has been set. The timepiece has no hands. Instead, four digital displays allows its wearer to read off the time, day, and date. This timepiece is certified Poinçon de Genève. 

86073 000r 9889 86073 000p 9890 Tr 720635

Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute watches

Jaquet Droz Unveils Dance-Inspired Timespieces

JAQUET DROZ has unveiled two limited-edition watches in collaboration with the Béjart Ballet Lausanne and watercolorist Stéphanie Barba.

Switzerland is currently marking the 150th anniversary of the first trade and friendship agreement between the Swiss Confederation and the Taikun (the 14th shogun of Japan), which saw the start of commercial relations between the two countries.

As part of the celebration, the Béjart Ballet Lausanne company has worked with the Tokyo Ballet on a new performance of Maurice Béjart’s 1964 ballet set to Beethoven’s 9th symphony.

Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute watches

To add to the festival atmosphere, watch brand Jaquet Droz have revealed two new versions of the Petite Heure Minute watch.

There are 28 pieces of each watch and they are sold at select retailers including The ‘s Tourbillon boutiques.

Watch fans can choose between a 39mm diameter white gold and diamond model (with a blue alligator strap) and a 43mm red gold option (with a brown alligator strap). They cost $41,500 and $34,300 respectively.

The key design touches on both pieces are Stéphanie Barba’s drawings which were painted by hand on the enamel dials, and engraved on the oscillating weights.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon Adventurine: Style Meets Substance

On rare occasions in horology, you can have your cake and eat it too. Jaquet Droz’s Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine is proof of that – it has been spiced up on the technical end with a tourbillon and dressed up on the aesthetics end with various precious materials – making it a complicated watch that doubles as jewellery.

J013014270 Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine Amb

Looks wise, the Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine is a variation on a familiar theme, this time executed in blue and white. The timepiece’s Grande Seconde pedigree is apparent at first sight, given its figure eight motif on the dial. Like its siblings from the collection, the watch’s small seconds and tourbillon have been swapped to the upper half of the dial, likely to provide visual balance given the tourbillon’s smaller dimensions. Set in a sapphire crystal frame, the tourbillon’s movements can be studied in detail both from the front, and the see-through caseback. In its place, the namesake Grande Seconde subdial (done here in mother-of-pearl) is occupied by the hour and minute hands. Blued steel hands round out the timekeeping portion of the timepiece, with the setup ringed by diamonds and set on an aventurine dial evoking a star-strewn night sky. Diamonds have also been set on the 39mm white gold case, its lugs, and the bracelet’s clasp, and total 382 stones weighing 1.88 carats. Despite the sheer number of stones, at no point does the watch appear garish, thanks to their confinement to the fringes of the timepiece.

J013014270 Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine

Flip the Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine over and you’ll be in for another surprise. In addition to the usual Côtes de Genève and circular graining on the bridge and main plate, you’ll find that the rotor has been set with a piece of aventurine to mirror the dial on the front, with two gold stars fixed on it to form the signature of Jaquet Droz. The Calibre 25JD movement displayed here also hides a generous 7 day power reserve, further confirming that this is no mere jewellery watch that focuses only on looks.

J013014270 Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine Back

The Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine is only limited to 28 pieces worldwide. 

Swift & Strong: Jaquet Droz Petit Heure Minute Horses

Jaquet Droz Petit Heure Minute Horses 7
 
Did you know that Jaquet Droz was the first watchmaker to have made watches for the Chinese? It’s hardly surprising given its yen for artisanal crafts which is always dearly appreciated by Asian watch aficionados since time immemorial.
 
A timely commemoration of the brand founder’s visionary foresight, three auspicious new models were created, each showcasing a different craft mastered by the manufacture Jaquet Droz: Engraving, grand feu enamel and enamel painting. This being the Year of the Horse, the trusty steed thus was the motif of choice for the artisans. Although depicted in different stances, the animal nonetheless symbolises speed, strength and power.
 
 
Jaquet Droz Petit Heure Minute Horses 10

 

Hand-engraved in relief, the horse motif in 18k red gold is a perfect showcase of the artisanal savoir-faire of the manufacture. In the Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute 41mm, it stands prominently against the mother-of-pearl dial which, also hand-engraved and patinated, depicts a scene from the Great Wall of China – a metaphor for longevity perhaps?

 

Jaquet Droz Petit Heure Minute Horses

Jaquet Droz Petit Heure Minute Horses 1

 

Every last detail on the magnificent mustang was captured with stunning likeness, especially the creature’s eyes. Indeed, the eyes are always the most difficult element to portray with perfection. Only when done right do they brim with life. Immortalised in a magnificent 18k red gold case, the watch also has an exhibition case back which would delight the art aficionado as it showcases an oscillating weight meticulously crafted in white mother-of-pearl with a hand-engraved and patinated 22k red gold Great Wall of China applique. Only 88 pieces will be produced.

 

Jaquet Droz Petit Heure Minute Horses 11

 

Featuring miniature painting on an ivory grand feu enamel dial, the next model expresses power, strength and freedom with not one but two robust Arabian thoroughbreds galloping across the plains. The Arabian thoroughbred is one of the oldest breeds of horses and long considered the most beautiful in the world. In the Petite Heure Minute 39mm, this timepiece in 18k red gold is also limited to 88 pieces only.

Jaquet Droz Petit Heure Minute Horses 8

 

The oscillating weight of this model had also been painstakingly hand-engraved with a horse motif. Collectors familiar with the artistic mastery of Jaquet Droz or watch newbies alike will swoon at the amount of detail the artisans manage to capture in spite of the minuscule confines of the 22k white gold rotor.

 

Jaquet Droz Petit Heure Minute Horses 9

 

The final creation in this trio of timepieces is the Petite Heure Minute 43mm in 18k red gold featuring a wild horse motif in low-relief hand-engraving. What’s particularly alluring about this model is the use of champlevé enamel – a first for Jaquet Droz – for the horse’s mane and tail. On a base of black grand feu enamel, the horse is prominently portrayed in 22k red gold. Poised at an indomitable stance, the confidence and strength it asserts cannot be mistaken for anything else. Like the previous two models, only 88 pieces of this watch will be produced.

 

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Jaquet Droz Eclipse Onyx Luxury Watch

Jaquet Droz Eclipse Onyx Watch

Jaquet Droz Eclipse Onyx Luxury Watch

One of the latest watch models from the famous watchmaker is called Jaquet Droz Eclipse Onyx Watch. The elegant timepiece has its dial made out of black onyx.

The most interesting features of the watch include the moon-phase complication beautifully illustrated through 8 star-shaped motif and one moon motif. Together they create a picture of moon surrounded by stars.
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jaquet droz petite heure dragon watch

Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Dragon

jaquet droz petite heure dragon watch

The Swiss watch maker brand Jaquet Droz is celebrating the Chinese New Year with the Petite Heure Minute Dragon.

Clearly intended for the Chinese market, this is a limited edition of 88 pieces featuring a painted scene of two imperial dragons fighting over a pearl.

They are set against an ivory background of Grand Feu enamel. Subtle touches of red enhance the powerful imagery of the drawing.
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