Jaquet Droz is one of the interesting watchmakers borne out of the Swatch Group some years ago making watches which are more focused on design and aesthetics than the movements. We liked them for their traditional design techniques and aesthetics. Like their use of enamel, of onyx and stone dials. Truth be told, they are no slouches in the movement department, and have almost always used F. Piguet movements. This year’s Baselworld 2016, for the first time, they added a complication to the Grande Seconde collection in the form of the new Jacquet Droz Grande Seconde Dual Time. The two time zones is a hint at the founder Pierre Jaquet-Droz’s reputation as a great traveler.
Pierre Jaquet-Droz was a visionary entrepreneur, inventor in an era influenced by the artistic and philosophical movements of the Age of Enlightenment. He was a great traveler, visiting the royal courts of Europe to the gates of the Forbidden City in Peking, Pierre roamed the world in the 18th century. And according to legend, he wore a watch of his birthplace, La Chaux-de-Fonds. And as he needed then, as we need now, a device to tell the time in two places at once. Thus was now born the Dual Time.
Based on the emblematic Grande Second collection, with the two off-centered dials, slightly overlapping to make a figure of eight, the new Jaquet Droz Grande Second Dual time is fitted with a new developed movement. The upper dial displays local time, and the lower seconds dial, off centered at 6 o’clock doubles up with an hours and minutes dial giving reference time…which can be set to GMT or home time.
We found the aesthetics to be quite remarkable. The Roman numerals on the upper counter and the Arabic numerals on the lower are complementary, and pleasing to look at while providing the essential distinction between local and reference time. Legibility is clear, and it is easy to distinguish the local time from the reference time.
The Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Dual Time is available in 18k red gold with an ivory double level grand feu enamel dial (S$43,000), in stainless steel with a black onyx dial with 18k white gold white gold applied rings (S$28,000), and in stainless steel with a silver opaline dial with applied ring (S$26,000). Case size is 43mm in diameter and rather comfortable on the wrist under a dress shirt.
The new movement is the Jaquet Droz 2663H24, self-winding mechanical movement. Equipped with a silicon balance spring and pallet horns, double barrel, flat bridges, 18-carat red gold oscillating weight, it has a power reserve of 65 hours and running at 28,800 bph. Movement finishing on initial examination is quite nice.
The JD 2663 is based on the F. Piguet 1150 used in Blancpain and Breguet. As F. Piguet is now absorbed under Blancpain, the movement is now caliber Blancpain 1151 and Breguet 517. The other common denominator for these three brands is that Marc Hayek is CEO of Blancpain, Breguet and Jaquet Droz.
The Piguet 1150 is a design from 1987, but is a beautiful automatic movement, well designed, robust and often well finished. As it appears here as JD 2663, it receives a very nice sunburst Geneva stripes pattern and the shape of the bridges appear to be slightly different from the source movement. The rotor is also of JD origin. The H24 nomenclature signifies that this movement is equipped with a 24 hour second timezone capability.
Our pick is the grand feu enamel version in red gold. The dial is magnificent, and truly a Jaquet Droz signature as much as the overlapping dual dials.