Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph

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Jaquet Droz updates its Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph with a new Black Onyx dial and it looks exceptional. Perhaps not the most sought after brand in today’s obsession with brand equity and residual value, Jaquet Droz provides another proposition in the line of its products. The monopusher chronograph with retrograde date is one such timepiece.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph

The Case and Dial

Cased in stainless steel, the watch measures 43 mm in diameter and 14.83 mm in height. As mentioned, it is equipped with an onyx dial which has a mirror finish with a texture that sits between lacquer and grand feu enamel.

An hour sub dial lies at a displaced 1 o’clock position, with a metal ring overlay to mark its boundary. This is an additional complexity to add to a stone dial, which either requires a precision cut-out on the flat stone and a complex appliqué to secure the ring. Working with a high gloss material that’s prone to scratches and other defects also represents a challenge.

Contrasting numerals are pad-printed onto the dial with a fine and crisp texture, with enough volume to the ink so that the print is not too flat. A red tipped date pointer hand is used to show the difference between the running seconds hand. At this point it is good to note the subtle complication – the retrograde date. Upon reaching the 31st date of each month, the date hand sweeps backwards in a retrograde to the 1st. The movement is smooth and very satisfying to observe.

As for the case, it is a typical round case with a convex bezel. The case is polished throughout for a classic look. The crown is onion shaped, with the monopusher button at its tip. It is water resistant to 30 meters.

The Movement

The Jaquet Droz 26M5R caliber, an automatic monopusher chronograph with column wheel, is the driving force—revealed through a sapphire crystal case back. To show more of the movement, a skeletonized rotor is used, compensated in weight using red gold instead of steel. The movement design suggests a vertical clutch column wheel movement, and takes its roots from the Frederic Piguet 1185, now made by Blancpain.

The movement is finely finished corresponding to its pricepoint, with Cotes de Genève applied to each bridge, perlage on the plates and polished bevelled edges. These traditional finishes, which today combine with technologies such as the silicon escapement help increase precision, whiel being unaffected by magnetism and temperature variations.

The movement house 40 hours power reserve and beats at 21,600 VPH.

Concluding thoughts

Priced at US$21,000, the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph in Onyx is on the high side for a steel chronograph. The unique complication of a monopusher retrograde date with a stone dial are possibly priced in. In and of itself, the watch is fun and unusual enough without being ridiculous. The dial makes the watch stand out and is very attractive in the flesh.

If one is agnostic to brand equity and subscribe to the buy what you love mantra, then this piece is an excellent choice for him. A collector that likes a classical style, but wants the convenience of an automatic movement, yet with the novelty of a displaced dial and a monopusher retrograde date complication.


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