Jaquet Droz Grande Séconde Quantième: Blending Purity And Design
One of the first things that anyone sees when looking at a wristwatch made by Jaquet Droz for the first time is its design. This, in fact, is so outstandingly pure that there is no doubt left in the mind of the observer that the design is the overriding element of a Jaquet Droz watch.
Despite the brand’s technical virtuosity, the design of its watches remains the prevailing characteristic. And this is exactly what attracts many people to Jaquet Droz.
The Jaquet Droz dial
The number 8 has always played a big role in the modern incarnation of the brand (yes, even before the recent watch business’ explosion in China). At Jaquet Droz, the use of the number eight was conceived in the early noughties as a symbolic “lucky number” upon which to base interesting design.
Because Pierre Jaquet Droz’s company did so much business in China in the eighteenth century, the modern company chose this lucky number as just that: a lucky number (the words for “luck” and “eight” are pronounced similarly in Chinese).
The eight shape now forms the basis for many of Jaquet Droz’s special dial design characteristics, particularly the way that the subdials are put together on the dial.
This design, in fact, is a typical eight or an infinity shape. Time is infinitely displayed: the hours and minutes making their infinite rounds in the smaller, upper dial, while the seconds (hence the name “Grande Séconde”) and date (Quantième”) sharing the space in the large subdial on the bottom.
Naturally, this is the display that takes center stage on this dial. And, thus, the larger subdial emphasizes the watch’s precision. Which means: for all the love of design at this brand, its technology still plays an important role.
More on that case
The Grande Séconde Quantième is Jaquet Droz’s entry-level timepiece, which means that it comes in a stainless steel case.
But what a stainless steel case! Simplicity, sophistication, purity . . . all are embodied in this beautifully shaped case made of this noble, clean material.
This case is designed so perfectly, and is rounded in all the right places, so that a great fit is ensured no matter what size wrist you have. I have a rather small wrist, and my “sweet spot” size is usually 38 mm. The Grand Séconde Quantième measures 39 mm, but it fits much more nicely than many 38 mm watches I’ve worn.
The sapphire crystal covering the dial is of the “boxed” variety, meaning it stands above the case and fills the full width. This is especially attractive because there is no bezel – the absence of which makes the dial seem larger than it really is, lending an impression of airiness and space.
As for the dial decoration, the black color is attained by painstakingly dipping the solid metal blank already decorated with côtes de Genève in a chemical bath in such a way that the color looks deep and perfect. Naturally, this also makes the subdials and their indications just pop.
The blackness inside the scales also allows the two subdials to form a definitive 8; the scales themselves – perfectly applied so as to be flawlessly centered – are finely brushed, rhodium-plated metal, thereby creating an interesting interplay of light and texture.
The tapered date hand ends in a small, red point making the date easy to find without drawing too much attention to itself.
My favorite little element
One of my favorite elements in the detail-enamored Jaquet Droz repertoire is the double star icon found time and again in unexpected little places.
While I did expect to see the stars etched into the crown, I was as pleased as punch to also find them on two places on the deployant buckle – one of which is on the inside of the buckle, where no one will ever see it except the owner.
The other is on the button releasing the deployant holding the exceedingly comfortable leather strap, which seemed to me to be treated so as to give a rubberized impression.
Jaquet Droz uses the movements formerly known as Frédéric Piguet in almost all of its timepieces. Frédéric Piguet is, of course, now the in-house movement manufacturer for sister brand Blancpain. Thus, any movements made in the Le Brassus factory are indeed quite exclusive.
Jaquet Droz Caliber 2660Q2 uses the historic Frédéric Piguet Caliber 1150 as its base, an exceptionally aesthetic, practically ultra-flat automatic movement with a long, 68-hour power reserve thanks to twin spring barrels – which in particular means that the watch remains wound throughout the entire weekend. I can put it down Friday night after work and pick it up Monday morning on my out the door, and it will still be running. For me, that’s a major bonus.
And the beautifully decorated rotor of this movement also displays the clever little duo of stars that I like so much.
In all, I quite liked wearing Jaquet Droz’s Grande Séconde Quantième. The case and strap are exceedingly comfortable and the design is young and fresh. In fact, this would be a perfect timepiece for up-and-coming watch fans or even budding collectors and young professionals.
For more information, please visit www.jaquet-droz.com/en/collections/grande-seconde.
Case: stainless steel, 39 x 11.52 mm
Movement: automatic Jaquet Droz Caliber 2660Q2 (base Frédéric Piguet Caliber 1150), twin spring barrels for 68 hours of power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds; date
Price: €8,200 / $9,300