Jaquet Droz In Bloom: The Astonishing Lady 8 Flower Automat
It is very nice to see a brand whose major fair launch is aimed at the female wrist. We saw Richard Mille do this at the 2015 SIHH with the RM 19-02 Tourbillon Fleur, and now Jaquet Droz surprises us at Baselworld with the Lady 8 Flower.
The Lady 8 Flower incorporates a rare mechanical element that Jaquet Droz is famous for: the automat.
Altogether, this timepiece fits perfectly with what Jaquet Droz stands for: arts and crafts fused with technology, automata, and extreme wearability. Let’s take a closer look.
The visuals of the very feminine Lady 8, like most Jaquet Droz pieces, comprise two superimposed circles resembling the numeral eight: these represent harmony, perfection, and infinity. I must reiterate once again that though many watch brands have begun to use the 8 almost ad nauseum in a multitude of ways in recent years (particularly in the number of limited edition pieces) hoping to target Asian markets where the number 8 is associated with wealth and joy Jaquet Droz does it authentically.
Right from the start of its modern-era career, the brand began basing its visuals on the shape of eight – inspired at least in part by Pierre Jaquet Droz’s original ties to China – which naturally led to the utilization of other good luck symbols like using the eight in limited edition numbers and even a four-leaf clover here and there. “Eight” has been an ingrained element at Jaquet Droz ever since its relaunch.
The larger, lower circle on a Jaquet Droz dial may at times contain some artistic element, and on the new Lady 8 Flower it is a delicate butterfly with wings outspread. You may remember a butterfly from the 2013 artisanal model called Loving Butterfly. While that timepiece is completely different in terms of its basic makeup, there is the matter of the butterfly. This is an element that alludes to Pierre Jaquet Droz, who originally “programmed” his Draughtsman automata to draw a scene involving Cupid driving a chariot pulled by a butterfly.
Depending on the version (there are two), the Lady 8 Flower’s butterfly is either painted and engraved in translucent red enamel over guilloche or set with blue sapphires against a backdrop of snow-set diamonds.
The upper “circle” is actually the mechanically interesting one: it contains a lotus flower blooming within a sapphire crystal dome.
The symbolism of the lotus flower probably needs little explaining; in short it represents serenity and poetry, particularly in Asia. Each petal of the Lady 8 Flower is individually enameled or engraved. By pressing a button, the wearer can actually cause this lotus flower to open, revealing a sparkling diamond heart.
Naturally, this technical feat represented quite a head-scratcher for Jaquet Droz’s engineers: how would they fit both an automatic movement and an automat bursting into bloom at the press of a button into one 35 mm case? Naturally, with great care and by using a domed sapphire crystal.
This very feminine, yet very technical, timepiece is available in two versions: one atelier d’art piece featuring the aforementioned butterfly and one with a butterfly set with sparkling gems.
For more information, please visit www.jaquet-droz.com/en/collections/novelties/lady-8-flower.
Case: 35 x 12.76 mm (17.60 mm with dome), red gold or white gold, set with diamonds (IF to VVSI, D to G)
Dial: 18-karat red gold with guilloche, enameled grand feu butterfly; or white gold with 227 snow-set diamonds (0.65 ct) and 54 blue sapphires (0.87 ct)
Movement: automatic Jaquet Droz Caliber 615 with silicon balance spring, platinum micro rotor; the automaton is spring-driven using power from the pushed button
Functions: hours, minutes; lotus flower automaton that opens and closes on demand (button)
Limitation: 28 pieces (red gold version); 8 pieces (white gold version)
Price: 150,000 Swiss francs (red gold with enameled butterfly); 250,000 Swiss francs (white gold with total of 6.27 ct gemstones: 148 baguette-cut diamonds, 383 brilliant-cut diamonds, 54 blue sapphires)