Jaquet Droz’s Petite Heure Minute Butterfly Journey: A Unique Horological Flip Book
I cannot say that I have ever seen this concept in watchmaking before: a unique set of wristwatches whose dials act like scenes from a flip book.
So “simple,” yet so elegant and effective.
Wait. It’s not that simple. Not by a long shot. But it is an elegant and effective way to catch our attention.
Two sets of Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute models comprising eight watches each depict a beautiful butterfly as it flutters from flower to flower, starting on the left side of the spacious enamel dial and ending on the right side.
The roomy enamel dials seem like the blank pages of a book, ready to be imprinted by this story of nature dreamt up by painters and engravers hard at work within the artisans’ workshop at the Jaquet Droz factory.
The artisans paint a colorful butterfly sculpted in red gold, which contrasts wonderfully with the intense blue of champlevé enamel wings as the ethereal creature goes about its business of gathering food among a spray of feijoa flowers (on the red gold version).
The butterfly alights, and the dial of the next sumptuous red gold watch picks up the scene as the delicately enameled lepidoptera flutters toward the next spray of bright flowers.
On the white gold version, which sparkles like water in bright sunlight thanks to 264 diamonds on the bezel and the case, the color of the butterflies is slightly less intense. The bright hues having been traded for a pale green to match the leaves of enameled flowers that have now become peonies.
Every detail mimics nature, pleasing the eye and tricking the senses into thinking – or hoping – that the butterflies could be real.
The symbolism of the butterfly
The butterfly is often used to embellish Jaquet Droz timepieces. This dates back to a motif discovered in an old book about Jaquet Droz. The Draughtsman, Pierre Jaquet Droz’s legendary eighteenth-century automaton, was originally programmed to draw a scene involving Cupid driving a chariot pulled by a butterfly.
Butterflies allegorically stand for a number of elements: beauty, fragility, and the transitory nature of each moment in time. In various cultures, the butterfly represents the soul. The ephemeral creature can also signify metamorphosis.
In the modern era, butterflies have also inspired technologies like nanotechnology (see Revelation’s amazing dial transitioning technology, for example).
The Butterfly Journey fits perfectly with every one of these lighthearted, soulful, spiritual thoughts in the most elegant and beautiful manner.
For more information, please visit www.jaquet-droz.com.
Case: 43 mm, red gold or white gold set with 264 diamonds (1.99 ct)
Movement: automatic Jaquet Droz Caliber 2653 (Blancpain base) with twin spring barrels (68 hours power reserve)
Dial: ivory-colored grand feu enamel with hand-engraved and hand-painted champlevé enamel (butterfly) and miniature enamel painting (flowers)
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 8 of each of the 8 butterfly position models in each color
Price: 57,000 Swiss francs (red gold), 61,800 Swiss francs (white gold with diamonds)