Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Tiger: So Lifelike You Expect It To Leap From The Dial
by Martin Green
At 43 mm, Jaquet Droz’s Petite Heure Minute is a rather large watch with a very narrow bezel, so there is plenty of space on the dial, especially as the hands rotate around a relatively modest subdial.
And that’s a good thing because it leaves plenty of space for an enamel miniature painting of a big cat that looks too good to be true.
Photorealistic, but not a photo
When I first saw the Petite Heure Minute Tiger, I thought that Jaquet Droz had used a photorealistic print on the dial.
The artisan focused on the eyes of the tiger, and its gaze is so lifelike and filled with restrained power that it is almost scary. It looks like it’s about to pounce right off the dial.
Having had the privilege of visiting Jaquet Droz’s manufacture, I know that this brand’s team of artists doesn’t work with photo prints. These are talented artists using extremely fine brushes, sometimes comprising just a single hair, to meticulously paint the tiger’s eyes and furry face under a microscope.
If you ever have the opportunity to handle one of these masterpieces, make sure to use a loupe because the effect of the tiger’s gaze is even more intense.
And a loupe reveals that the tiger’s fur comprises individual hairs, each hand-painted to perfection.
Under magnification, something else also becomes apparent: Jaquet Droz’s artists didn’t paint on just any dial, but one made of oven-fired enamel. This ups the game in terms of difficulty and adds even more depth, longevity, vitality, and beauty to the animal.
Jaquet Droz offers this glorious timepiece in two varieties. One depicts the tiger in more natural hues on an ivory-colored oven-fired enamel dial framed by a red gold case, while the other features a black oven-fired enamel dial with the tiger painted in a monochrome color scheme except for its piercing blue eyes set in a white gold case.
Which one is for you?
As is Jaquet Droz’s tradition for limited editions, there are 28 of each version of the Petite Heure Minute Tiger. Given the great detail and painstaking work required for each dial, it’s unlikely that the artists will be short of work over the coming years.
The question remains which one to get. The easy answer for those with deep enough pockets is to get both as a contrasting pair, but that’s unlikely for most. The main attraction for me is the tiger’s eyes; everything else is a bonus.
With the version in white gold, the vibrant blue eyes’ piercing gaze is chilling, while the tiger in the red gold edition stares with the fearless confidence of an animal that knows full well it’s at the top of the food chain.
The automatic Caliber 2653.P movement
I wouldn’t care if a quartz movement powered the Petite Heure Minute Tiger, but being a Jaquet Droz means that this is absolutely not the case.
The Petite Heure Minute Tiger is powered by Jaquet Droz’s automatic Caliber 2653 offering a generous power reserve of 68 hours thanks to twin mainspring barrels and a silicon balance spring and pallet fork. These silicon components are now standard on all Jaquet Droz movements.
A beautiful feature visible through the display back is the stunning gold oscillating weight. But despite the movement’s lovely finish, it’s unlikely to get the attention it deserves because of those captivating staring at you from the dial.
For more information, please visit www.jaquet-droz.com/en/watches/ateliers-d-art/petite-heure-minute-tiger.
Quick Facts Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Tiger
Case: 43 x 12.06 mm, red or white gold
Dial: hand-painted, high-fire enamel with miniature enamel painting of intensely gazing tiger
Movement: automatic Caliber 2653.P with two mainspring barrels, silicon balance spring and pallet fork, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 68-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 28 pieces in each color scheme
Price: CHF 32,700