Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantième 41 mm For 2020: Shifts In Perspective
There is a moment in most people’s lives when they see something familiar with new eyes and everything changes.
Perhaps it is realizing you actually love the look of a craftsman-style house or that you finally see what is so captivating in a Jackson Pollock painting.
But whether it’s falling in love with your best friend or appreciating a new culture’s cuisine, most of us have experienced a shift in perspective and come away with a deeper understanding of something.
In my experience, I tend to overlook things that don’t immediately catch my attention, only for them to be presented in a slightly different way that is like a little slap to the brain. Cars are a good example.
I have very little desire to buy an off-road SUV, a truck, or a powerful sports car. But this wasn’t always the case: growing up in the Midwest, these were goals for most teenage guys, including me.
In thinking about what I wanted after my first hand-me-down ’83 Buick Century (worst car, but super comfortable seats), I settled on a few key choices, each fitting the previously listed motorized teenage dreams. These are the cars that seemed the best choices to my then 17-year-old brain: Toyota 4-Runner, Chevy Silverado, and a Corvette. All great choices.
But then came college where practicality and frugality ruled, and a large gas-guzzling vehicle was the opposite of what I needed. With this shift in needs came a change desire and I started noticing and appreciating compact cars more and more.
I developed a strong attachment to small car styling and, in a weird turn, how apparently un-masculine they were. Coming from the rural Midwest, cars were measuring sticks for those needing to compare sizes. I never liked that cultural aspect of cars, and so a smaller and less overbearing vehicle became a beacon of avoiding “the game” altogether.
The shift happened slowly, but one day I realized that I liked small cars most, and the smaller the better. This opened up a whole world of options and eventually led me to buying a Japanese Kei car, or micro car, and it made me happier than any previous vehicle. And while I grew up with Honda Civics and Mazda Miatas, they weren’t halo cars until much later when I saw them in an entirely new light.
I’d consider that a major shift, but sometimes the shifts aren’t all that drastic. Other times it is, let’s say, appreciating a certain model of a watch, like the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde, and leaning toward one specific version like the Enamel or the Off-Centered.
But then one day a model that hadn’t previously caught your eye taps you on the shoulder and asks, “Excuse me, sir, I’m something new, would you like to see?”
With the newest iterations of the Grande Seconde Quantième, I am glad to see what Jaquet Droz has done: it opened up the Quantième to me in a whole new way.
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantième: an aesthetic size
The latest updates to the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantième focus on new aesthetic combinations mixed with a reduction in size from 43 to 41 mm, adding an intermediate size between the 39 and 43 mm options.
Since the Grande Seconde Quantième is a dress watch first and foremost, this makes sense. Large dress watches are less desirable for many collectors as the proportions feel a little out of whack. But it’s really not all about size; it’s about the whole package. Here that package is based on the date ring – hence the name “Quantième” – and how it interacts with the rest of the watch.
Since Jaquet Droz already offered a smaller option, these seven new iterations are more about providing new aesthetic directions. In past models, the tendency was to keep the dials a bit more monochrome, with the dials and date rings in the same color, if a different finish, with only contrasting hands and markers to stand out.
This is a more classic approach, and given the overall look of Jaquet Droz watches it is to be expected. But playing to your classical strengths doesn’t have to mean also playing it safe.
There have been a couple exceptions in past models, namely two versions with dials where the hour, minute, second, and date ring contrasted against the overall dial to provide a pop, though still not with much color. The new iterations for 2020 are all different and showcase a variety of contrasting elements and splashes of color.
The entire collection still feels homogeneous, but the newest versions do something the previous models didn’t: stand out on the wrist. This is a difficult task for any classical watch meant to be subtle by design.
The latest Grande Seconde Quantième iterations are still clearly classic. But the new contrast and resulting depth makes the watches more dynamic than previous versions.
New models, new risks
Change is always a slight risk, especially for brands catering to decidedly reserved tastes. But as Jaquet Droz is wont to do, it expertly adds visual energy to the models while ensuring not to stray too far from the original design.
Within the overall collection there are two main styles: one featuring pad-printed Roman and Arabic numerals with bold railroad track chapter rings, the other featuring applied hour and second markers with subtler railroad track chapter rings and a date ring with pad-printed Arabic numerals.
These new models follow that strategy, with three new versions with applied markers and four new versions with Roman numerals. But within this framework, Jaquet Droz decided that not only do the markers need to stand out, but also the date ring as well as the chapter rings, numerals, and all printing.
Whereas before the dial colors and finishes were closer to a midrange of saturation, and the printing and markers were less contrasted, the new versions feature a solid handful of dark dials and highly contrasting white printing and opposing color date rings. The lighter dial options use dark printing, with markers and date rings featuring contrasting finishes to separate them from the main dial.
Let’s go through the lot to see how they each accomplish this.
First, the versions featuring Roman numerals are all housed in red gold cases and have matching red gold date rings. This already provides a visual punch on the dial, but it gets better with the variations. One model features an ivory-colored oven-fired enamel dial, the most restrained of the bunch, and uses the red gold date ring with black pad-printed numerals and chapter rings to achieve a small visual boost. Still, this one remains the most classic of these new models and likely the easiest piece to bridge the gap with the previous versions.
The remaining three take the same approach of a beautiful oven-fired enamel dial but go for more impact with a deep navy blue, a striking burgundy, and an anthracite-colored enamel that looks almost charcoal black. These dials all feature the same red gold date ring (and matching red gold hands) but opt for white pad printing for obvious reasons.
Since earlier dials were always mid-range in saturation, the need for white printing wasn’t seen very often. But it’s that printing on these dark, colorful dials that makes these models stand out.
Standouts among standouts
All of these new versions are absolutely gorgeous, but my heart was truly grabbed by the three models featuring applied markers and encased in stainless steel. And one in particular.
In the past I always liked the Grande Seconde Quantième, but since I often love more contrast in my watches they weren’t high on my list for must-have pieces. Not so anymore.
The Quantième Silver has a blasted silver dial with dark anthracite-colored 18-karat white gold markers, date ring, and hands all matched to the pad-printed railroad track chapter ring. The subtle silver hue helps the markers and date ring really stand out, yet this is still the most subdued of this variety.
The Quantième Matte Black has – you guessed it – a matte black dial like a soft charcoal that feels similar to the anthracite-colored enamel version.
The markers and hands are all rhodium plated, and the date ring is brushed steel. This matches the case and pad-printed chapter rings, helping create strong contrast and making this piece really stand out within the collection and on the wrist.
And then we come to my favorite, the one that jumped off the screen and made me reevaluate the Grande Seconde Quantième: the “Titanium Grey” variation. As you might expect it has a blasted titanium dial, which is a warm grey edging toward just the slightest bit brown.
That warm grey is set off in the boldest way of all the new models with a bright cobalt blue markers, hands, and date ring. The assembly feels powerful and as modern as these dials may have ever looked. The pad-printed chapter rings are in black, while the numerals on the date ring are mainly white.
Altogether, the watch feels just atypical enough that it’s hard to look away. Every one of the new models are stunning, but this is the version that I’d put my money down for: it’s quirky and I love that.
Each watch features the same movement, the Jaquet Droz 2660Q2, the only difference being the rotor, which matches the red gold case for those particular models. Since the size is the same across the bunch, it really comes down to the aesthetics as the main deciding factor.
If you’ve been wanting the Grande Seconde Quantième to be a bit bolder, now is your chance to finally grab one. I would say on my list that the Titanium Grey is now tied for second place with the Grande Seconde Deadbeat Onyx and only losing out to the Grande Seconde Off-Center Onyx, my favorite of the entire collection.
That said, every one of the new pieces would make a fantastic addition to your wrist. The dark navy blue enamel is a bit of a sleeper, and both black dials are ultra clean. Even the burgundy, which is almost never a favorite of mine, is a terrific combination and just the right hue of deep red.
I often say I am a mechanics guy first and a watch guy second, but it’s releases like these that remind me why I couldn’t give watches up and why Jaquet Droz is a leader in beautiful, classic watchmaking.
Now that I’ve talked these watches up, let’s break them down!
- Wowza Factor * 8.65 The variety matched with the awesome aesthetic combinations made me do a double take!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 84.2» 825.720m/s2 With so many to choose from there are many late nights awake deciding!
- M.G.R. * 52 Solid automatic movement with silicon balance spring and pallets makes for a great choice for an everyday watch!
- Added-Functionitis * Mild The whole point of these watches is the date, and that small addition makes you need a quick dose of children’s strength Gotta-HAVE-That cream so you can keep on enjoying!
- Ouch Outline * 9.75 My wrist doesn’t bend that way! Working out can be a dangerous activity, especially when a move requires flexibility that you don’t possess. No matter, just listen to you body and understand that this decline pushup with fingers pointed down is not gonna happen. Though I’ll keep trying if it meant getting one of these on my wrist!
- Mermaid Moment * That blasted titanium with the blue, swoon! Like I said, that combo is what made me do a double take a truly give the Quantième a second chance to make a first impression!
- Awesome Total * 861 Take the new diameter of the case (41) and multiply by the number of new variations (7), then multiply by the water resistance in bar (3) for a new perspective on the awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.jaquet-droz.com/en/news/grande-seconde-quantieme.
Quick Facts Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantième 41mm
Case: 41 x 12.1 mm, red gold or stainless steel
Movement: automatic Jaquet Droz Caliber 2660Q2 with silicon balance spring and pallets, 28,800 vph/4Hz frequency, twin spring barrels for 68 hours of power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Price: $20,000 (red gold), $9,500 (steel)