To celebrate the new Chinese Year of the Rat, some high-end watchmakers have created special editions depicting some form of the resourceful rodent. Elizabeth Doerr takes a look at eight of them.
Ian Skellern still remembers the sense of awe he felt when he had the opportunity to watch and listen to a recently restored centuries-old Jaquet Droz singing bird. The animation was compelling, and the quality of the birdsong sound was incredible. But as impressive a feat he thought that full-sized eighteenth-century Jaquet Droz singing bird clock was, shrinking that mechanical technology to wristwatch size is just mind-blowing. As The Naked Watchmaker, Peter Speake-Marin, highlights here.
Only Watch by Christie’s will be held in Geneva on November 9, 2019, and a surprisingly high number of skeleton watches are among the 50 unique pieces for sale. Skeletonizing is a technical and aesthetic art that allows for fascinating insights into the movements’ inner workings. Which pieces might you be interested in bidding on?
If you are into watches and in the New York area, you’ll want to check out WatchTime New York held in Manhattan’s stylish Gotham Hall on Saturday and Sunday, 25-26 October, 2019. Here Sabine Zwettler highlights a few of her favorite pieces on show there.
Jaquet Droz released a brand-new automaton masterpiece in the spring of 2019 called the Magic Lotus, which uses the theme of the “zen garden” as the basis of a brand-new complex animation. The mechanics are expertly hidden beneath a tapestry of artistic crafts, creating a soothing scene exquisitely capturing the tranquility of the Japanese garden.
Elizabeth Doerr is partial to the use of meteorite in watches because it’s literally the heart of a shooting star; when she gazes at a meteorite dial, she sees a tamed piece of heaven catching the time as it passes. Here she highlights five watch brands also seduced by the beauty of meteorite that made their debuts in 2019.
As the Swatch Group has now left Baselworld – and this appears to be a permanent thing – we discuss the very first Time to Move event consisting of the Swatch Group’s six premium brands Breguet, Blancpain, Jaquet Droz, Glashütte Original, Harry Winston, and Omega. The event comprised almost 200 journalists from 21 countries, which traveled between the brands’ Swiss factories. Jump on the bus for a Swiss (S)watch tour with Elizabeth Doerr and Martin Green.
To celebrate Jaquet Droz’s 280th anniversary, the brand wanted something very special: the unique piece Parrot Repeater Pocket Watch features miniature painting, oven-fired enamel painting, hand-engraving, bas relief engraving, paillonné, and gem setting. Every visible surface has been lovingly attended to in a rich pallet of arts and crafts. Job done!
Despite seeing aventurine in six new wristwatches at SIHH 2018 – more than the number of new tourbillons Elizabeth counted – it remains a decorative artisanal element used only by luxury watchmakers in small series or unique pieces for its beauty and decorative properties. While there is some public uncertainty about the origin of aventurine, it continues to add mysterious shine and scintillating glamour to watches. Here is what aventurine really is and where it comes from.
The Matterhorn is the premier symbol of Switzerland with its nearly symmetrical, pyramid-like peak ranging above the Alps and overlooking the town of Zermatt. And the dial of the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Moon Serpentine is carved right from Matterhorn rock. Elizabeth Doerr provides us with the how and why.