The annual Baselworld is a legendary showcase for some of the world’s most luxurious watch and jewellery designs; a display of the absolute finest craftsmanship, highest quality materials, and most innovative ideas in the industry today. Although names like Rolex, Harry Winston and IWC Schaffhausen spring to mind when many of us think about the top brands in the field, one of the under-the-radar stars of this year’s showcase was Jaquet Droz, a luxury Swiss watchmaker dating back to 1738.
Founded by Pierre Jaquet Droz, who in the C.18th pioneered the ‘haute horlogerie’ jewellery watch, his namesake brand today continues to handcraft history-making pieces using time-honoured, traditional methods. While Jacquet Droz is lesser known than many of its sister Swiss brands, its exclusivity and elusiveness is precisely what those in the know find so appealing – in addition to its regular collection, JD also specialises in bespoke work, creating artful one-off and limited edition pieces, as well as working with clients to craft exquisite custom dial designs.
Having long had a signature aesthetic featuring off-centered displays and sophisticated decorative arts, JD creates models that beautifully blur the line between ‘watch’ and ‘jewellery’. At this year’s Baselworld, the ‘Charming Bird’ timepiece, part of the Les Ateliers d’Art collection and the first singing bird automata wristwatch in the world, wowed audiences with the sheer intricacy of detail. The exact reproduction of this miniature songbird – which perches delicately beneath the dial and has the ability to turn, flap its wings, and open its beak to chirp – serves as both a stunning revival of the traditional automaton and a tribute to the founder himself.
For the less whimsically-inclined, there are more classic options to consider. From the 2013 collection, the reinvented Grande Heure GMT presents two time zones effortlessly with an oversized face, 18 carat red gold and an alligator leather strap, while the iconic Quantieme Perpetuel Eclipse displays not only the time but also the retrograding moon cycles in the night sky. For the ladies, the refined and opulent Lady 8 timepiece features a bezel set with 128 diamonds and a ring set with 148 diamonds, as well as a white pearl at 12 o’clock and white mother of pearl cabochon.
Elsewhere, other collections reflect various personal experiences in Jaquet Droz’s own life – the Elegance Paris collection is a feminine tribute to the Age of Enlightenment when he travelled frequently to the city of light; and Majestic Beijing is an ode to the Chinese emperor and Imperial Court dignitaries who collected JD pieces during the C.18th. The Legend Geneva collection bridges old-fashioned traditions with modern day aesthetics, and boasts perhaps the most iconic model – the Grande Seconde, with its large, off-centre seconds subdial, and which comes in a variety of materials and finishes. It is also the most customisable piece, with bespoke options including setting the dial or base with precious and semi stones, resulting in a truly prestigious, luxurious timepiece that’s unique to you. Haute!http://www.jaquet-droz.com