Born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, in 1721, Pierre Jaquet Droz was a mechanical genius and a pioneer in the art of the Haute Horlogerie jewelry watch – a veritable living legend.
Today, the brand is still inspired by his dreams, his extraordinary horological masterpieces, his exceptional automatons, which include the androids entitled “The Lady Musician”, “The Writer” and “The Draughtsman”, and his quest for innovation, progress and excellence. Operating in the Haute Horlogerie segment, Montres Jaquet Droz SA excels in the art of one-off and very limited-edition items. The brand has revived traditional crafts that were disappearing: outstanding illustrations of this include its spangled dials and those of black “Grand Feu” enamel.
One of Jaquet Droz’s strengths is its ability to create custom dial designs to meet its enthusiastic clients’ requirements. Its leading model, La Grande Seconde, which draws its inspiration directly from an 18th century timepiece, can just as easily be made to measure with a dial set with precious and semi-precious stones as with a dial base decorated with prestigious minerals, dried seaweed or other specific materials. The brand’s character and refinement mark out a very special place for it in the world of prestige and luxury watchmaking.
The story of Pierre Jaquet Droz and his sons is one of the most moving in the history of Horology. Born in 1721, Pierre Jaquet Droz, master of time in the Age of Enlightenment — mechanical genius, avant-garde creator of jewellery watchmaking and composer of poetry and dreams — is one of the most fascinating figures of the period.
After a few years’ absence from the world of watchmaking, and an intermediate period marked by the presence of foreign shareholders, the brand was acquired in 2000 by the Swatch Group. It returned to its town of origin, La Chaux-de-Fonds.
More than two centuries after impressing the crowned heads of Europe, Jaquet Droz offers the early 21st century a masterpiece that, thanks to its ingenious craftsmen, brings man’s ultimate dream to life: to literally record the march of Time.
This masterpiece is containing more than 1,400 stainless steel and aluminium components, including:
— 120 ball bearings
— 50 cams, including 33 for the time writing
— 9 belts
— 27 stainless steel springs, of which 2 for the energy of the mechanism
A simple touch activates the clever mechanism: it is equipped with a stylus to mark the present time in hours and minutes. This wondrous object features a system converting analogue time — as indicated by the hands of a watch — into mechanical digital time.
Hand-winding mechanical movement, 8 days power reserve
Aluminium and glass
Dimensions (without cage)
405 x 213 x 267 mm
Almost three centuries have passed since Pierre Jaquet-Droz held the royal courts of Europe spellbound with his trio of renowned and strikingly realistic automata — The Writer, The Draughtsman and The Musician. The most astonishing of these was The Writer, because, even then, it could be programmed to produce a given sentence in a flowing script. This truly legendary automaton is considered the precursor of the computer and has been the subject of numerous scientific studies, as well as a source of inspiration for Martin Scorsese in the making of the movie “Hugo.” The desire to keep such unique expertise alive has never left the Jaquet Droz artisans. The incredible Time Writing Machine, shown to the public in 2009, is proof of this, as are more recently, in miniature, the naturalistic animations featured on the dials of two exceptional watches — The Bird Repeater and The Charming Bird.
This year, Jaquet Droz has gone a step further with “The Signing Machine,” an amazing automaton that is profound for its time. A true marvel, it uses historic cam technology but in miniature size, while its dimensions are inspired by the most emblematic object of the new millennium — the smartphone.
The Signing Machine has a 4-digit security code and can be manually wound with a mechanism activated by a lever positioned on the side of the gray and black case. This entirely mechanical, technological gem, with its contemporary, uncluttered design, is manufactured as a bespoke piece for its owner. Simply pressing twice with your finger releases a hinged arm and pen. By means of highly complex movements, driven by a set of cams that are handmade in order to produce a fluid, natural script, The Signing Machine duplicates its owner’s signature. This operation can be admired through the transparent window that reveals the internal workings. In an age dominated by digital technology, it is a testament to the unique and magical beauty of the exceptional mechanisms bearing the Jaquet Droz hallmark