Jaquet Droz unveils showstopping pocket watch to mark 280th anniversary
The jewelled animated timepiece is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece
How does one of the world's most avant-garde Swiss watch brands mark 280 years of bespoke horology? With a single watch. Celebrating the 280th anniversary of watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz's eponymous brand, Jaquet-Droz has released an opulent – and wholly unique – Parrot Repeater Pocket Watch. With just one single piece available in the world, the watch was created at the brand’s studio in La Chaux-de-Fonds and retails for a cool £1m.
The intricate, animated dial depicting a naturalist scene with the parrot taking centre stage in homage to the founder's beloved birds, which have been used throughout the brand's history and most notably in its 2012 Bird Repeater range. The repeater movement is a charming animation, with four different birds moving independently. The left-hand side bird moves its entire body, while its partner on the right wiggles its head. A first chick hatches from its egg as its sibling hops back and forth.
The piece – which took a total of 97 days to create – showcases a range of impressive artisan techniques, including miniature painting to produce the vivid colours of the vegetation, miniature engraving to add relief and depth to each of the motifs, and gold appliqué on the tree trunk, birds and nest, hand applied to the dial.
A macaw is shown on the case back in Grand Feu enamel painting decorated with spangles using real enamel, ground by hand into a fine powder and mixed with oil rather than water as in traditional pigments. This exclusive preparation produces a miniature painting that is fired in a kiln as with Grand Feu enamel. A protective coating of flux (translucent enamel) is applied to the work before firing it again.
Ahead of its sale, the piece was first unveiled as part of a presentation at this year’s Baselworld, at which Jaquet Droz also debuted The Grande Seconde Moon Black Enamel timepiece, paying homage to the complex choreography linking the Earth to Sun and Moon to Earth.