To celebrate its 280th anniversary, Jaquet Droz has produced a one-of-a-kind minute repeater that represents the entire spectrum of the maison’s craftsmanship. Say hello to the stunning Parrot Repeater Pocket Watch that carries on the long tradition of automata originally established by founder Pierre Jaquet-Droz.
The name Jaquet Droz has been linked with the creation of automata for centuries now. As far back at the second half of the 18th century, Jaquet Droz produced these beautiful automata for European aristocracy and the Imperial Courts of China. More recently, the Charming Bird wristwatch – featuring a miniature singing bird under a domed crystal in a 47-mm-diameter case – won the Mechanical Exception prize at the 2015 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) awards.
The Parrot Repeater Pocket Watch depicts an animated naturalist scene. The parrot is a recurring motif for Jaquet Droz having chirped throughout history in the brand’s celebrated Bird Repeater automata. The macaw was chosen for the beauty of its colorful plumage.
At the heart of the composition, an adult pair watches over its two chicks. Each of the family of five is animated: the bird on the left hand side moves its entire body; its partner on the right wiggles its head.
The first chick hatches from its egg, while its sibling hops back and forth. This family grouping is set in a lush jungle of vines and hibiscus. A bird of paradise is visible, and a tiger pauses for a drink at the foot of an animated waterfall. Another tiger can be spotted at 6 o’clock, at the bottom of a mother-of-pearl dial upon which two gold hands keep time.
According to Christian Lattman, CEO of Jaquet Droz, it was important to bring together the entire family of Jaquet Droz decorative techniques in the creation of this timepiece. “This was such a great opportunity for our craftsmen to work together on a project. They all have exceptional skills but to bring it all together in a seamless fashion was the biggest challenge of this project,” he said.
Miniature painting is used to produce the vivid, lush colors of the vegetation. Miniature engraving adds relief and depth to each of the motifs. The tree trunk, birds and nest are gold appliqués, painted and then applied by hand to the dial. The rim of the red gold case is the stage for traditional gem-setting.
The case is protected by two covers. A macaw is depicted on the case back in Grand Feu enamel painting decorated with spangles. This technique uses real enamel - ground by hand into a fine powder and mixed with oil rather than water - instead of using pigments. The miniature painting is fired in a kiln as with Grand Feu enamel.
The artist then applies the spangles by hand. A protective coating of flux (translucent enamel) is applied to the work before firing it again. The entirety of the painting is then hand-polished.The dial cover is adorned with vines and tropical foliage produced in Grand Feu enamel and set with gemstones.
Both covers can be opened individually by a dual case-spring mechanism inside the pendant. Positioned at 12 o’clock –thus allowing the watch to be suspended on a chain– this mechanism contains two patented Jaquet Droz inventions: the method of opening each of the covers, and the crown positioned at 12 o’clock, which is a first for Jaquet Droz in this type of automaton.
The hand-wound movement comprises 668 components and includes an automaton with minute repeater and cathedral gongs. A pull-out piece positioned on the case at 9 o’clock is used to activate the automata as well as the chimes that ring the hours, quarter-hours and minutes. The pocket watch is presented in a hand-painted box, inside which the timepiece twirls freely from a red gold chain. The watch is priced at million Swiss Francs (excluding tax).