JAQUET DROZ Celebrates 275 Years of Heritage Exhibition

 Jaquet Droz celebrates 275 years of heritage with an exhibition held recently for its fans to explore the extraordinary history and Art of Amazement. Jaquet Droz is one of the oldest watchmaking brands in the world, as early as in the Qing Dynasty, Jaquet Droz has earned its popularity among the Chinese royalty. The Chinese name that the brand is still using today, was granted by the famous Qing Emperor Qianlong. In 2013, Jaquet Droz celebrates the avant-garde spirit and refined taste that distinguished its founder in the past 275 years with a public exhibition of its historical masterpieces of complex mechanical constructions and exquisite decorations from its beginnings in the 18th century to the present.
At the height of the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century, mechanical genius Pierre Jaquet-Droz set up his first workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland in 1738. His manual dexterity, meticulous nature and serious approach to his craft came rapidly to the attention of a demanding aristocratic clientele. In 1758, he embarked on a journey to the Spanish court, where he left the Spanish King and his court speechless by his masterful creations. Upon his return to La Chaux-de-Fonds, he devotes himself exclusively to making watches, clocks and his famous automata. In 1773, Pierre Jaquet-Droz and his son held presentations for their famous humanoid automata, The Writer, The Draughtsman and The Musician that amused all the royal courts of Europe.
At the same time, Jaquet Droz became the first watch brand to be imported to China. The Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty had developed a passionate interest in European mechanical watches and automata. Several automata and pocket watches are still carefully preserved in the Palace Museum in Beijing today. At the upcoming exhibition, a precious collection of historical Jaquet Droz mechanical creations, such as pocket watches, wristwatches and automata will be on display to stun the eyes of their visitors.
To celebrate the 275th anniversary of Jaquet Droz this year, the brand has created a Numerus Clausus commemorative timepiece, The Loving Butterfly. The timepiece, rich in unique Jaquet Droz features, pays a resounding tribute to the brand’s origins, its values, and its unwavering sense of creativity by unveiling a perfect illustration of its historic heritage. The motif on the watch’s dial originates from a sketch drawn by the famous Pierre Jaquet-Droz automaton The Writer: a precious cherub, a symbol of love, glides across the hours, driven by a majestic butterfly. This never-replicated-before motif has now been reinterpreted on The Loving Butterfly with a wealth of color delicately applied to a background of Grand Feu enameling, a signature Jaquet Droz craftsmanship. This very special 275th anniversary commemorative wristwatch, limited to 28 pieces, is one of the highlights in BASELWORLD this year.
For many years, whether on the canvas where the painter brings his work into being or the dial where the sculptor applies his relief decoration, the Jaquet Droz workshops have paid homage to birds and brought them to life. Today, Jaquet Droz adds a new dimension to mankind's age-old dream of flying and pushes back the boundaries of Haute Horlogerie with two exceptional timepieces, The Bird Repeater and The Charming Bird.
Conceived by the craftsmen of the House, The Bird Repeater blends the history, know-how and imaginative power of Jaquet Droz in a way as precious as it is original. It is an authentic automaton, with a cam system inherited directly from the century of Enlightenment, and it calls upon the resources of all the decorative crafts. The Bird Repeater represents two Blue Tits, symbolic of Pierre Jaquet-Droz’s native Jura region. To achieve the realism of this scene no less than eight different animation mechanisms act in synchronism: the movement of the birds' heads and wings, the movement of the fledglings, the hatching of the egg, the sparkle of the flowing water. Jaquet Droz designers, watchmakers, engravers and painters have worked together to produce this remarkable masterpiece, a Numerus Clausus of only 8 pieces worldwide.
The Charming Bird is another modern classic that combines the renowned Jaquet Droz automata know-how and the craft of Haute Horlogerie. This ground-breaking timepiece, for which a patent has been filed, differs from its historic predecessors in its modern, pared-down esthetic, in which we find a miniature singing bird with a determinedly contemporary look featuring black, charcoal-gray and transparent elements. Every part of its body, from its feathers to its beak and even its eyes, forms an exact reproduction of the birds’ delicate proportions and magnificent radiance. And Jaquet Droz goes even further: thanks to an amazingly intricate mechanism, the bird turns, flaps its wings, moves its head and tail, and opens its beak to chirp. This timepiece, produced in a limited edition of 28 pieces, is an ode to the rich creativity of the past and the promises of today that encapsulates the fabulous history of Jaquet Droz.

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