Jaquet Droz has built a reputation for its exquisitely finished dials, and those dials were on full display at Baselworld this year. As a Swatch Group brand – the largest maker of movements in Switzerland – Jaquet Droz has also introduced its share of complicated timepieces, but it is the display of those functions and overall dial decor that really sets Jaquet apart.
The Eclipse Perpetual Calendar, for example, has a wonderfully unusual moonphase display. Against a black or ivory grand feu enamel dial, an 18k gold moon face is gradually eclipsed by an ivory or onyx-colored disc that is anchored at the end of a wand fixed with a pinion at 6 o’clock. Eight gold stars (eight, the symbol of infinity, is the brand’s favorite number) surround the moon on the dial, representing the night sky – quite dramatic on the black enamel version. The wavy gold hand on the right points to a retrograde date, while the wavy hand on the left gives the day of the week. Considering how much is going on with this dial, it is one of the most discreet and symmetrical presentations of a perpetual calendar moonphase on the market.
The Lady 8 is another example of the brand’s attention to dial finish and decoration – and another manifestation of its lucky number. The highlight is a large pearl or gemstone set in the top half of the eight, which moves, so the wearer can play with it. The double dial is surrounded by a swirl of gemstones set into the bezel. Pictured here is my favorite, the “Paris” version, in rose gold with a dial engraved in a scroll/bird pattern, a case set with brown garnets and a gold pearl in the upper loop.
Finally, “The Loving Butterfly” is evidence of Jaquet’s fearless approach to dial treatments unlike any others. It depicts a cherub in a carriage being driven by a butterfly, inspired by an archival drawing of an automata created by the brand in the 18th century, a tribute to natural history and travel. It is a limited edition of 28 pieces.