My love of aventurine inspired me to write about this particular limited edition version of the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon – which unsurprisingly is known as the Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine ref. J013014270 (as you’ll see in a moment, a name that is a bit ironic). Limited to just 28 pieces, this is an interestingly decorative version of one of the most simple and elegant tourbillon watches available.
aBlogtoWatch first covered the Pierre Jaquet-droz Watches Replica Grande Second Tourbillon here, back in 2012. Rather than a 43mm wide case, the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine is smaller, at 39mm wide. That makes it sort of “uni-sex,” although this style and size is popular in Asia, a region where Jaquet Droz is rather successful. So while the diamonds and mother-of-pearl are a bit feminine for some Western male tastes, I wouldn’t go ahead and assume that this is a woman’s watch. It is in fact marketed as a men’s model, I believe.
So let’s get the name part out of the way, since I tend to harp on nomenclature (as you probably already know). While this watch is clearly part of the Jaquet Droz Wrist Watch Replica Grande Seconde collection, it is mislabeled, as it does not have a “grand second” hand typical of the rest of the collection, but rather a juxtaposed dial, where the hour and minute hands are where the seconds hand would be. Where the hour and minute hands normally are on Grande Seconde models, the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine has an exposed tourbillon – which doubles as a second indicator. I feel like I am repeating myself, since I essentially made the same remarks two years ago.
I’ve always liked the simplicity of the Grande Seconde Tourbillon, but the story is different here. What you get is a 39mm wide 18k white gold case decorated with diamonds on the bezel and lugs, along with more diamonds outlining the figure eight shape on the dial. The outer part of the face is aventurine, while the inner part is mother-of-pearl. While I am not typically a diamond watch sort of guy, I do think the overall composition of the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine is rather beautiful.
Aventurine is a beautiful semi-precious stone that is actually a form of quartz. It comes in a range of colors with most aventurine rocks being green. Having said that, in watches, I’ve only ever seen the deep blue form of the mineral. What makes aventurine special for me is that the deep blue forms of the mineral, when used as a background, offer the look of space. Space, as in the night sky. There are small shiny mineral inclusions in aventurine that sparkle like stars against the deep sky blue. When watches wish to have a background that looks like space, aventurine is often used.
Other examples of aventurine stone used in men’s watches are rare, but notable. We first covered Blu watches back in 2009 which made rich use of blue aventurine. More recently, the hit Midnight Planetarium watch by Van Cleef & Arpels also used aventurine as a starry watch face. As you can see, the quartz mineral works really well for that, and while it isn’t meant to look like space on the Jaquet Droz Watches Replica Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine, it does make for an excellent frame for the time and tourbillon. More so, there is a piece of aventurine placed on the rotor, visible through the sapphire crystal caseback of the watch over the automatic movement.
It is not the case that somebody can only look at an antique pocket watch and instantly know how it was created. So much technique was lost over the ages – even in those cases once the tools and perhaps even technical drawings are readily available. It may be the epitome of a first-world problem (or even “Swiss dilemma,” as I call it), however there are people from the watch and luxury industry in general who devote much of their time and professions to learning how people made things in the past.This search for lost techniques and processes to create art really began in the world of restoration. People necessary to restore old art to appear newer again, and in a number of cases there aren’t a great deal of clues to go by. Autodidacts of the very brilliant caliber have been able to reinvent some amazing things. In the watch industry, where “old” is often the new “new,” the soul of rediscovering the past is a deep part of the culture of many brands. Maybe especially at companies including Jaquet Droz whose namesake expired a couple hundred years ago.Going back to the watch, the face that frames the figure eight-style dials is decorated with what they call a paillonnée enameling technique. Here we have a surface that is textured, painted, and then set with a series of solid gold “paillons” that together make an appealing geometric pattern. These small gold appliques are currently produced in house by Jaquet Droz, as nobody else apparently has got the skills to make them more. In most likelihood, traditional ones from the past were produced using a casting method. Jaquet Droz also admits that a number of their initial contemporary paillonnée enameling watches use original paillons from the past they were able to recoup in a variety of manners. Eventually, they had to produce new ones and now do this in-house in small batches.I’ve personally seen Jaquet Droz’s little, albeit impressive “artistic technique” studio that resembles a combination between a research and development lab and an art recovery studio. Approaches and styles are analyzed to see about the ideal method of recreating this and other missing art which we can appreciate in brand new watches. It is a good deal of small details, but something worth knowing about when thinking about an watch priced at over $100,000. That’s a lot of cash, but there are definitely worse ways to spend it to a luxury timepiece.