Opened about a year ago on Post Street in what can be easily called the luxury and watch district of San Francisco, the Tourbillon Boutique is the Swatch Group’s flagship store in the Bay Area and in Silicon Valley. In no time, the staff there has already organized various excursions for watch lovers, such as watching the Omega-sponsored Kiwi boat take on Oracle’s Team America for this year’s America’s Cup competition. While the Omega America’s Cup events were associated with a media frenzy and blitz that you can and should expect for a worldwide competition, the event I want to mention here is the opposite. A special, intimate, exclusive evening with Jaquet-Droz. Another one of the Swatch Group’s sub-brands with a long history and tradition making some of the finest and most poetic timepieces available today.
Connected to the case is one of Jaquet Droz’s most excellent rolled alligator straps in a deep blue to match the aventurine on the dial. What I love about the polished leather appearance is that there’s not any stitching on the outside, which I happen not to like in most cases – particularly on more formal or dress watches. Restricted to just 28 bits, I am rather fond of the pretty looks of this ref. My only remaining question is whether it would find a spot on my wrist… and to that I said “possibly on the ideal night and under the right skies” (wow, which came out so French!) . He irony of this Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantieme watch was that it was originally published in steel, as a lower-priced version for the high-end brand. This was back in 2011, and we provided a review of the steel Jaquet Droz Grande Second Quantieme watch here. For 2014, Jaquet Droz releases some new versions of this “calendar” (quantieme) version of its Grande Seconde watch in gold as well as with tooth dials.More so, the 2014 Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantieme Ivory Enamel watches feature brand new moves which Jaquet Droz will use to help distinguish their timepieces. Jaquet Droz is part of the Swatch Group and obtained high-end movements from the group, but starting with this new group, the movements will be a lot simpler with improved specs and an improved visual aesthetic.So let me start by discussing the moves used in the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantieme Ivory Enamel watches. Both the larger and smaller diameter variations of the watch will have exactly the same movement, which may have an automated rotor at a metal to match the case (either 18k reddish or white gold). The movement is the Jaquet Droz caliber 2660Q2. P automatic using a silicon hair spring and dual power reserves. The motion works at 4Hz (28,800 bph) and has a power reserve of 68 hours. The decoration is impressively nice along with the work on the automatic rotor is very fantastic. This is really the leadership Jaquet Droz needed to go so as to help position not their layouts, but their movements for the luxury customer.
While I was not very familiar with the brand I jumped at the opportunity, as I am local and I recalled the fascinating post that Ariel did last year about the brand’s history in creating various automatons (mechanical computers) that predates Babbage’s mechanical computer and were used to charm the European royalty in the 18th century. As is common for such events, once I arrived at the boutique, the evening started with a champagne reception and hors d’oeuvres. However, the star of the welcome reception was getting to watch Heidi work on a Jaquet-Droz (JD) hand-painted enamel dial. Bending over a microscope, the artist of the evening was painfully working the lines of an opal white dial that included two Bengal tigers. Interrupted a few times by the other JD employees, she would smile and allow some of the guests (including me) to watch through the viewfinder and admire the details of her painting. Little did we know that tables were being set with dials and paints so we could each have a go at playing artist for the night.
Before the fun started, a JD spokeswoman gave us a gentle introduction to the brand with some videos showing the latest watches and automatons that JD is pioneering. In particular, we could see the JD founder’s fascination with birds that have led to the creation of a unique watch with a bird on the dial that sings at the hour. This was released this year at Baselworld which Ariel covered in detail here. Other watches mentioned are the sporty annual calendar with the classic JD figure eight dial and various other modern releases.