Here's something you might not have known about Swiss watchmaker Jaquet Droz. Its founder Pierre Jaquet-Droz was a celebrated watchmaker and automaton maker in the 18th century whose elaborate clockworks and machines captivated the world’s royal family so much that Jaquet-Droz was the first Swiss horologist to have been invited by the Chinese emperor to bring his creations to the imperial court.
The modern-day Jaquet Droz brand, now owned by the Swatch Group, continues to draw on its Far East heritage, regularly unveiling new models that depict the animals on the Chinese zodiac calendar, as well as complications that follow the lunar calendar year.
This year, the Swiss watchmaker released the Petite Heure Minute Thousand Year Lights, a dazzling, decorative masterpiece with a dial depicting pastoral blooms underneath an off-centre subdial that tells the time at 12 o’clock.
The master craftsmen at Jaquet Droz’s atelier again drew on ancestral Asian techniques to create this enchanting artistic timepiece. The flowery landscape is inspired by the “Najeon Chilgi” method, a highly regarded technique from Korea that involved mother-of-pearl encrusted lacquer, and often found on jewellery boxes and decorative plates. To reproduce these shimmering flowers in miniature on the 35mm and 39mm diameter cases are a display of sheer mastery.
The mother-of-pearl is first lacquered, then polished, before engravers painstakingly bring out the minute accents through hand painting and sculpting, allowing hints of colour to shine through when the light touches them.
The Petite Heure Minute Thousand Year Lights is available in five versions in red or white gold cases, with diamonds set onto the bezel or without. Each model is limited to 28 pieces.
Click here to find out more about the timepiece.