Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Chronograph Ivory Enamel Limited Edition
A surprisingly elegant solution to hosting a chronograph on board the Grande Seconde.
The elegant figure eight that graces the dial of the Grande Seconde collection has proved particularly flexible when it comes to incorporating complications. So far this year we have seen several complications join the Grande Seconde family, including a dual time… But the most surprising was the monopusher chronograph with an “off-off-centred” display. While we’ve already looked at the non-limited steel editions, Jaquet Droz is also unveiling another limited model, this time in gold and with a superb ivory enamel dial – and a few other differences too!
Side-by-side below, the steel and the gold versions of the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Chronograph:
The gold Grande Seconde Chronograph watch we are looking at today runs on exactly the same movement as its three steel counterparts, but reverts to a more traditional “upright” figure-eight display and crown at 3 o’clock. By realigning the intersecting circles that comprise the figure eight and relocating the crown/pusher to a more conventional position, the chronograph reverts to more classic Grande Seconde terrain. The innate elegance of this gold model and the ingenious solutions to relay the elapsed times of a chronograph without altering the basic spirit of the Grande Seconde are remarkable achievements.
SAME ELEMENTS, DIFFERENT RESULTS
It’s funny how playing with exactly the same elements and different finishes can produce such diverse results. If you look at the two interpretations of the chronographs (steel here and gold) side by side, you can see that the main pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are identical but their arrangement is not. The three steel models with their sandblasted dials, oblique counters and crown at 5 o’clock, feel slightly more contemporary.
This 18k red gold model with its old-school Grand Feu ivory enamel dial and vertical figure eight is textbook Grande Seconde. Apart from the “centred off-centred” figure eight, there are some subtle differences between the dials too: the smaller hours and minutes disc on the steel models features Roman numerals and Arabic numbers for 6, 7, and 8; the red gold model also features Roman numerals but has Arabic numbers for 5, 6 and 7. Kind of nerdy details but for beady-eyed watch fanatics, a nice touch. The gold version also has more markings (Manufacturé en Suisse and Numerus Clausus x/88), which could have been omitted for an even cleaner look.
Like many other members of the Grande Seconde family, this chronograph comes in quite a large 43mm case with a thickness of almost 15mm. The generous case diameter ensures an even more generous surface area for the Grand Feu enamel ivory dial. Beautifully polished with lovely rounded edges, the most salient difference in the case is the enlarged crown with monopusher for the chronograph functions.
The figure-eight configuration composed of two intersecting sub-dials is classic Grande Seconde. The smaller top dial is still used to indicate the hours and minutes, while the larger subsidiary dial contains the retrograde date (indicated with a red-tipped hand) and the 30-minute counter. The chronograph seconds advance around the periphery of the dial and are indicated with a long hand. All the elapsed time chronograph functions – central seconds and 30-minute counter – are picked out in blue and read with blue-steeled hands while the hours, minutes and date functions have 18k red gold hands.
If you look closely, you will see that the date ring does not get cut off at the point where the hours and minutes dial intersects the subsidiary dial, as the date hand is retrograde. Both counters are slightly recessed and have raised central discs for additional depth.
Jaquet Droz developed the Calibre 26M5R specifically for the Grande Seconde Chronograph. The movement is an automatic column-wheel chronograph, which uses some of the Piguet 1185 architecture, but which has been heavily modified. The main modification includes the change to a monopusher architecture. This single-barrel movement boasts 40 hours of power reserve. As most modern JD movements, it features a silicon balance spring and pallet horns (anti-magnetic). The view through the sapphire crystal reveals the openworked 18k red gold oscillating weight complete with its two Jaquet Droz stars and radiating Geneva stripes on the bevelled bridges.
It’s hard to believe that this Grande Seconde model actually has a chronograph complication on board. Like almost all the Grande Seconde family members – with the exception perhaps of the Skelet-One Ceramic – the chronograph respects its elegant DNA and does not stand out like a sore thumb. In fact, if it weren’t for the protruding pusher you could almost be forgiven for overlooking the chronograph. Excellent design solutions, beautiful execution and a look that is 100% Jaquet Droz.
Price and availability
The gold Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Chronograph comes on a dark blue alligator strap with an 18k red gold ardillon buckle. It is a limited edition of 88 watches and retails for EUR 29,500 (excl. taxes). More information at jaquet-droz.com.
Would prefer it in 39mm, as they offer in their other Grande Seconde models, but can’t deny it’s a very lovely piece.
This brand makes me feel poor!