Launched during Time to Move 2019, the Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph was Jaquet Droz’s most important new model of last year. To integrate the chronograph complication and not disrupt the iconic figure-eight display on the dial, a new movement was developed for the model. First offered with classic blue, grey or silver dial options, JD now adds its unique touch to this handsome watch with one its famous stone dials. Meet the new Black Onyx version of the Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph Monopusher.
Jaquet Droz is one of the most identifiable brands in Swatch Group’s portfolio. Certainly, the most striking creations are those that house crazy complex automata. But there’s more to the brand, like the use of precious materials (enamel, in multiple colours) and rare stones to craft dials. And of course, there’s this inimitable ‘grande seconde’ display that has been at centre stage since the brand was revived in the 1990s and acquired by Swatch Group in 2000. Inspired by a 1785 pocket watch attributed to Pierre Jaquet Droz, the position of the indication creates an original figure eight that has become the hallmark of the brand.
Retaining the iconic 8
As we know, implementing this design in a watch that indicates only the hours, minutes and seconds is pretty easy – the result is this. Also, adding complications such as a moon phase or a dual time indication inside or around the sub-seconds dial can be done in a very elegant way. However, last year’s challenge was to implement a chronograph into this 8-shaped dial without relying on the traditional bi- or tri-compax layout found in most chronograph watches. Certainly, this isn’t the first chronograph by Jaquet Droz, however, it is the first to really blend this function into the rest of the collection and to respect what makes a Jaquet Droz a genuine Jaquet Droz.
The solution found in the Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph was to rely on the sub-seconds dial as the way to animate the display and to keep the iconic figure-eight composition intact. As such, the time is still indicated in a counter on the upper part. Then comes the chronograph. The elapsed seconds are displayed centrally with a thin elongated hand. What’s usually the position for the seconds (grande seconde) is now home to the 30-minute chronograph counter, in turn surrounded by a date-by-hand indication. Clevel, respectful of the brand’s codes, extremely well integrated. Another novelty is the presence of a seconds track on the periphery of the dial, a necessity to read elapsed times.
To power this truly JD display, the brand relies on an in-house calibre, an automatic monopusher – the chronograph is started, paused and reset by a single push-button into the crown – with column wheel and vertical clutch. The movement, visible under a sapphire crystal, beats at 3Hz and features a balance spring and pallet horns in anti-magnetic silicon. Its power reserve is a bit too short, however, at 40 hours. The finishing is top-notch, with a solid red gold openwork oscillating weight, Geneva stripes radiating from the centre of the balance and polished bevels on the bridges.
Now in black onyx
The main novelty for 2020 is the introduction of this Black Onyx version of the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph. Just like other stainless steel models, the display is tilted and the crown is positioned at 4 o’clock. The case remains the same, with a 43mm diameter and a robust height of 14.83mm – the case wears smaller than you would expect, thanks to ergonomic lugs. It is worn on a rolled-edge handmade black alligator strap and closed by a stainless steel folding clasp.
The dial is the main attraction here. Crafted from black onyx, a material often used by JD, this natural stone offers an incredibly dark colour with more depth than most lacquered or opaline dials could ever provide. The result is a glossy, pitch-black dial that contrasts with the white gold appliques and rhodium-plated hands, as well as the white inscriptions. The only touch of colour to break this monochromatic look is the red 31 for the date – note the clever system used for the date, which jumps about 60 degrees to avoid the hours/minutes sub-dial.
Availability and price
The Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph Black Onyx is now part of the permanent collection (not limited in production) and will retail for EUR 21,500, CHF 21,600 or USD 21,000.
More details at www.jaquet-droz.com.