The Jaquet Droz Ateliers D’Art collection embodies whimsical nature, presenting creatures of fantastic beauty in the perpetuated 18th-century art forms and tradition on a timepiece. Each one is an art of luxury from the Swiss brand — one that doesn’t simply tell the time but brings history back to life while telling a story behind it.
The Jaquet Droz Ateliers D’Art collection goes back in time by reviving the lost art and grandeur of the 18th century watchmaking, incorporating it in their magnificent contemporary timepiece. As they say, the devil is in the details. In the case of the Ateliers D’Art watches, it’s all in the dial. Jaquet Droz artisans have, indeed, made the most painstaking work by creating miniature paintings, engraved ornamentations, enameled surfaces, each one having its own time of attention.
One couldn’t help his admiration over the simplicity of the Jaquet Droz Grand Heure, especially with the hour indicators of the most minuscule applications — an unmistakable signature of the Jaquet Droz line. But applying the same subdial decorative technique as the Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute, the Ateliers D’Art puts the hour and minute indicators off-center at 12 o’clock to give more space for the meticulous art pieces hand-painted on the rest of the dial. As a result, it creates a new range of models that feature beautiful finishes in a contemporary timepiece.
|Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art Ref. J005013224||$23,009 USD|
|Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art Petite Heure Minute Tiger Ref. J005033331||$36,643 USD|
|Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art Petite Heure Minute Dog Ref. J005003223||$46,235 USD|
|Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art Petite Heure Minute Smalta Clara Hummingbird Ref. J005504501||$54,600 USD|
|Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art Pocket Watch Paillonnée Ref. J080033047||$58,923 USD|
|Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art Petite Heure Minute Paillonnée Ref. J005033258||$42,000 USD|
|Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art Petite Heure Minute Relief Dragon Ref. J005023287||$72,500 USD|
|Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art Petite Heure Minute Relief Seasons Ref. J005024575||$71,400 USD|
|Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art Petite Heure Minute Thousand Year Lights Ref. J005003221||$61,485 USD|
|Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art Petite Heure Minute Thousand Year Lights Ref. J005014211||$64,046 USD|
It goes without saying that when two different luxury items — fine art and luxury watch, get combined, add with the materials that make up these pieces, the value inevitably doubles. Older models of the Ateliers D’Art retail at around $20,000 USD, the current ones valuing up to $100,000 USD.
Jaquet Droz watches definitively showcases the art of painting with the Petite Heure Minute models. This line features different animals, from birds, dragons, dogs, pigs, etc., hand-painted with an extremely fine brush as thin as a strand of hair. The two most striking creations are the Petite Heure Minute Ref. J005033331 and Petite Heure Minute Ref. J005034275, simply called “Tiger.” These are pieces of two variations: respectively, one in a red gold case matched with an ivory Grand Feu enamel dial, the other in a white gold case matched with a black grand feu enamel dial. Both creations evoke the power of the most ferocious feline in the animal kingdom, highlighting the face of the tiger with its haunting eyes representing the intensity of the feline’s gaze. Limited in a series of 28 pieces, the Tiger models retail at $36,643 USD.
Smalta Clara, using the plique-a-jour technique, directly translates to the Jacquet Droz watches having clear enamel that is open light, with its glamour revealed when the sun hits. Two examples are the Petite Heure Minute Smalta Clara Ref. J005503500 and Ref. J005504500, versions of brown and blue respectively, which retails at $54,600 USD. We can see how the tiger is a recurring emblem in the collection portrayed with its yellow piercing eyes, open mouth, and bared teeth. A different version in the same price range, Petite Heure Minute Smalta Clara Ref. J005504501 portrays a blue hummingbird, an 18K white gold case set in 100 diamonds. All these watches emulate the finest stained-glass window, with metals to separate each shade of color. Having the offset inner dial to indicate the hours and minutes, we can only imagine how the tiniest components of the self-winding mechanical movement Caliber 6150 has been assembled cautiously to completion.
In this subcategory of the Ateliers D’Art collection, Jaquet Droz revives what is practically a lost art. Blue or red stained glass covered in several coats of enamel, and adorned with tiny gold pieces called paillon predominates the dial of the Grande Seconde Tourbillon Paillonnée watches. The Petite Heure Minute Paillonnée Ref. J005033258, a 43mm dress watch offered at $42,000 USD, has the blue Grand Feu paillonne-enamel dial. In the inner silver opaline off-centered subdial, the hours and minutes are indicated with Arabic numerals and blued steel hands enclosed with the same red gold material, and finally secured with blue screws. Giving a bit more space for the indications, there is the Grande Seconde Paillonnée Ref. J003033437 which has a figure-8 dial to show the hours and minutes at 12 o’clock, and the seconds at 6 o’clock.
On a moody spiderman jasper and black onyx backdrop, a perfectly engraved 18k yellow gold dragon makes it look like this legendary creature is coming to life in the Petite Heure Minute Relief Dragon Ref. J005023287. This $72,500 USD dress watch is powered by the in-house movement Caliber 2653.Si, complete with silicon balance spring and double barrel. The intricate movement is made even more exquisite with the golden dragon’s tail and spiderman jasper oscillating weight.
The Relief Seasons also features white mother of pearl dials which can be seen in Minute Relief Season Ref. J005024576 which has an engraved red gold bird applique powered by the Calibre 2653. In this illustration of the birds, we get to see a recreation of Jaquet Droz’s very own 1785 Singing Bird Pocket Watch called “The Evening.” This pearl dial is matched with an analogous pale grey satin strap and white gold ardillon buckle that make the colors of the relief truly pop.
The opposite of relief printing, we get to see intaglio printing in these beautiful art pieces in black onyx. One, in particular, is the Petite Heure Minute Thousand Year Lights Ref. J005003221. Having the same off-center sundial in the same jet-black onyx surface puts all the attention to the intaglio printed surface, a decorative technique achieved by incising the areas, rather than raising, to make the flower prints. The bezel of this red gold case watch gets a set of 232 diamonds raising its value of $61,485 USD. The Thousand-Year Lights red gold watches feature the same dial designs and are strapped with black leather. The white gold diamond watches on the other hand, while using the same black onyx surface to feature the etched flowers, has a mother of pearl sundial which matches most beautifully with the blue leather strap. These are the Thousand Year Lights Ref. J005014211 and Ref. J005004201, which retails at $49,400 USD for each piece.
If there is one thing that luxury watches and fine art pieces have in common, is their intrinsic value. And when you combine these, as in the Ateliers D’art whereby miniaturized fine art pieces can be found inside a luxury watch, it makes it doubly unique and sacred work. Thus, every timepiece from the Ateliers d’Art collection is essentially both a fine art piece and a luxury watch, making them great long-term investments for both fine art and watch aficionados.
In the Ateliers D’Art collection premiered in 2011, Jaquet Droz draws on the heritage of the 18th-century traditional skills, which is mostly defined by lightness and elegance but also of grandeur in details. From paintings, enameling, intaglio printing, engraving, and so much more, we’ll see just by looking at the watches how much influence of art styles has been implemented in the horological art techniques.
The Jaquet Droz Ateliers D’Art collection, which directly translates to “art studio” did not only draw the concept of a place for curated beautiful pieces, it also mimics the concept of having just one original piece. And while it blesses the human eye with the art presented in the dial, it also fascinates it with the workmanship and expertise in creating powerful complications.
Stripped bare of functions, that is, having no other complications aside from the movement of hour and minute hands, the spectator’s attention is all pointed to the magnificence of the art that is in the dial. Here are some more reasons to get your hands on an Ateliers D’Art.
1. Inside these masterpieces are exceptional mechanisms developed in-house. Some of these are the Jaquet Droz Calibre 2653, 2615, and 6150 which are all self-winding mechanical movements with balance spring, pallet-fork horns, flat bridges, and double barrel.
2. Ateliers D’Art is a one-of-a-kind creation. Aside from being limited editions, because each watch is hand-painted individually, even with the same designs, it's impossible to have two same, identical watches.
3. Each Ateliers D’Art watch has its own Ateliers D’Art certificate. This is coupled with an individual limited edition serial number to see at the case back engraved on the oscillating weight.
4. Another fascinating fact about the Jaquet Droz is its connection to China, particularly with the Imperial Court. Honoring this friendship, this collection has started to feature timepieces that showcase the animal zodiac sign of each lunar year. Accordingly, you can own a watch that shows your very own Chinese zodiac sign.
In this collection, we again see how Jaquet Droz holds haute horlogerie in the highest regard. Who would have imagined the watchmaking craft being a venue for exceptional art pieces? Like an art studio true to its name, the Ateliers D’Art collection is a curation of magnificent rare timepieces, fine art pieces inside a luxury watch, as never seen before.