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Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel-Rubber
A full metal jacket
Jaquet Droz make elegantly crafted timepieces embracing classical aesthetic lines. Lancine shaped hands, grand feu dials and cases made of noble metals form the graceful design language of which I never tire.
My adoration for this brand is well documented here on ESCAPEMENT. However, a model which is a departure from the house style is the Grande Seconde SW Steel-Rubber. The usual leather strap is set aside for a steel and rubber bracelet. A bold, contemporary case and dial provide a distinctly different persona from the usual catalogue of Jaquet Droz models.
This model bestows a full ferrous experience. I admired the watch whilst on a recent trip to the Manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds and the title, “A full metal jacket” sprang to mind. Fellow film buffs will know this as the Stanley Kubrick blockbuster of 1987 about a band of U.S. Marines and their war time experiences in Vietnam. The film is named after a type of bullet with a hard outer shell and a soft inner core.
Some people will question my psyche. How could I make the leap from an object of beauty to a tool of destruction? Well, the character of this watch is strong and masculine with its robust styling, yet there is a softness at its core with the brand’s iconic interlocking dials forming China’s preferred numeral.
Could this be a blockbuster for Jaquet Droz?
The dial is heavily recessed within the case, covered in a black rubber finish. The interplay of depth and texture is superb. All aspects of the dial coalesce superbly imparting modernity from every angle.
Brushed strips of stainless steel, span the dial, one each side of the number eight, residing centre stage. They provide bright contrast with the adjacent black hue of the rubber.
A Jaquet Droz “code” is the incorporation of two subdials which interface to form the aforementioned number eight, outlined with brushed steel.
The upper subdial indicates hours and minutes. Roman numerals impart the hours, except between 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock, where the second overlaps. Here, Arabic numerals are used. The hour and minute hands are rhodiumed, skeletonised and tipped with red luminescent material. Four small, red indices mark the quarter hours of the subdial.
The lower subdial is larger and used to indicate seconds. The seconds are marked in integers of five using text with red indices featuring at 0, 15, 30 and 45 seconds, echoing the design of the upper dial. The hand is elegant, similar in profile to the second hand used on some of the classical Jaquet Droz pocket watches but with a mischievous splash of red dominating its surface.
The dial is modern, yet faithful to some of the traditional styling cues of the brand. The aspect I particularly like is the judicious use of colour, texture, depth and line. All aspects of the styling work in accord.
Those seeking a modern watch will also enjoy the substantial proportions of this timepiece with a diameter of 45 mm.
The highly polished case sparkles in light and reflects warmth on the wearer’s face. The selection of a metal strap is not cold or inert but confers a comely cordiality. This is due to the considered use of black rubber.
Black rubber appears on the bracelet, bezel and the crown. The use of fetishists favoured material is perfectly judged.
A sapphire crystal caseback affords a view of the movement delighting horological voyeurs.
The Jaquet Droz 2663A-S is a self-winding movement. It is made by fellow Swatch brand, Frederic Piguet and is no worse for that. Their competence at making high-end movements is well-known and this calibre does not disappoint.
A fine example of finissage, the movement is beautifully presented. Côtes de Genève appears on the bridges as well as the brand’s clover motif, faithful to Jaquet Droz tradition.
Modernity is reinforced by the rotor constructed of 18-carat white gold with PVD treatment. It is skeletonised allowing the wearer to see more of the movement beneath.
The frequency of the movement is 28,800 vph. Twin barrels help to provide an impressive power reserve of 68 hours.
Traditionalists may not like the character of this watch and favour the classical timepieces offered by the brand synonymous with automata. Whilst I share admiration for these handsome models, which sympathetically pay homage to the pocket watches of Pierre Jaquet Droz, I also adore this modern watch.
It is instantly recognizable as Jaquet Droz but proffers a brave new look for the brand.
The film, “Full Metal Jacket” received critical acclaim and an Academy Award nomination. I think Jaquet Droz have conceived a marvellous metallic masterpiece which appeals to a new target audience.
The Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel-Rubber accurately hits the mark and deserves prizes and plaudits aplenty.
- Model: Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel-Rubber
- Reference: JD029030140
- Case: Stainless steel and rubber; diameter 45.00 mm; height 11.93mm; water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; seconds.
- Movement: Jaquet Droz 2663A-S, self-winding; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 30 jewels; power reserve 68 hours.
- Strap: Steel and rubber bracelet with stainless steel deployant.