The new Jaquet Droz Les Douze Villes (ref. J010133202) automatic GMT watch with a jumping hour indicator comes equipped with a peculiar, but very fancy, second time zone display. Operated with a push of a button located at 2 o’clock, the GMT indicator doesn’t seem to be as exquisitely handy as similar displays on “real” worldtimers, but something tells me that that’s not what people will buy this beautiful timekeeper for. You see, presented in an 18-carat red gold body and featuring their signature black Grand Feu enamel on the dial, this is so far one of the most elegant timekeeper offered by the respectable Swiss brand.
Although Jaquet Droz is not the first name that comes to mind when you start to think about Swiss watchmakers of the past, the patriarch of the industry may be more important for the human’s history than, say, Abraham Louis Breguet.
His famous automatas were the first androids on the face of the Earth, for that matters. Currently owned by the Swatch group, the Swiss brand with its unique expertise in making objects of art that also happen to tell time stays in a good company of such established brands as the Swiss-based Breguet, Blancpain, and Omega, as well as the well-known Glashutte Original and A. Lange & Sohne that were successfully resurrected after the fall of Communism.
As you must have already noticed, this new Jaquet Droz Les Douze Villes belongs to a rather exclusive class of one-handed watches. Inspired by vintage “regulators”, these timekeepers usually have their hours and minutes indicators placed at different sub-dials. In some rare cases, the concept goes even further with just a single hour hand circling around a 12-hour or even 24-hour scale making the job of reading time a bit harder than usual.
However, one-handedness here is not a disability factor: sporting only a minute hand, the watch has a jumping hour indicator at 12 o’clock, which makes the watch even more legible than a normal time-telling device. Well,it is true at least in good lighting conditions, because numerals on the hour indicator don’t seem to be covered with SuperLuminova or any other luminescent substance.
At 6 o’clock, the watch has another window with names of 12 cities (hence the “Les Douze Villes” name of the watch).
Cycling through the names of the cities with a push of button that is conveniently placed at 2 o’clock, you will see the jumping hour indicator changing to the respective time zone.
Quite handy, that, if you happen to be a frequent traveler, although you will still have to remember the difference between time zones when thinking about calling home.
Also, in certain cases the function may become a source of constant irritation for its owner, especially if his home city will be on the other way of the GMT wheel. On the other hand, like in many luxury watches, the function seems to be of pure decorative function here and you will probably use it only a couple of time per month just to show-off.
Although, sporting a price stick of full 32,000 CHF at the time of launch, this new timekeeper is far, light years far from being called ‘affordable’, I would still say that, given the material of the case and the quality of the self-winding movement, the MSRP seems to be more or less justified or, if you like, is at least in the same ballpark with most similarly specced watches from similarly well-advertised Swiss-based brands.
See also: de GRISOGONO Fuso Quadrato
Photos: Jaquet Droz
Jaquet Droz Les Douze Villes (ref. J010133202) automatic GMT watch specification
Price range: 32,000 CHF (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber Jaquet Droz 5153, mechanical, automatic, double barrel, 28,800 vph, 22 ct white gold rotor, Swiss Made
Complications: Jumping hour, second time-zone
Power reserve: 68 hours
Case material: 18-carat red gold
Case dimensions: 43.00 mm
Case height: No data
Dial: Black Grand Feu enameled
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Rolled-edge hand made black alligator leather with 18-carat red gold ardillon buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective