Earlier this month, the Swiss watchmaking house Jaquet Droz has presented its piece unique: the Museum Pocket Watch. The watch was literally built around a time-worn 18th century movement that was lovingly (and also painstakingly) restored to its present glory in JD own workshops. Originally missing certain vital parts, the restored mechanism, as archaic as it is, looks magnificent and stately inside its massive 18-carat red gold body.
Although this blog is usually centered on reviewing products you can actually buy -be it a brick and mortar shop or a gray(-ish) online outlet- it is sometimes a pleasure to write a small piece regarding a true work of art, a piece that will probably end either in a museum or contemporary art or a private collection of a particularly wealthy person. This new artifact, which is aptly named Museum Pocket Watch, belongs to this very group: you will have to admire it from a distance, behind a thick anti-vandal glass of an exhibition hall.
Despite its deliciously vintage look, the device is not a recreation, but is a sort of “homage” to timekeepers that were built well before the French Revolution when the monarchy has already survived the peak of its power but was still the main power on the European peninsula.
While, compared to other rococo watches with their lavish decor and lots of meticulously crafted details, this timekeeper looks almost Spartan, it still makes a very strong impression thanks to its restored and hand-decorated crown wheel escapement (also known as “verge”). As massive as it is, the part of the mechanism looks almost feather-light with its intricate and surprisingly delicate ornamentation.
As usual for the timepieces of the period, the bezel of the watch is decorated with rubies and pearls, while the cover features a hand-crafted ornamentation painted over blue enamel background that, as Jaquet Droz puts it in their press release, took them a lot of effort to make as beautiful as it is. As probably was the enameled white dial with its hand-painted numerals and inscriptions, and the polished and blued hour and minute hands with the former featuring a very rare four-leaf clover design.
As you can see on the photo above, the movement that powers the piece has an extra degree of freedom: after the front cover is up, you can also “open” the mechanism to admire the beautifully decorated tourbillon escapement, as well as the usual set of polished and heat blued screws and hands.
As far as I understand, the watch will be put on display in the Jaquet Droz Museum, which brings me neatly to the next news. In a couple of weeks, from September 30 to November 12, the Swiss watchmaker will bring its Enchanted Journey Exhibit this fall to The Shops at Crystals in Las Vegas. At the event that celebrates JD’s 275 years in business, the company will demonstrate some of their most interesting timepieces (modern, as well as antique), and will also put on display “the skillful artistry of hand engraving and miniature painting on watch dials” of their master artist.
Well, here is the press release:
JAQUET DROZ TO REVEAL 275 YEARS OF HERITAGEWITH AN EXHIBIT IN LAS VEGAS
As part of a world tour to celebrate 275 years of history, Jaquet Droz brings the Enchanted Journey Exhibit this fall to The Shops at Crystals in Las Vegas. The exhibition will be held in front of the Tourbillon Boutique.
After tremendous success in Moscow, Basel, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Macau, the Jaquet Droz masterpieces will soon arrive in the US, allowing this sophisticated audience to appreciate all the facets of Swiss watchmaking and understand how the brand manages to preserve its heritage.
This journey through time sheds light on the relationship between Classic 18th century and contemporary works.
Timeless icons, unique automatas and exclusive models from its artistic workshop, reveal the beauty of hand engraved and miniature painted legendary timepieces. The most innovative timekeeping mechanisms sit side-by-side with the simple elegance of enamel or the luster of precious stones and pearls, and magnificent minerals used in custom-made dials.
For the amazement of visitors, on opening day, a Jaquet Droz’ master artist will be demonstrating the skillful artistry of hand engraving and miniature painting on watch dials at the Tourbillon Boutique.
These most outstanding Jaquet Droz creations can be admired from September 30th to November 12th, 2014, after which they will travel to the Middle East and Europe.
Source and photos: Jaquet Droz