While not terribly expensive (and still not particularly affordable given that so far the collection is only presented in stainless steel), Jaquet Droz Grande Heure Minute Quantieme was designed for those people who believe that a dress watch must only be worn with formal attire. While you still can wear one of them with jeans or even chinos, you must be either a really successful screenwriter or a slightly eccentric serial start-upper to pull off the trick.
Jaquet Droz is probably the first brand name that comes to mind when you are thinking about a watch, which is more of a jewelry item than a simple accessory.
However, while known for such beautiful items as the magnificent Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine or (the a series of gorgeous bird-inspired timepieces Petite Heure Minute Relief Season collection is a good example here), the watchmaking house also has a number of timekeepers of a dressier kind with models starting from simple one-handers and beautiful takes on moon-phase and going all the way up to absolutely stunning tourbillons.
This new timepiece looks like an attempt to further strengthen the brand’s position within a niche of ‘plain’ three-handers with a date indicator.
Although there is nothing particularly fancy about this new collection, I must admit that its members indeed look wonderful regardless of whether it is a simple version with a silvered opaline dial or a more advanced one featuring blue Geneva Stripes. All of these dressy timekeepers are equally adequate for the job.
Case & Strap
Attempting to kill two birds with one stone, Jaquet Droz offers this new timekeeper in two versions: a smaller one measures just 39 millimeters in diameter and can be considered a perfect dress watch, while the larger one has a diameter of 43 millimeters and is designed for those who still think that a luxury timepiece should be large enough to be clearly visible from at least four miles.
Sporting a set of rather long lugs, the larger timepiece may be a bit too wide for persons with thinner wrists, so, if you are one of them, you should probably try one before ordering it.
Somewhat counterintuitively, the smaller watch is a bit thicker than the larger one but still stays close to that comfortable zone of just 11 millimeters from top to bottom. Both cases look ergonomic, as is the crown is of just the right size for the fingers of an average customer.
If you expected this gorgeous piece to come in white gold, I have to disappoint you: so far it is available only in stainless steel and it is not clear when we will see a version in the precious metal.
The timekeeper will be delivered on a high-quality, hand-made alligator leather strap either in blue or black color. I would personally prefer the stock stainless steel ardillon buckle with a deployant clasp, which is plain more comfortable to me, but I see the case for a more classic design here, too.
The self-winding Caliber JD1150 that animates the watch is, in fact, the good old caliber Frederic Piguet 1150 that had its metal mainspring replaced with a silicon one. Ultra-light and antimagnetic, the spring makes the mechanism a bit more accurate than the base one.
The movement was also redecorated according to the high standards of the Swiss-based brand. The bridges now feature a nicely executed sunray guilloche pattern, while its open-worked oscillating weight features something that resembles tremblage: an engraving technique that requires a skilled hand and a lot of patience but guarantees an absolutely stunning result.
With a power reserve of 68 hours, the double-barrel movement is not terribly impressive in this regard but is still adequate enough for a person who plans to wear this watch on business days while leaving it on his desk during the weekend.
Compared to ETA 2892, another industry workhorse that powers a great deal of higher-priced timekeepers, the base caliber FP 1150 is way more accurate and reliable. During its almost 30 years in production, the movement has been perfected to a degree where it has become a mechanism of choice to such high-profile brands like Breguet and, of course, Blancpain.
The watch is a standard three-hander with a simple calendar display. Besides two (radically, I would say) different sizes, there are also two different dial finishes available for each version of the device.
Depending on your personal preferences, you can order the piece either with the rather plain combination of an opaline dial and blued hands or their signature variation of Cotes de Geneve motif with each stripe meticulously executed making the blue dial look even more salient.
The date aperture’s layout looks a bit superfluous here: I don’t really see the idea behind the design. However, it gives the dial that extra schtick that makes the watch even easier to remember. Well, perhaps that was the idea.
As usual, the watch features JD’s signature lancine-shaped hands. Coming without a single drop of lume, they are not easy to spot at night, but still offer ‘okay’ legibility at twilight thanks to the high-contrast color scheme. The red tip on the central seconds hand doesn’t increase readability in any significant way but is still a nice touch.
Pricing & Availability
All four versions are available right now and are offered at pretty competitive prices of €9200 for the versions with a silver opaline dial and €9400 for the pair with blue Geneva stripes.
Photos: Jaquet Droz
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Jaquet Droz Grande Heure Minute Quantieme specification
Price: €9200 – €9400
Movement: Automatic, Caliber JD1150, circa 2014, based on Frederic Piguet 1150, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 28
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 68 hours
Movement decoration: Beveled bridges, sunray guilloche, open-worked heavy-metal oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case: Stainless steel
Sizes: 39.00 mm / 43.00 mm
Case height: 11.09 mm / 10.85 mm
Dial: Silvered opaline / Blue with Geneva Stripes
Hour markers: Rhodium-plated
Hands: Lancine-shaped, blued steel or rhodium-plated
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Blue or black hand-made alligator leather strap with steel ardillon buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, boxed, double anti-reflective coating