There’s more to haute horlogerie than record-breaking accuracy and space-age materials lobbed onto piles of complications. Jaquet Droz knows this, and has been showcasing the more artistic, craft-oriented side of watchmaking, in keeping with a history that dates back 280 years. Many of founder Pierre Jaquet-Droz’s masterpieces didn’t even tell time; his life’s work was to capture the beauty of nature and human movement in machinery. In the 18th century, his creations captivated members of royalty such as King Ferdinand VI of Spain and Emperor Qianlong of China.
In a commemorative exhibition titled “The Story of the Unique”, held outside the Jaquet Droz boutique at Marina Bay Sands this month, the watchmaker expounds on the brand’s crown jewels, from automata to timepieces (or a combination of the two), both historic and modern. The retrospective, which includes a display of new collections, details historical pieces such as the Singing Bird Cage Clock from 1780 that features feathered metal birds singing on the hour. Meanwhile, new releases such as the Grande Seconde Skelet-one and Lady 8 Petite demonstrate how the brand is interpreting its traditional artistry in more modern, wearable ways.
The star of the exhibition is the Parrot Repeater pocket watch. A physical representation of everything the brand stands for, the 56mm red gold pocket watch combines enamelling (paillonnee, grand feu and miniature painting), gem-setting, automata and relief engraving to set the scene for the minute repeater. When the repeater is activated, the birds move and the egg hatches to the chimes of cathedral gongs – true art in mechanical motion.
“The Story of the Unique” runs till Oct 14 outside Jaquet Droz, #B2M-215 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.