Jaquet Droz is honoring its centuries-old history with the Middle Kingdom, with a stylish nature-inspired timepiece dedicated to the Chinese Year of the Dog. This new model benefits from all of the brand’s creativity and expertise, and its exquisite storytelling promises to transport you to the heart of Chinese New Year.
As a pioneering designer in Swiss Haute Horlogerie, Jaquet Droz forged very special ties with 18th century China, then under the reign of Emperor Qianlong. His fascination with the Middle Kingdom left its mark on the brand with the famous two stars. In writing and crafting its own history, the brand perpetuates the vision of its founder, with exclusive pieces depicting traditional Chinese folklore, whilst incorporating the exquisite watchmaking expertise of its master craftsmen. It is with this combination of art and technology that the brand’s auspicious new timepiece has been created in honor of the Chinese New Year: the Petite Heure Minute Dog and the Petite Heure Minute Relief Dog. These new additions to the Ateliers d’Art collection portray the eleventh animal in the Chinese Zodiac, in decorative detail inspired by ancient Chinese arts.
The dog symbolizes passion, tradition and honesty. Beyond its friendly, lively character lies a playful dreamer. In fact, when the Jade Emperor came up with his idea for a race to the Heavenly Gate, the dog was so busy having fun with the butterflies that he only made eleventh place in the Zodiac. Nonetheless, the dog features prominently in its rites and rituals, particularly in 2018, the year of the Earth Dog.
Inspired by this character from the Chinese Zodiac, the craftsmen in La Chaux-de-Fonds set about creating scenes bringing to life a Pekingese dog in all its splendor. The two miniature paintings with nature-inspired scenes are presented in a red gold case set with diamonds, 35 mm in diameter, and a red gold case without diamonds, 39 mm in diameter. The first is a celebration of feminine beauty, showing the legendary Pekingese playing with a butterfly on a background of peonies – the “Queen of flowers” – in a fusion of Chinese and Western styles. Every bit as imperial, the second proudly depicts the friendly canine in a nature-inspired landscape of rocks and plants, ensuring that this timepiece can grace a female or male wrist with equal sophistication. The artistic tradition that we have to thank for these exquisite miniature artworks began in the Age of Enlightenment, and they are full of symbols revered by the Chinese. The watchmaking brand has interpreted these symbols masterfully, creating exceptional pieces that invite you to voyage to wondrous lands.
The Petite Heure Minute Relief Dog style, which is also limited to 28 models, conveys a more stylized aesthetic, playing on contrasts between colors and materials. For example, for the disk on the dial, the brand selected Mexico’s “Sonora Sunrise” variety of cuprite, a copper oxide-rich mineral. Its red hues reference Chinese good fortune, weddings and the Spring Festival, as Chinese New Year is known, whilst the decorative gold details pay tribute to the art of bas-relief openwork, reminiscent of billowing clouds and traditional home decorations.
With exceptional finesse, the first version of the Petite Heure Minute Relief Dog contrasts a red gold case with yellow gold engraving, continuing on with an onyx center, atop which are hands matching the case. The white gold piece is embellished with a white mother-of-pearl center and enhanced with the same engraved reliefs. This attention to detail is carried right through to the oscillating weight; even this element celebrates the Asian legend on a gold and cuprite background and works the automatic mechanism of the two models.
The absolute distinction of these unique timepieces comes from the technology used, precision and mechanism. They are the work of exceptional designers and are hand-crafted by master craftsmen who tell a new story with every new watchmaking artwork they produce. Made at the brand’s Ateliers d’Art, these timepieces are like miniature treasuries of good fortune dedicated to 2018, the decidedly passionate-red year of the dog.
“Some watches tell time, some tell a story”