Jaquet Droz has introduced the Asian art of eggshell mosaic to the world of watchmaking. The result? A masterpiece of miniaturization and poetry.
Symbol of wisdom and strength, an elephant moves across a landscape of paddy fields. This is the scene depicted on the dial of the new Petite Heure Minute, a favorite canvas for expression and artistic innovation for Jaquet Droz. The piece graces the Ateliers d’Art collection and represents a technical challenge, an invitation to travel and a pure object of poetry all at once. Its creation prompted the artisans of the brand known by its twin stars to turn to the ancestral Asian technique of eggshell mosaic.
Discovered while traveling in Vietnam, this surprising artistic skill involves the use of duck eggshell tesserae to produce unique pictures. The technique has never before been used in watchmaking, and for the craftsmen at Jaquet Droz, the challenge lay in miniaturizing the mosaic to decorate one of its historic models, the Petite Heure Minute (here with a 43 mm diameter). They used quail eggshell, creating the motif ornamenting this horological gem with particular meticulousness and care. Infinitely fragile, the minuscule fragments are sorted manually according to color, shape and purity. About 2,000 pieces are kept and assembled one by one and always by hand, the curve and hue of each considered individually before being positioned on the red gold dial.
A layer of transparent lacquer is then delicately applied over the mosaic, which is finally polished to obtain perfect consistency and astonishing visual depth. It takes approximately 200 hours to embellish the Petite Heure Minute Mosaic Elephant with this striking scene, its beauty accentuated by the black onyx of the hours-and-minutes dial and the rich reflection of the red gold bezel. The decorative theme continues on the underside of the watch, engraved on the 22-carat red gold oscillating weight driving the double barrel self-winding mechanism of this timepiece, which is produced as a limited edition of 8 models. An exceptional work of artistry, it is a complete expression of the creative, nomadic soul of Jaquet Droz and the excellence of its Ateliers d’Art.
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