History of Jaquet-Droz
Born in 1721, Pierre Jaquet Droz began to develop a fascination with clockmaking and the mechanics of precision. He gained his inspiration from two older family members that he looked up to. It wasn’t long before Pierre Jaquet-Droz dedicated most of his life to the art of clockmaking. Quickly, he began developing mastering the skills of producing grandfather clocks with increasingly innovative movements that surpassed all competitors. His renown proficiency and dedication to his ground-breaking mechanical watch movements began to catch the eye of several wealthy timepiece patrons.
As he gained his stability in this profession, he married and had two children. Unfortunately, in 1755, he lost his wife and daughter. Never remarrying, decided to devote the remainder of his life, solely to clockmaking. He was later persuaded by George Keith and Earl Marischal to bring his designs to Spain, where he would able to present his clocks to King Ferdinand VI of Spain. The court was astonished that a clock could strike on command, without the need for manual action. The King paid 2,000 gold pistoles as payment for these magnificent creations.
With his large lump sum of money from Spain, Jaquet-Droz returned to Switzerland in 1759. Jaquet-Droz acquired two assistants, his son Henri-Louis, and a neighbor’s son, Jean Frederic Leschot, whom he took in after the passing of the boy’s mother. Together, they created and perfected the revolutionary automata. The first three completed models were named the Writer, The Draughtsman, and the Musician. Realizing how these timepieces had gained such rapid popularity, the team took to the road to showcase their work. They visited Geneva, Paris, London, Holland, Flanders, Lyon, Russia, Kazan, Madrid, and more!
He set up a workshop in London in 1774, because that was a hub for industry trade. They developed frequent trade with a company called James Cox London, which opened up the opportunity for Jaquet Droz to obtain representation in China, India, and Japan. It wasn’t long after that these creations allured the Qianlong Emporer and the Mandarins at the Imperial Court. The Jaquet-Droz family oversaw an extravagant manufacturing chain of clockmakers, enamellers, painters, musicians, jewelers, and more.
The growth of the company continued over several years, until 1790, when Pierre Jaquet-Droz passed away in Bienne, Switzerland, followed by his son the year after. Jean-Frederic Leschot was left to navigate the fate of the company through the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, and the Continental Blockade all on his own. These major events ensued great economic distress and presented extreme financial challenges for the company which put an end to an era of remarkable creativity and prosperity.
Fast-forward to today, Montres Jaquet-Droz was acquired by the Swatch Group, which is known for its supreme luxury connections. The Swatch Group allowed the brand to regain the success they had during the Age of Enlightenment while preserving the sacred heritage and tradition of its founder.
2000: Acquired by the Swatch group
2002: Launch of Grande Seconde
2008: Launch of the Pocket Watch
2010: Moves to Fine Watchmaking workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds
2010: Launch of the Eclipse
2011: Launch of the Grande Seconde Tourbillon
2012: The Writer is taken to Beijing as a part of “Automates & Merveilles
2013: Jaquet-Droz celebrates its 275th Anniversary
2014: Launch of the Singing Machine automaton
2015: Reaches pinnacle of achievement with the Lady 8 Flower
2016: Launch of the Petite Heure Thousand Year Lights at Baselworld
2017: Launch of the Tropical Bird Repeater watch
Grande Seconde: Influenced by the 1784 Pocket Watch, this model is commonly identified for its unique and contemporary design.
Automata: A seamless blend of beautiful art and horological ingenuity, we admire this Jaquet-Droz collection for its animated mechanisms and three-dimensional visibility.
Ateliers D’Art: Some of the most experienced artists work with master craftsmen to develop hand-decorated watch dials with luxurious masterpieces.
Petite Heure Minute: Playing on minerals, complications, and decorative techniques, this collection allows excellence and expertise to define Jaquet-Droz’s creativity.
Lady 8: Catered to the luxurious woman, this collection exemplifies fine jewelry craftsmanship. The fluid-like curves create a sense of sensuality accompanied by precious gemstones and minerals for countless variations.
Astrale: Understated elegance is at the forefront of mind in this collection. Paying homage to Pierre Jaquet Droz himself, we admire the legacy of universally acclaimed artistry and complexity he introduced to the watchmaking world.
SW: Sporty and contemporary, this collection encourages adventurers to explore new frontiers with a timepiece that provides durable elegance.