Stained Glass on the Wrist: Jaquet Droz Introduces the Petite Heure Minute Smalta Clara Hummingbird

Jaquet Droz has a long history of producing animal-inspired timepieces. In 2021 thus far alone, the luxury maker has unveiled the four oxen-emblazed watches and a dragon watch, these among many more making up the mythical and real beast legacy behind the brand. This week, the Swiss watchmaker is once again tapping this theme, now introducing the new Petite Heure Minute Smalta Clara Hummingbird.

The new watch takes its foremost inspiration from its namesake Hummingbird, and follows-up on the 2018 introduced Smalta Clara tiger models. Like the 2018-launched watch, the Hummingbird features the “Smalta Clara” designation, an enameling technique also known as plique-á-jour in French, which the brand compares to creating miniature stained-glass windows. The technique is centuries old, the brand remarking it finds its origins 1,500 years ago, and is differentiated from other techniques like cloisonné, champlevé, or the famed grand feu.

The plique-á-jour consists of applying enamel to bottomless molds, with a gold dial partitioned into different sizes and shapes to make each of these molds. Each space is then filled with different colors of enamel, undergoing successive rounds of firing, to ultimately produce the desired look. Unique to plique-à-jour, each final piece of enamel features a transparency like stained-glass, providing a final style unique in its ability to interact with light, shadows, and reflections. In the case of the Petite Heure Minute Smalta Clara Hummingbird, this final image is its Hummingbird and feathers, while a small, off-center mother-of-pearl sub-dial for the hours and minutes complements the avian almost like an egg.

Besides its meticulously developed dial, the watch at its core is the latest update to the Jaquet Droz’s Petite Heure Minute collection, a delicate and creative series best known for its expansive dials, use of precious metals, and frequent implementation of gem-set bezels. As such, the watch features a 35-mm rose gold case, its edges featuring either a an extremely fine polishing or set with one of 100 diamonds. An off-center stylized crown extends the off-center look of the dial, and adds further to the intrigue of the model.

Beating away inside the Hummingbird is the Jaquet Droz caliber 6150, an automatic movement featuring a frequency of 21,600 vph, a 38-hour power reserve, and silicon balance spring. A platinum oscillating weight with 18-karat red gold applique is visible via a small exhibition, while another plique-á-jour hummingbird surrounds the display and adding even more animal intrigue to the uncommon timepiece.

The new Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Smalta Clara Hummingbird will be limited to 8 total editions, each marked at $56,400.

To learn more, visit Jaquet Droz, here.

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