Jaquet Droz is no stranger to placing birds, beasts, and other wildlife on its famously artistic dials — from fluttering butterflies to bobbing, singing parrots to rearing golden oxen, to name just a few of the more recent examples. Now the Swiss maison goes beyond the natural world to depict, in elaborate, micro-painted glory, the most legendary creature in the annals of myth and fantasy for the new Petite Heure Minute Dragon. To create the image on the grand feu enamel dial, Jaquet Droz turned to an expert: John Howe, legendary fantasy illustrator and conceptual artist on both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies.
The partnership between Jaquet Droz and Howe, a native of Canada and longtime resident of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, began in 2020 and as its first fruits has yielded these two limited series of 18 pieces in 41-mm cases, one in rose gold, the other in white gold. The choice of the Petite Heure Minute design, with its hour-and-minute display on an off-center subdial at 12 o’clock amid a large expanse of dial space, provided Howe an ideal canvas to render his stylistically distinctive dragon figure on the dark blue dial. Painted in miniature on the grand feu enamel base, the red-tongued, blue-scaled dragon appears to nestle into the hollow of the gold case and clutches a luminous “Dragon Pearl,” a Chinese symbol of wisdom, knowledge, and happiness.
The self-winding movement inside the gold case is Jaquet Droz’s Caliber 2653.Si, which incorporates a silicon balance spring and pallet horns, stores a 68-hour power reserve in its double barrel, and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vph. For this iteration of the caliber, Jaquet Droz has added a hand-engraved, 18k rose gold rotor in the shape of the dragon’s scaled tail. Both the rose gold and white gold models are mounted on
Both the rose-gold and white-gold models are mounted on rolled-edge hand-made blue alligator leather straps that fasten to the wrist with ardillon buckles in the same gold as the case. Each piece has a limited-edition serial number engraved on its caseback and will be delivered with a special certificate signed by John Howe. The watches are available as of June 3 and carry a retail price of $36,900 in the United States.