According to the Chinese Zodiac calendar, 2021 is the Year of the Ox, and to celebrate this new year, Jaquet Droz is unveiling four commemorative luxury timepieces from its Petite Heure Minute collection. Three of the new models, called Petite Heuer Minute Buffalo, are produced in rose gold, one in white gold; in addition, two of them feature hand-painted images of an ox on their dials, while the other two opt for relief engraving, an artisanal technique used by the Swiss brand on other special editions, including its previous Chinese New Year editions.
Jaquet Droz, founded in 1738, has a longstanding, close connection to the Chinese market — ever since its products were first introduced to the country in 1774. Over the course of the following decade, the brand says that its mechanical automaton watches became highly sought after by the imperial court of China, “much to fascination of the Qianlong Emperor and the imperial court mandarins.” During this time, Jaquet Droz exported more than 600 pieces to China, in effect becoming the very first Swiss brand imported into the Forbidden City.
Focusing on the new models, we find an overall cohesive collection, with each of the four featuring several defining elements that make it distinct from each of the others.
The first rose-gold, hand painted model, Reference J005123206, opts for a clean polishing on its 41-mm case, with a small stepped, signed crown. It straps to the wrist via a rolled-edge hand-made brown alligator leather strap. Underneath the sapphire crystal is an ivory colored, grand feu enamel dial featuring a miniature painting of an ox with a mountainous background. Besides the attractive and meticulously executed miniature painting, the top of the dial features a subdial for the timekeeping aspects of the watch, with black Roman numerals for each hour and two rose-gold hands determining the hour and minute.
The other watch with a miniature painting on its dial, Reference J005003228, offers the same style of rose-gold case, though much smaller in diameter, at 35 mm. Additionally, the case and bezel on this model boasts not only a high level of polishing, but also 232 diamonds totaling 1.23 carats.
The 35-mm watch features to an alternative Ox motif on its dial: here, the animal has elongated horns and stands against a more feathery mountainous background. This image is produced once again using the grand feu enamel technique, and sits in parallel to a small subdial above it, which displays the timekeeping elements in a minimalist fashion.
The other two models are 41 mm in diameter and feature relief-engraved dials; one case is in polished rose gold, the other in polished white gold with diamonds. On the dial, we find a wonderfully executed relief engraving, produced in a matching color to the case material and staged upon a black onyx background. The ox in this decorative dial is represented as grazing underneath a ruby-accented tree. The engraving on both of these pieces overlaps the timekeeping subdial, which, as on the previous two models, sits at the 12 o’clock position.
Inside each of the 41-mm editions is the Jaquet Droz Caliber 2653.Si, a self-winding mechanical movement capable of a 68-hour power reserve. Each of the movements are visible behind a sapphire exhibition caseback; their high-horology finishes include solid gold rotors with additional ox-inspired accents, either engraved or hand painted. The 35-mm model encases the Jaquet Droz Caliber 2653.P, another self-winding mechanical movement capable of a 68-hour power reserve, and like the 41-mm version also features an exquisite finishing and rotor.
Pricing for each of the models is still unavailable, though we know each will be limited to eight total editions and will be sold in 2021.
To learn more and inquire for purchase, visit Jaquet Droz’s website, here.