Jaquet Droz quite rightly decided to present its latest masterpiece outside the periods of the main international and regional watch fairs, because it is already available to purchase (the first one has already been sold at the brand’s Geneva store). I saw this new automaton for the first time at the end of November in Geneva, but don’t expect to be able to get your hands on one in time for Christmas. This exceptional timepiece took three years to develop and requires one full month of work by three artists just to complete the dial! Even if you have the 680,400 Swiss francs spare to buy one, you will still need to wait around six months to get your hands on one of the first models.
The 47mm diameter 18-carat red-gold case of the Tropical Bird repeater has been exquisitely hand engraved. Jaquet Droz could have shaved around two weeks off the production time by “preparing” the case for engraving as other engravers do (this involves tracing the lines of the design on the case before starting the engraving proper), but instead gave the engraver the freedom to work freehand from scratch. As a result, the case takes around one month to engrave.
Manual engraving of the case © Jaquet Droz
The Tropical Bird repeater has to be both seen and heard up close to appreciate it, which poses a problem for Jaquet Droz, since the brand has 12 flagship stores worldwide, but will only produce eight of these watches (although it could serve additional customers with their personalisation options). “Our stores are very useful for presenting this kind of watch,” admits CEO Christian Lattman, “but we simply don’t have enough watches to go around.” There are seven different mechanical animations on the dial: a waterfall, dragonflies, a peacock, tropical leaves, a toucan and a hummingbird. It is the use of the hummingbird as the centrepiece for the animation that provided the inspiration for the entire tropical theme of its decoration. In real life, the fastest hummingbirds can beat their wings up to 80 times per second; in the Jaquet Droz Tropical Bird repeater, the mechanical hummingbird can beat its wings a staggering 40 times per second as part of a sequence of animations that can last up to 12 seconds to correspond with the chimes of the minute repeater mechanism. The hummingbird also bobs up and down as if hovering in the air while feeding off one of the tropical flowers, just like in real life, and can be activated independently of the minute repeater.
The amazing three-dimensional effect of this watch is created by five different levels of hand-engraved and hand-painted decorative elements that are suspended from the base of the dial at its edges (Jaquet Droz has a patent pending for this technique). Despite the thickness added by these elements, plus the use of a minute repeater mechanism with cathedral gongs, the overall height of the Tropical Bird repeater is nearly 4mm less than the Charming Bird model. Furthermore, a new movement, the manually-wound Jaquet Droz calibre RMA89, increases the power reserve to 60 hours (compared with 40 for the Charming Bird) at the same frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour.
Tropical Bird Repeater © Jaquet Droz
The grade 3660Q2. P is an automatic in-house movement with two barrels carrying up to 68 hours of electricity. These barrels are wound by a nicely finished, partially-openworked rotor at the exact same colour gold as the case. Radial striping adorns the bridges and plates and the borders have a wonderful slender bevel to them, representing a good quantity of light. The main upgrade, however, is the silicon equilibrium spring, also a first for Jaquet Droz. This, combined with a new shape to the pallet fork, makes the escapement considerably more precise and less vulnerable to irregularities. While the movement and dial are the same across the range, the Grande Seconde Quantieme Ivory Enamel will come in a few variations. First you have the choice of red or white gold, the prior more modern and the latter more conventional in general look. More importantly however, there are just two 39mm and 43mm instance choices. For our taste, 43mm is too big for a elegant dress Jaquet Droz Watches For Sale Replica like this, while 39mm is just about perfect. The small lugs and slim bezel put all the visual emphasis on the bright dial and also the form of this situation sits great on the wrist. The 39mm instance in gold is, far and away, our favourite mix here.The Jaquet Droz Quantieme Ivory Enamel is $19,400 in 39mm and $20,000 in 43mm, irrespective of metal selection. Watch Jaquet Droz for more.Jaquet Droz is among the most unique of the Swatch Group’s high-end brands, known for their excellence in conventional decoration methods in addition to their usage of automata, or moving mechanical devices intended to imitate life. The Jaquet Droz Tropical Bird Repeater is the most recent creation of mechanical artistry from the La Chaux-de-Fonds manufacture, celebrating the Enlightenment-era enthusiasm for nature and animals of new founder and namesake Pierre Jaquet-Droz. When the King reached forward to take among the apples, the mechanical dog began barking with such a natural sound the King’s dog began barking in response, and the majority of the courtiers fled the area dreading witchcraft.
Christian Lattman sees a clear demand for the exceptional among Jaquet Droz’s customers, who like the density of the colours on this piece. “Because of its size, this is primarily a Jaquet Droz Watches Price List Replica for men,” he says, “but men who are in tune with their emotions and have a poetic side.” Japanese collector Dr. Haruhisa Handa is just such a man and is already a proud owner of the Charming Bird. He just happened to be in Geneva on the day the Tropical Bird repeater was presented and was impressed by what he saw. That six-month waiting period might just get a little bit longer.