Jaquet Droz might not be the first brand you turn to in search of a luxury sports watch. Understandably, since most of us associate this brand with elegant dress watches, complex automata and the flagship Grande Seconde family. A ‘Jaquet Droz Sport Watch’ might sound like a contradiction in terms, but since 2008 there has been a sporty version of the Grande Seconde in catalogue. Grouped under the SW collection (Sport Watch), members of this family flaunt the graceful figure-eight of the Grande Seconde on the dial but depart radically from other Grande Seconde models with their imposing vault-like cases and complex architecture. Decked out in steel with black ceramic and a pronounced emphasis on red details, the SW Steel-Ceramic is destined to make an impression.
Background of the Grande Seconde
The graceful Grande Seconde was inspired by a 1785 pocket watch with two overlapping counters (hours and minutes above, large seconds below) forming a graceful figure eight. The very essence of purity and minimalism, the design of Pierre Jaquet Droz’s pocket watch was revived in 2002 and has become the pillar of the brand’s collections. The beauty of the Grande Seconde is its ability to adapt to very different environments. We’ve seen it fitted in classic attire and with complications – from GMTs to chronographs and from moon phases to deadbeat seconds and from minute repeaters to calendar watches – and even in contemporary skeletonised versions, like this Skelet-One. The Grande Seconde SW (Sport Watch) made its debut in 2008 and was revisited in 2017 in two-tone versions and metal bracelets.
Fort Knox Case
The formidable stainless steel case size, measuring 45mm in diameter with a height of 11.93mm, is somewhat attenuated by the incorporation of a black ceramic bezel. As with other SW models, the notches on the bezel are pronounced, and the crown guards (claws) on the right are echoed on the opposite of the case giving the watch its distinctive, symmetrical profile. Other distinguishing features of the SW are the hollowed triangular lugs and the way the imposing claws reach all the way from the bezel to the caseback, where they are secured with two screws.
The impression of a hyper-secure, lock-down case is reinforced with a sporty rubber-moulded screw-down crown and a profusion of screws and rivets. The white gold transversal bridge running across the dial is secured with four rivets, while the caseback features more screws in the lugs, case guards and so on. The imposing Fort Knox architecture of the SW insinuates a high water-resistance rating, but the watch sticks to a ‘reasonable but could be higher’ 50m depth rating. Contrasting finishes, with brushed surfaces on the crown and case guards and polished lugs, add to the dynamic personality of the watch.
Red and Black
It’s surprising how colour can transform a watch, especially when that colour is red. The first impression of the SW Steel-Ceramic is one of bold contrasting black and red surfaces. It is the first time red has played such a prominent role at Jaquet Droz and will no doubt elicit strong reactions.
The classic figure-eight layout on the inky black lacquered dial relays the hours and minutes in the top sub-dial and the seconds in the larger sub-dial below. Like its ancestor, the hours are displayed with Roman numerals, save for the 5, 6 and 7 o’clock positions which are picked out in bright red Arabic numerals. Reinforcing its sporty nature, the hours and minutes are framed by a thick white gold rim with minute markers and red accents every quarter-hour, and the tips of the skeletonised hour and minute hands are also red.
Continuing with the red theme, the seconds sub-dial relies on an elongated red hand and the 15, 30 and 45 positions on the seconds track are also picked out with red markings on the white gold frame. The red fabric strap and the red Super-LumiNova applied to all three hands and the numbers 5, 6 and 7 provide the final touch of vibrant colour.
The sapphire crystal pane on the caseback reveals the automatic movement powering the watch. Calibre 2663A-S is beautifully decorated with an 18k white gold openworked turbine rotor and dark ruthenium-treated bridges. The bridges are decorated with thick Côtes de Genève stripes and bear the JD logo in red. Double barrels provide a comfortable 68-hour power reserve and the movement ticks at a modern 4Hz frequency, complete with a silicon balance spring and pallet horns. The individual serial number is engraved on the caseback.
The Jaquet Droz SW Steel-Ceramic is now available and will have a retail price of CHF 15,900.
More information at jaquet-droz.com.