Introducing two new versions and a hands-on review of Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One
Jaquet Droz decides to expose itself to the world, and how! Introducing two new versions of the Grande Seconde Skelet-One — Plasma Ceramic & Red Gold — and reviewing the last year’s black ceramic version.
Skeletor vs Skelet-One
Call this a blessing or a curse of an 80s upbringing, but every-time I hear the name of this watch, I first remember Skeletor. This is a reference to the show He-Man & the Masters of the Universe. In the show Skeletor often says, “I am not nice, I am not kind, and I am not wonderful!”
And this is where my memory of the show fades and I get immersed in the beauty of these watches, for these watches are very nice, and very wonderful.
Tackiness over. Back to the watch review.
Let’s be honest, for us at Watch Ya Gonna Do About It, skeleton dial watches can be a hit or miss. Since the heart of the watch is exposed, you either like them immensely for the intricate beauty they shower or hate them for being too complicated to look at.
The way I like to refer to them, is by calling skeleton dial watches a hot mess.
No matter if I like them personally or not, I simply cannot deny the fact that they are a watch making marvel and it takes confidence from a brand to expose itself to the world. Like’em or hate’em, they may be messy but they rock.
First, a preview of the new versions
Jaquet Droz has revealed two new faces of the Skelet-One watch, the red gold being a nod to the charm of yesteryears and the plasma ceramic version being an ode to the technological advancements of the modern age.
The red gold Jaquet Droz has used is a gold alloy featuring subtle accents of warm coppery tones and worn on a leather strap. This combination matches the gray of the bridges suspending the Grande Seconde’s delicate movement. The plasma ceramic is made by transforming white ceramic with gas heated to 20,000°C, giving it a unique metallic glow without adding any metal fragments to the process.
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Red Gold
The new Grande Seconde Skelet-One in 18-karat red gold case case (reference: J003523241) celebrates Jaquet Droz’s latest 2020 skeleton movement watch that’s released for the first time in red gold.
The movement — 2663 SQ — used is a self-winding, double barrel skeleton mechanical movement with black treatment. It beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h) allowing for a very good 68 hour power reserve. The watch face shows the functions of hours, minutes, and seconds on skeleton sapphire dial with 18-karat white gold base with gray treatment. The hands and indexes are in 18-karat red gold. The display case-back is engraved with an individual number on the 18-karat red gold oscillating weight. It comes on a rolled-edge hand-made gray fabric strap and an 18-karat red gold ardillon buckle. The water resistance is a poor — 30m (3 ATM) — on this one.
Grande Seconde Skelet-One Plasma Ceramic
The specifications of this version are the same as the black ceramic verse form 2019 discussed below. The only difference is that of the reference number (obviously) J003525542, and the case material, plasma ceramic, and the strap used, rolled-edge hand-made gray fabric with Stainless steel and plasma ceramic folding clasp.
A strikeout feature of this version is that the skeleton dial seems more full on here than on the other two versions. The fully suspended gear train is attached to the movement’s skeletonized bridges raised by an open-worked oscillating weight that lets light shine clearly through.
Jaquet Droz last year released a new version of its existing “Skelet-One” version presented in 2018, the new black & blue skeleton watch, the Grande Seconde Skelet-One Ceramic. Today we are looking at this watch in more detail.
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Black Ceramic
The 2018 release of this watch’s predecessor saw for the first time Grande Seconde getting rid of the conventional dial face. Sculptural and enhanced, it was a new chapter in the history of time as told by Jaquet Droz. The traditional dial was replaced by light, lightness and transparency, features that have been carried forward to these current versions as well.
Its straight lines contrast with the ceramic case’s skilful finishing. In contrast, its polished sides foster a play of light that is amplified by a double sapphire “glass box” on the top and bottom, offering the largest possible opening onto the skeleton movement.
Grande Seconde Skelet-One in black ceramic case (reference: J003525541) features the calibre 2663 SQ that is a self-winding, double barrel skeleton mechanical movement with black treatment and silicon balance spring and pallet horns.
The movement plate stretches all the way around the case, which itself does away with the casing ring. With this new construction, the gear train is entirely suspended and fixed to the skeletonized bridges that cross over the movement.
It beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h) allowing for a very good 68 hour power reserve. In terms of design aesthetics, different parts of the movement have different surface textures — the hour circle is vertically brushed and catches every ray of light ensuring perfect readability — that gives a three-dimensional effect to the watch.
The first thing that comes across, and perhaps the most striking detail about the dial and the movement, is the use of blued steel screws that fix together the 18-karat white gold hour circle and the sapphire dial.
Watch purists will appreciate that each of these screws is ‘indexed’, meaning they are turned towards the center of the dial.
These blued screws not only add colour to the dial but also blend well with the blued steel off-centered hour and minute hands at 12’o clock and the off-centered large seconds hand at 6’o clock.
The next thing that comes across is the case – a beautiful black ceramic case, circling a floating movement with bright blue shimmering hands, surmounting to a visual feast.
The blue look complements the use of black ceramic that’s stealth, dark, and when light shines off it, moody.
Sandwiched between this black and blue are the 18-karat white gold hour circle and indexes on a sapphire dial.
It’s the play of these three colours alongside the transparency of the movement that really defines this watch.
Back to the Blues
Even though it’s a transparent watch case and a see through movement, the watch has very strong blue vibes where the colour just seems to be waiting to break free from its mechanical case.
The blue fabric strap further helps build this mental image as it contrasts well with the black ceramic case and compliments the hands and fixing screws inside the movement. In-fact if someone was to have a dedicated blue watch only collection, this would be a valuable asset to it.
Even though most of the mesmerising work is happening on the dial face, the case-back is not any less impressive. To ensure total transparency, the 18K white gold oscillating weight — that is engraved with an individual number —has been entirely skeletonized to avoid masking the slightest detail of the movement.
For Jaquet Droz to be able to do all of this so effortlessly ust goes on to show just how good the brand’s skills are in bringing to the present era a design (Grande Seconde) that was conceived over two and half centuries ago.
Marrying every facet of its time and era, this ever-evolving piece reinvents details and finishes, to both surprise and astound.
Watch Ya Gonna Do About It
The black & blue Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One ceramic watch is one to watch out for (pun unintended). It’s got a style of its own that is both classic yet contemporary. The low water resistance — only 30m, so no swimming or showering but you can wash you hands comfortably with it on — is a damper though, but this watch is still great for people who are not deep into the world of playing sports.
Even though the watch is targeted towards the male purveyors of its catalogue, we would say given the smallish 41.5mm diameter and slim-ish 12.48mm thickness, this would also be liked by women as it would fit them quite well. It is strikingly blue and beautiful, almost like a work of art. These feature of-course guarantee the watch’s inclusion in our #His&Her list and the dual nature of potential use also facilitates its inclusion in the #FusionFriday segment.
You know what would have been cool though, if Jaquet Droz had somehow managed to insert 8 instead of 5 blued steel screws into the movement – it would have been an awesome homage to their values of using the number 8.
To find out more about Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One and other Jaquet Droz watches, visit the Jaquet Droz website here.