The New Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Tourbillon Only Watch 2021 Illuminates Both Your Wrist and Your Soul
Editor’s note: For nearly a decade now we have curiously anticipated the Only Watch Auction. The 2021 edition doesn’t disappoint! While watches earlier this year had a green theme, this year’s Auction watches seem to have an orange theme. Following the releases from Watches & Wonders 2021, today we present the new Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Tourbillon Only Watch 2021. Here’s our preview and the Gut Reaction Review (Grr…). For our standard detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
Stained glass beauty, intricate architecture of the skeletonised dial, a 7-day power reserve, a flying tourbillon and the dance of light and time shine bright in the new Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Tourbillon Only Watch 2021.
When it comes to Jaquet Droz watches, for me, the Skelet-One architecture, mastery over the art of enamelling, and automatons are the three highlights of the brand’s impressive arsenal. And the design of the new Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Tourbillon Only Watch 2021 epitomises, combines — two out of these three — and succinctly presents what the brand can be identified with: the combination of the figure-8 and exceptional finishing with a flying tourbillon complication and a plique-à-jour enamel dial.
I was already impressed when recently Jaquet Droz announced the 2021 Skelet-One watches that were enthused with a burst of subtle colour. We were lucky enough to go hands-on with the new Grande Seconde Skelet-One Ceramic Green back in May and concluded that to look at the Grande Seconde Skelet-One architecture is to immerse oneself in the artistic glory of naked horological art. And the new Skelet-One for Only Watch 2021 is no different.
But thanks to the use of plique-à-jour enamelling, this piece unique reaches new heights.
My first reaction to the new Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Tourbillon Only Watch 2021 was that of amazement. I hadn’t hidden my love for the Skelet-One Ceramic Green in its review and hadn’t really given voice to the reason that something better could come along.
I say amazed because the au naturel ideology in the world of watchmaking is so beautifully interpreted here that it takes a moment to really let the watch sink in.
What’s not to like? For movement nerds there is the case-back to marvel at: a suspended gear train is attached to the movement’s skeletonized bridges raised by an open-worked oscillating weight that lets light shine clearly through. Not only that, but the tourbillon cage follows the geometry of the skeleton movement, with a triple cross shape which, once a minute, aligns perfectly with its bridges. And for lovers of the Ateliers d’Art side of things, there is that plique-à-jour enamel dial that presents itself like a stained glass window.
This translucent enamel “plique-à-jour” or “open to light” technique is artistically used to create a unique timepiece for a praiseworthy cause; the new Skelet-One Tourbillon Only Watch illuminates both your wrist and your soul.
Talking about the timepiece as a whole, it is essentially a tourbillon version of the Skelet-One Ceramic Green we reviewed recently.
Measuring in ever so slightly thicker than the new Skelet-One Ceramic Green at 41mm diameter and 13.36mm thickness, it should feature a 49.5mm lug-to-lug spacing and 20mm lug interhorn spacing. Given the Skelet-One Ceramic Green weighed only 65g, I reckon the new Skelet-One Tourbillon Only Watch wouldn’t deviate much from that.
In terms of the engine, the ref. J013523243 features the 2625SQ, a black treated single barrel self-winding skeleton tourbillon movement with a silicon balance spring and pallet horns, a titanium tourbillon frame, and an 18-karat red gold rotor.
The calibre 2663 SQ of the Skelet-One Ceramic Green beat at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h), comprised 30 jewels and provided a decent 65-hour power reserve.
The calibre 2625SQ most impressively offers a 7-day power reserve. Other than that, it beats at a lower frequency of 3Hz and comprises 30 jewels.
Coming back to the aesthetics side of the new Skelet-One Tourbillon, the Skelet-One Ceramic Green design’s star-quality, the gossamery appearance, is still retained, but is now even more enhanced by the use of multiple enamel cells of different colours and shapes that are separated by gold wire cloisons.
The only thing I personally own that reminds me of this — in certain aspects — is the Alexander Shorokhoff Kandy that is again full of colour and also uses gold wires or cloisons on the side of its case.
Other than the use of colour and wires, the new Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Tourbillon Only Watch 2021 is truly different.
This 18-karat red gold cased beauty features a sapphire dial and 18-karat white gold base with Grand Feu “plique-à-jour” enamel. It comes on a rolled-edge, handmade black alligator strap with an 18-carat red gold folding clasp. The timepiece, for an Haute Horlogerie watch, is decently water-resistant to 30m as well.
Even though it comes in gentleman’s sizing of 41mm diameter, thanks to the colourful dial, I can see both men and women connoisseurs being enamoured by it. In essence, it is pure showmanship. It has got an estimate of CHF 160’000 – 200’000 that I see in no way not being achieved easily.
The new Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Tourbillon Only Watch 2021 now sits alongside 8 other variations, mostly distinguished by the materials of the case and the hour circle — and slight case dimensions — used: white gold ref. J003524240 and red gold ref. J003523241 are both in precious materials and slightly smaller than the rest, coming in at 41×12.30mm.
The rest of the variations are either in plasma ceramic tone-on-tone, plasma ceramic yellow, blue and green, ceramic two-tone or plasma ceramic with gold hour circle.
In regards to the praiseworthy cause, this auction has raised more than 70 million Euros so far and has enabled scientists to continue their research.
54 brands are participating this year for the 9th edition — the first one was in 2005 — of the biennial charity auction Only Watch, whose aim is to raise funds for research against Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
The lots will go on a small world tour — unfortunately, but surprise surprise, Australia is not a part of it — and then auctioned in collaboration with Christie’s on 6 November 2021, at 2 pm (Geneva time), at the Four Seasons Hôtel des Bergues.
I am pleased to note that the apparent albeit unofficial orange theme for this year’s Only Watch Auction is quite nicely expressed on the new Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Tourbillon Only Watch 2021.
That’s All Folks!
There is a Marc Chagall quote that sums up the dial quality of the new Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Tourbillon Only Watch 2021: “For me a stained glass window is a transparent partition between my heart and the heart of the world”.
For watch collectors and connoisseurs, the stained glass effect reminiscent plique-à-jour enamel dial is a transparent partition between the wearer’s heart and the heart of the world of the watch, the skeleton tourbillon calibre 2625SQ.
If you like modern skeletonised watches and appreciate the centuries-old Ateliers d’Art workmanship, the piece unique is a perfect bridge that reveals the journey of time vividly.
To find out more about the new Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Tourbillon Only Watch 2021 and other Only Watch auction timepieces, please head to the ONLY WATCH 2021 collection website here. All images unless otherwise specified are Courtesy ©Jaquet Droz. All rights reserved. All Rights Reserved. Make sure to check out our reviews of Watches & Wonders 2021 releases here.