Jaquet Droz introduces Paillonnée Enamel “Fleur de Lys” and “Fleur de Vie”

Rare and delicate enamel.

Jaquet Droz was historically renowned for elaborate and ornamental pocket watches, often decorated with enamel and pearls, reflecting the brand’s on the Chinese market, which demanded lavishly decorated timepieces. The brand’s newest pair of paillonné enamel wristwatches – the Fleur de Lys Grande Seconde Paillonnée and Fleur de Vie Petite Heure Minute Paillonnée – embody the brand’s past aesthetic sensibilities.

French for “spangled”, a reference to the tiny decorative pieces of gold foil that make up the pattern, paillonné enamelling has been a specialty of Jaquet Droz since its modern-day revival, starting with the very first Grande Seconde Paillonnée of 2004 that had a dial made by enamel artisan Anita Porchet. Jaquet Droz has since mastered the fine art of paillonné enamelling, with recent editions like the Paillonnée Enamel “Gold Arabesques” featuring dials made in its own workshops.

Initial thoughts

The new pair of paillonné enamel watches do not fail to impress with their vivid colours and patterns – gold paillons against translucent blue enamel over guilloché makes for a dynamic combination that immediately catches the eye. And up close, which is the best way to appreciate the enamelling, the gold paillons are tiny yet intricate and nuanced.

The ring circling the sub-dials on both watches is made of 18k red gold

Out of the two, I gravitate towards the Fleur de Vie due to its 35 mm case, which is fitting for a dress watch, especially compared to the significantly-larger 43 mm Fleur de Lys. I also love that the mother of pearl sub-dial as it adds an extra layer of complexity to the dial. The diamonds on the case and mother of pearl make it a ladies’ watch, but remove those and it would be a formal watch for men.

However, the blue strap creates too much blue in the watch, distracting from the dial. A black alligator strap would do better in emphasising the striking dial, which is the very combination found on the original series of paillonné enamel watches.

Fleur de Lys Grande Seconde Paillonnée

Fleur de Vie Petite Heure Minute Paillonnée

Paillonné enamel

Paillonné enamel is an esoteric craft even within the rarefied domains of enamelling. Individual paillons – dainty shapes cut from a thin gold leaf – are positioned by hand to form a repeating motif on a base already covered in fired, translucent enamel. The paillon pattern is then covered in further layers of enamel, and finally fired and polished.

For the dials of the Jaquet Droz watches, the base is a solid gold disc with radial guilloche. And unlike the first-generation paillonné enamel that uses antique, 19th century paillons, Jaquet Droz now produces its own paillons, allowing it to create a myriad range of paillonné patterns.

Consequently, both watches feature different paillons. The Grande Seconde Paillonnée is decorated with a repeating fleur-de-lis motif, while the Petite Heure Minute Paillonnée dial is covered in a pattern created by overlapping circles sometimes known as fleur de vie.

Both watches are powered by variants of the same calibre that was originally the double-barrel Frederic Piguet 1150, but now upgraded in various ways, including a silicon hairspring and pallet lever.


Key facts and price

Fleur de Lys Grande Seconde Paillonnée
Ref. J003033437

Diameter: 43 mm
Height: 12.06 mm
Material: Red gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: 2663.P
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds
Winding: Self-winding
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 68 hours

Strap: Blue alligator

Limited edition: Eight pieces
Availability: Now at boutiques
Price: 67,000 Singapore dollars, or about US$47,000


Fleur de Vie Petite Heure Minute Paillonnée
Ref. J005003244

Diameter: 35 mm
Height: 10.8 mm
Material: Red gold with diamonds
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: 2653.P
Functions: Hours and minutes
Winding: Self-winding
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 68 hours

Strap: Blue alligator

Limited edition: Eight pieces
Availability: Now at boutiques
Price: 71,000 Singapore dollars, or about US$50,000

For more information, visit Jaquet-droz.com.


 

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