Jaquet Droz produces some of the most refined artistically-inclined timepieces, typically using a variety of artisanal decorative techniques to express its peculiar aesthetic sensibility inspired by the splendours of nature. Encapsulating the brand’s approach is the new Petite Heure Minute “Tiger” featuring black and ivory grand feu enamel dials that adeptly captures the majestic essence of the tiger with a lifelike miniature painting.
Tiger motifs are not new for Jaquet Droz timepieces; the big cat was found on several other versions of the Petite Heure Minute. But the latest version is easily the most enchanting. While the earlier tiger-motif watches were decorated in the style of a Chinese painting, the new watch depicts the tiger’s gaze up close.
The dial immediately arrests with the lifelike details of the tiger’s eyes that fill the lower half of the dial. Every strand of the tiger’s fur can be discerned, with the highlight undoubtedly the eyes, which reflects the brooding, mysterious and ferocious personality of the feline.
For this reason, I find the white gold version significantly more interesting than its red gold counterpart as the painting is more outstanding; the white brush strokes are enhanced and sharper thanks to the contrast against the glossy black enamel.
The painting is also more appealing as the blue-eyed white tiger is more exotic. Although the painting on the red gold version represents the prototypical, orange-and-black tiger, which feels more natural, it lacks the charm of the enigmatic white tiger.
Using the Petite Heure Minute as the canvas is a smart choice. Devoid of complications except for the time in a sub-dial, the Petite Heure Minute has significant real estate for decoration.
And because the case is a large 43 mm, the size of the dial also allows the painting to be large enough for prominence at arm’s length. The Petite Heure Minute “Tiger” is ultimately an eye-catching watch that’s a surefire conversation starter.
Capturing the tiger
Each dial complements its respective case metal – the white tiger with its blue eyes in the cool white gold case, while the warm red gold case echoes the colours of its traditionally striped tiger.
Both dials were created in the same way, with tiny brushes, a microscope, and great dexterity. Some of the brushes are tipped with a single hair, required to reproduce the lustrous strands of fur.
The expressive gaze of the tiger – and the personality of the watch per se – was given extra attention. Exceptional skill was required to perfect the nuanced striations of the iris. Such intricate and precise brushwork create an illusion that the tiger is intently gazing at the wearer regardless of the viewing angle.
Starkly different from the evocative painting on the front are the monochromatic mechanics on the back. Inside the watch is the cal. 2653.P, essentially a modernised version of the double-barrel Frederic Piguet cal. 1150 that’s equipped with upgrades like a silicon hairspring and pallet lever.
Key Facts and Price
Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute “Tiger”
Ref. J005034275 (white gold)
Ref. J005033331 (red gold)
Diameter: 43 mm
Height: 12.06 mm
Material: White gold or red gold
Water resistance: 30 m
Movement: Cal. 2653.P
Functions: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 68 hours
Limited edition: 28 pieces each
Availability: From August 2020 at boutiques and authorised retailers
Price: 33,200 Swiss francs; or 52,000 Singapore dollars
For more information, visit Jaquet-droz.com.
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