Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW: Takes Aim at Hublot…

The Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW is the face of the reborn Haute Hologerie brand. At 45mm in diameter and unabashedly contemporary in its style, the Grand Second SW endows Jaquet Droz with an all-star franchise player that’s ready to trade blows with playmakers from Audemars Piguet and Hublot.

Jaquet Droz relaunched in 2002 with Swatch Group financial firepower. Intended to offer an avant garde and youthful alternative to the traditionalism of Breguet and the understated opulence of Blancpain, Jaquet Droz initially struggled to define itself with a signature product.

The search ended with the 2008 Jaquet Droz SUW. Literally “Sports Utility Watches” the SUW took the brand’s initial pocket watch-inspired formal models and enhanced the size, attitude, and details. Activity-focused materials like scratch-resistant ceramic bezels, high-grade steel cases, Super LumiNova luminescent dials, and natural vulcanized rubber straps transformed the staid Jaquet Droz “Grande Seconde” into a true player in the upscale sports watch segment.

As of 2012, the SUW range was renamed “SW” but the luxury sports watch substance remains intact. Jaquet Droz plays alongside its sisters Harry Winston, Breguet, and Blancpain at the top of the Swatch brand pyramid, so no expense is spared in the execution details.

All elements of the case, dial, strap, and deployant clasp are crafted to a standard that would look at home on an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore. The style of all Grande Second models, SW included, broadly references the pocket watch dial layouts designed by eighteenth century namesake Pierre Jaquet Droz, but the SW is throughly contemporary in every respect.

The commanding 45mm watch wears and looks even larger than its nominal size. A thin bezel and sprawling dial create the illusion of a timepiece that pushes 50mm; flying buttress-style lugs and case brackets flank the dished steel case; small shocks of blue and polished rhodium break up the stark expanses of the uncluttered dial. It’s a credit to the Jaquet Droz design team that the Grande Seconde SW offers a high-impact aesthetic rival to the Hublot Big Bang and AP Royal Oak Offshore without borrowing so much as a single line from that segment-defining pair.

Remember: Jaquet Droz sits at the top of the Swatch Pantheon, and when the time comes to assign movements, JD skips ETA for the top-shelf goods.

The Jaquet Droz caliber 2663 is shared with Blancpain, manufactured by F. Piguet, and hand-finished like a true haut de game movement should be. Anglage arcs are blinding, the dark ruthenium Cotes de Geneve is striking against the gleam of the 18-karat white gold winding rotor, and the tight application of base plate perlage speaks to an artisan-guided application, not a machine job. All screw heads are polished, and every visible wheel features a subtle directional grain. A 68-hour power reserve completes the caliber’s full suite of high-end refinements.

There are those who “Go Offshore.” There are those who want to make a “Big Bang.” And then there are those who take the watch less common. With annual production of only 3,000-4,000 timepieces per year, Jaquet Droz offers what Hublot and Audemars Piguet cannot: exclusivity.

See this exclusive, striking, and finely-wrought Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW in high-resolution images on www.watchuwant.com.