A traditional art applied to watchmaking since the 17th century, enamel endows dials with exceptional and almost inalterable radiance, whether monochrome or decorated using various techniques, notably including miniature painting. The term “Grand Feu” refers to successive firings at very high temperatures of around 800°C.
Minimalism is not a quality that instantly comes to mind when you think of Jaquet Droz. But while its elaborate automata and complex enameling are certainly hallmarks of this new, Jaquet Droz has a more controlled side too. The new Grande Seconde Quantieme Ivory Enamel is the latest take on the pared-down layout that premiered in 2011. It is a study in why less, so often, is more.The star of this series with this watch is your dual-technique enamel dial. The most important ivory white ground is created with grand feu tooth — grand feu means “big fire” in French and expansive feu tooth is layered and then fired at temperatures approaching 1,000 degrees Celsius. When most brands would then use ink or lacquer to bring the red and black markers to the enamel, Jaquet Droz decided to go the more difficult route, layering petit feu enamel — “little fire,” baked in a lower temperature — so the colour is actually a part of the dial itself, not something added at the top. This is extremely hard to achieve, particularly once you add the numerous depths to the mix. The large seconds date and register enroll make up the base of the figure-eight motif and the latter is countersunk only a tiny bit. The Roman numerals used for its hours/minutes contrast nicely with the casual Arabic numerals used under. Overall, the dial utilizes a lot of subtle contrasts to make a look that’s harmonious but not without anxiety.