Pierre Jaquet-Droz was born in 1721 in the heart of the watchmaking industry, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. He trained in clockmaking and precision mechanics under older relatives’ supervision and opened his first workshop in 1738. He started his career making grandfather clocks.
In 1758, as sometimes happens in life, Pierre met someone who changed his destiny. George Keith, Lord Marischal, Governer of Neuchatel’s principality, suggested that he should show his clocks abroad. He had connections to the court of Spain that would facilitate Pierre’s introduction.
In a special carriage designed to carry six clocks, Pierre took his wares to Spain. He experienced great success, which gave him the funds to create clocks, watches, and automata upon returning in 1759. He was assisted by his remaining son Henri-Louis and a neighbor’s son whose mother had passed away.
He continued to travel around the world throughout his career and was applauded by all of the courts of Europe, Russia, and even China. He opened two more manufactures, one in London in 1774 and one in Geneva in 1748. Pierre and his son died shortly after each other in 1790, and the brand fell dormant for many years.
Today Jaquet Droz is best-known for its off-centered dials, decorative arts, and automata timepieces. Jaquet Droz has a decorative arts workshop at its manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds, with the skills to do miniature painting, enamel, paillonné enamel, and engraving.
Pierre Jaquet-Droz Personal Life
While his professional life took off, his personal life was more tragic. He married in 1750 and had two children. He lost both his wife and young daughter in 1755. He never remarried.
Who owns Jaquet Droz?
The Swatch Group purchased Jaquet Droz in 2000.
Pierre Jaquet-Droz’s career’s highlight was the creation of three life-size humanoid figures named the Writer, the Draftsman, and the Musician. Today, these robotic automata known as “the androids” continue to draw onlookers from all over the world to the Museum of Arts and History in Neuchâtel.
Jaquet Droz Collections
Inspired by the 1784 pocket watch, created by Pierre Jaquet-Droz, the Grande Seconde collection is avant-garde. The collection is predominately for men, with its case sizes ranging from 39 mm to 45 mm.
A mechanical animation in three dimensions characterizes these masterpieces. The Automata collection features exquisite unique timepieces with moving parts, like the Charming Bird, where a small bird chirps and flaps its wings.
Since the 18th century, Jaquet-Droz has been a pioneer in the art of decoration techniques. The Ateliers d’Art collection pays tribute to this past with dials in miniature painting, enamel, Paillonné enamel, engraved ornamentation, and intaglio printing.
Petite Heure Minute
A collection for women, the Petite Heure Minute foregoes the trademark figure 8 that defines most of the Jaquet Droz collection timepieces. There is only one subdial that displays hours and minutes.
The Lady 8 models illustrate fine jewelry craftsmanship in a play of curves for women who appreciate time’s emotion. Together minerals and gemstones provide an infinite number of variations for the watch. Available in either 25 mm and 35 mm case size.
The Astrale collection is a tribute to Pierre Jaquet-Droz, who created timepieces unanimously acclaimed for their beauty and extraordinary complexity. Available in six different variations, ranging from the Grande Heure Minute Quantiéme to the Twelve Cities with its multiple timezones.
The SW collection is a sporty reworking of the brand’s iconic Grande Seconde model. Available for men in a case size of 45 mm and a 41 mm jewelry version for women.