As part of the “wishes for Christmas” articles, we have a look today at one of the high technical pieces launched this year by the very traditional Jaquet Droz, the Grande Seconde Skelet-One Plasma Ceramic.
Since I have started to be interested in watches (since forever?), I have made almost every year a mental list of the watches I wish. This kind of list is a good remembering of the watches that impressed me that year. And this is not an easy task. I simply love watches. Having access to a wide variety of brands and timepieces, the task is with every year more difficult.
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Plasma Ceramic
My first encounter with the Grande Seconde Skelet-One happened during Baselworld 2018. Seen as a bold move and unusual presentation of the Grande Seconde, the watch impressed me beyond the “wow” factor. A model that is usually seen as a traditional piece, was presented in a skeletonised form using a very modern technical approach for materials but also for presentation.
A classic appearance from an ultra-tech material
The Grande Seconde Skelet-One Plasma Ceramic is fitted with, as the name suggests, a ceramic case. The name of the material comes from the complex manufacturing process. The common white ceramic is heated up with gases at a temperature of 20,000°C. As result, the ceramic achieve a lightweight and scratch-resistant metal looking surface. No metals are involved in the process.
The final presentation involves the familiar look of the Grande Seconde Collection: a 41.5mm diameter case, quite thin – 12.48 mm. The front presents a circular brushed bezel and vertically brushed lugs. The finish is subtle, giving an almost mat look. The expertise comes from the difficult decoration process. How do you brush finish a material meant to be highly scratch-resistant?
The rest of the case surfaces are polished. From the previous black ceramic model, the crown was manufactured in the same ceramic material instead of gold. This detail matches perfectly the entire grey theme. Of course, the two Jaquet Droz stars logo is present.
The Grande Seconde figure-eight dial
For those unfamiliar with the brand’s figure “8”, the history of this layout goes back to a pocket watch from 1785. Pierre Jaquet Droz created a clean dial split between to circles that touch each other, the larger one being reserved to the seconds’ indication, while the small one being used for minutes and hours. The brand celebrates its heritage with the Grande Seconde Collection since 2002 (two years after being acquired by the Swatch Group).
The new Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Plasma Ceramic follows the character of the collection and previous Skelet-One models with a sapphire dial fashioned in the prominent figure 8 shape.
Both subdials are presented with a white transfer printing and applied major indexes: hour indexes (doubling as each 5 minutes indexes) for the upper subdial and 5 seconds step for the large seconds sub-dial.
I have to admit that legibility is not the strong point of this watch. But not this is the idea behind. And, to be honest, is not a reason for me to dislike it. One just needs to incline it a bit to find the proper angle so the light can reveal all the details.
The aired construction and the transparent dial reveals every detail of the calibre JD 2663 SQ.
When is nothing to hide – Jaquet Droz 2663 SQ
Jaquet Droz fitted this beauty with the manufacture calibre 2663. The movement was skeletonised in a very practical manner. Only the necessary metal was kept, everything else is stripped to the maximum. While it might seem unconventional for a brand strongly related with exceptional traditional techniques to go with such a modern architectural and technical approach. But modern and traditional co-exist peacefully at Jaquet Droz.
The skeletonisation is done with an organic approach, following the main lines of the dial and movement. The geometric architecture was decorated with a frost finish on the face of the watch. The back presents a straight-graining decoration.
On the specifications side, one can be impressed by the 68 hours power reserve regulated at 4 Hz by a silicon balance spring depleting a double-barrel combo. The technical choice makes the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Plasma Ceramic excellent in a multi wrist-pieces rotation system without paying to much attention to setting and/or re-winding.
Enjoy the modern side of traditional watchmaking
I find the Plasma Ceramic version one of the most attractive pieces of the collection. It might be due to my weakness for skeleton watches. While the precious metals versions might be more interesting for the ones wanting to show off the luxurious side of the brand, and the black ceramic might have a more daring look, this timid presence is dear to my taste.
The watch feels great on the wrist due to the case material and “lack” of substance on the movement side. It is comfortable and does not protrude visually on or off the wrist.
As a person that likes elegance without excessive flash, I find this watch perfectly to be enjoyed anytime and everywhere. Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Plasma Ceramic is to be enjoyed by someone that perfectly understand the needed technical step further, that appreciates technology beyond a certain look. Or better said, appreciates it especially for its look.
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Plasma Ceramic must not be judged by its apparent shy look but appreciated for what it represents: a proof of the brand’s evolution still being faithful to its roots.
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Plasma Ceramic Technical Specifications and Price
- Jaquet Droz 2663 SQ,
- Self-winding skeleton mechanical movement,
- 30 jewels
- Power reserve: 68 hours
- Frequency: 28,800 v.p.h.
- Black treatment,
- Silicon balance spring and pallet horns,
- Double barrel,
- 18-karat white gold oscillating weight.
- Individual number engraved on the oscillating weight.
- Off-centred hours and minutes,
- Large off-centred second
- Plasma ceramic case.
- Diameter 41.5 mm.
- Height 12.48 mm.
- Water-resistance: To 3 bar (30 meters)
- Sapphire dial.
- 18-karat white gold base with grey treatment.
- 18-karat white gold indexes.
- 18-karat white gold dial fixing screws.
- Hands: 18-karat white gold
Strap & Buckle
- Rolled-edge hand-made grey fabric
- Stainless steel and plasma ceramic folding clasp
- RRP Germany: 24.000€