Watchmaker Jaquet Droz showcases its remarkable journey of art through time.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Watchmaker Jaquet Droz showcases its remarkable journey of art through time.

There’s more to haute horlogerie than record-breaking accuracy and space-age materials lobbed onto piles of complications. Jaquet Droz knows this, and has been showcasing the more artistic, craft-oriented side of watchmaking, in keeping with a history that dates back 280 years. Many of founder Pierre Jaquet-Droz’s masterpieces didn’t even tell time; his life’s work was to capture the beauty of nature and human movement in machinery. In the 18th century, his creations captivated members of royalty such as King Ferdinand VI of Spain and Emperor Qianlong of China.

In a commemorative exhibition titled “The Story of the Unique”, held outside the Jaquet Droz boutique at Marina Bay Sands this month, the watchmaker expounds on the brand’s crown jewels, from automata to timepieces (or a combination of the two), both historic and modern. The retrospective, which includes a display of new collections, details historical pieces such as the Singing Bird Cage Clock from 1780 that features feathered metal birds singing on the hour. Meanwhile, new releases such as the Grande Seconde Skelet-one and Lady 8 Petite demonstrate how the brand is interpreting its traditional artistry in more modern, wearable ways.

The star of the exhibition is the Parrot Repeater pocket watch. A physical representation of everything the brand stands for, the 56mm red gold pocket watch combines enamelling (paillonnee, grand feu and miniature painting), gem-setting, automata and relief engraving to set the scene for the minute repeater. When the repeater is activated, the birds move and the egg hatches to the chimes of cathedral gongs – true art in mechanical motion.

“The Story of the Unique” runs till Oct 14 outside Jaquet Droz, #B2M-215 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.


Created more than 200 years ago, The Singing Bird Cage Clock has birds that sing on the hour.



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The Jaquet Droz farm in La Chaux-de Fonds.
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Pierre and Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz.
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The birds move and the egg hatches in the Parrot Repeater pocket watch.
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As the official timepiece for the Women Entrepreneur Awards 2017, Corum Singapore is continuing in this line of support by bringing on J.J. Chuan as its first Friend of Corum Singapore. Chuan is the creator of Musiccloth, handwoven from the magnetic tape found in discarded cassette and video tapes. The innovative “cloth” is now available in the libraries of Material Connexion – a materials consultancy in New Work – deemed an “idea worth spreading” at a TEDx event last year, and is part of Red Dot 21’s World of Design. Chuan herself has made totes, notebooks, scarves and even dresses with it, which she sells in local lifestyle shops like Kapok, Supermama and Books Actually through her brand Rehyphen.
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If you were ever stuck on a desert island, this would be a pretty good watch to have on hand. Just ask John Rambo – or more accurately, Sylvester Stallone, who has played some of the most iconic action heroes of our time. The actor and Richard Mille set out to create a timepiece that would “conquer the most thoroughly hostile of natural environments”. Those discussions culminated in the RM 25-01 Tourbillon Adventure, which packs a good number of survival-friendly functions, including a detachable compass bezel, a level and a hermetically sealed compartment stocked with water purification tablets (good for 1 litre of water each). Since its million dollar price tag demands proper horology, too, the watch also includes a tourbillon, chronograph, 24-hour display and indicators for the power reserve, mainspring torque and winding crown position.
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You’d be forgiven for thinking there’s nothing especially novel about Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon since so much has already been done with that collection. But this is in fact the first time a Duoface – named for its two dials showing two time zones – is sporting a tourbillon. In classic Reverso style, the “regular” face keeps it simple: sunray-brushed blue dial, applied indices and dauphine hands, with the flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock. Unlike many Reversos, however, the tourbillon is also viewable from the other, more ornate side, and features a seconds track on the tourbillon cage. Since it was created to mark the manufacture’s 185th anniversary, it is limited to 50 pieces in platinum.