“One swallow does not a summer make,” is the well-known idiom attributed to Aristotle. Just as summer is still a long way off in the literal sense, the fact that this is our second article this week featuring a deadbeat seconds watch and linking it to the Age of Enlightenment does not mean that that we are experiencing a trend.
After presenting the De Bethune DB25T Zodiac on Monday, we now turn our attention to the new Grande Seconde Deadbeat model from Jaquet Droz, which is unveiled today.
At first glance, the characteristic look of the Grande Seconde is unmistakable: an off-centre indication for the hours and minutes at 12 o’clock and a separate indication beneath this, also off-centre, for the date – all set against the background of a wonderfully sober grand feu ivory enamel dial. But this model is dedicated to the clock and watch movements of the Age of Enlightenment, with their dead-beat seconds mechanisms whose “tick-tock” sound that remains associated with the passing of time to this day.
Thus the seconds hand reclaims its rightful position at the centre of the dial, moving in one-second jumps to be read around a scale of one-second increments around the edge of the dial. Since the seconds are found on the central axis, unlike on the Grande Seconde Quantième model, to maintain the legibility of the date, the scale no longer dissects the hour and minute subdial above it. These two differences are very subtle from an aesthetic point of view, yet require an entirely new mechanical movement to translate the motions of the inner workings into what is actually seen on the dial.
This is taken care of by the Jaquet Droz calibre 2695SMR self-winding mechanical movement, which has an independent seconds mechanism and a new retrograde date function. With an 18-carat red-gold oscillating weight powering a single barrel, it offers a power reserve of 40 hours.
A patent has been filed for this new calibre, which combines the functions of independent seconds, date, hour and minutes, uses a silicon balance spring and a 10-toothed cam (rather than the 30-toothed type normally used for dead-beat seconds) as well as pallets with an optimized shape that offer an unparalleled visual display.
All this is enclosed in the familiar 43mm round case in 18-carat red gold with a hand-made black alligator leather strap. As is usual with all Jaquet Droz models it is available as a limited edition in a multiple of eight. In this case only 88 models of the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Deadbeat watch are available.