Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Ceramic

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Ceramic

The big gamble.

23 November 2019 | Jaquet Droz , Watch Reviews

Usually, I'm not too fond of a sporty take on an original classic watch, and I admit I was a bit skeptic when the first official picture of the 2019 Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Ceramic was released. Although I believe the premium brands belonging to the Swatch Group have paved the way in making ceramic watches, I nonetheless generally think that crafting a ceramic luxury watch is always a challenge, especially when the origin is a skeletonized gold one. Jaquet Droz gambled with this new luxury skeletonized zirconia-oxide based timepiece. Did it work? Let's find out.

jaquet-droz-grande-seconde-selet-one-ceramic-blueThe original gold wristwatch, introduced last year, belongs to the collections crafted to celebrate the 280th anniversary of the brand, and represents the most significant change, from a product perspective, in the last ten years or so, for a brand that is renowned as the King of automaton. It was a significant challenge for the Jaquet Droz's executives and Product Managers as well, and a gamble they won hands down. The Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One project is a new visionary take on the Grande Seconde signature collection, sort of a brand within the brand, that gives the eight-shaped design a new look, where mechanics and engineering stand out.

jaquet-droz-grande-seconde-selet-one-ceramic-blue-5Jaquet Droz is not new to ceramics: the Grande Seconde Ceramic is a long-standing piece in the current collection, yet the Grande Seconde Skelet-One Ceramic set new standards: the ceramic case has a black-grayish tone, and the upper part is, lugs included, satin-finished, whereas case side and crown are meticulously highly polished.

jaquet-droz-grande-seconde-selet-one-ceramic-blue-6Despite its intricate and sophisticated design, it looks gorgeous, and the dial is not busy; as seen from atop, the matte finish softens any excess that is ordinary when you're dealing with a gold skeleton watch, especially when that design comes in shining gold or platinum. Bridges and winding rotor have undergone different surface treatments, of course, that perfectly contrast the black-gray polished case.

The slim-designed winding rotor is a piece of art, other than being crafted in white gold for reasons related to mass inertia and winding capability (it winds up two barrels to a total 68-hour power reserve) and is one of the most aesthetically pleasing parts, thus contributing to the Jaquet Droz 2663 SQ caliber's remarkable engineering and beauty.

jaquet-droz-grande-seconde-selet-one-ceramic-blue-1I have had the privilege of wearing and enjoying several Jaquet Droz timepieces in the last three years or so, and the majority of them were all Grande Seconde; I rank the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Ceramic among the most surprising designs ever introduced by the Swiss brand; with this new product variation, brand lure and luxury foothold have been safeguarded.

jaquet-droz-grande-seconde-selet-one-ceramic-blue-4Many are the brands that lost their identity in an attempt to craft a ceramic luxury watch. Jaquet Droz instead redefined the Skelet-One while abiding by the rules set in the brand's identity and core values: the Grande Seconde Skelet-One Ceramic feels premium and is quintessentially a Grande Seconde.

jaquet-droz-grande-seconde-selet-one-ceramic-blue-2My original skepticism turned into enjoyment when I first wrapped the watch around my wrist. Can be ceramics regarded as the new steel? Maybe it can, or perhaps cannot, it's such a personal choice, after all. What I do believe instead is that the gap between the two keeps closing at a fast pace. From a user-experience point of view, many are the pros when choosing a ceramic timepiece: it is scratch-resistant, it is athermic, it is hypoallergenic. Scratch-resistance is perhaps the most significant advantage since it preserves the product's look and virtually cuts down any cost related to aesthetic overhaul.

jaquet-droz-grande-seconde-selet-one-ceramic-blue-7I'd instead suggest the brand to pay their attention to improving the product's comfort further: the strap is too stiff when the watch is new with tags, and I love wristwatches that perfectly wrap around my wrist since day one. It is an area of improvement that I have often highlighted in the past on the blog. From an aesthetical standpoint, I would prefer a more subtle pattern on the strap or, why not, would investigate external collaborations with equally outstanding brands. In this regard, I would pair this case to a silk woven strap made by a distinguished brand, like E. Marinella, for example. The price? A Grande Seconde Skelet-One Ceramic retails for 24,600€.

(Photo credit: Marco Antinori for Horbiter®)

Gaetano C @Horbiter®

Instagram - Gaetano Cimmino

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