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  • July 02, 2018

Jaquet Droz “Story of the Unique” stops in Tokyo

Tokyo (SCCIJ) – An exhibition celebrating the 280th birthday of the Swiss luxury watch brand “Jaquet Droz” has made its sixth world tour stop in the Japanese capital. The exhibition entitled “Story of the Unique” took place from June 21st to June 24th in the Tsutaya Books store on the sixth floor of the new luxury shopping complex Ginza Six, in the vicinity of the permanent Jaquet Droz boutique in Tokyo. As part of the exhibition, the watch manufacturer has created two exceptional and unique timepieces. Following in the footsteps of its illustrious founder, Pierre Jaquet-Droz (1721–1790), the brand is traveling the world to present its creations to its most important collectors.

Jaquet Droz exhibition in Tokyo

Five earlier stops

The long world tour celebrates the founding of the house of Jaquet Droz 280 years ago. In every family there is a common raison d'être that spurs the clan to thrive and grow. So it was in the time of Pierre Jaquet-Droz. Trained in clock making by older relatives, he worked with his father-in-law and later his son Henri-Louis. Together they pooled their creative genius and avant-garde vision of clock making. 

The exhibition has made already five stops in Hong Kong, Milan, Zurich, Macao and Lisbon and is divided into three major themes: Ateliers d’Art, Automatons and Grande Seconde. Additionally, the watch manufacturer has created two exceptional and unique pieces: the “Parrot Repeater Pocket Watch” and “The Signing Machine”.  

Well-chosen location

The choice of the Tsutaya Books bookstore was no accident. Ever since the brand adopted the motto “Some watches tell time, some tell a story”, its relationship with time, like with its customers, has been written like the chapters of a book, following a narration that covers not only contemporary creations by Jaquet Droz but also its 280 years of history. The design of the event at Tsutaya Books was centered around the presence of a life-size open book, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in one of the most fascinating stories in watchmaking. 

Accompanying this journey through time, Christian Lattmann (CEO of Jaquet Droz) and Christophe Savioz (President and Chief Representative of Swatch Group Japan) were the hosts of the exhibition that opened on June 21st. For the occasion, Jaquet Droz also had an artist from its Ateliers d’Art come to give attendees an exclusive demonstration of the infinite refinement of miniature dial painting.

Jaquet Droz’ “Story of the Unique” exhibition at Tsutaya store in Ginza (click to enlarge)

Jaquet Droz’ “Story of the Unique” exhibition at Tsutaya store in Ginza (click to enlarge)

Two unique timepieces

The exhibition itself saw the brand from the La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland) exhibiting most of its 2018 new releases, some appearing in Japan for the very first time. Two other pieces have been also specially presented. The first has been the Parrot Repeater Pocket Watch, a unique timepiece (Numerus Clausus 1/1) that has the particularity of bringing together every existing craft at Jaquet Droz – both watchmaking crafts and métiers d’art (enameling, engraving, miniature painting, gem-setting, etc.). This masterpiece – one of the brand’s most ambitious creations and rarely shown in exhibition – takes the long tradition of automatons to new technical, creative and artistic horizons. 

The second piece, The Signing Machine, is also a continuation of the legacy of Pierre Jaquet-Droz: to create mechanical wonders, able to copy the living with a mastery of magic and mystery. This new automaton, the result of four years of research and development, is an exceptional work of mechanics that, with 585 components assembled and finished by hand, is able to reproduce with unparalleled fluidity the signature of the human hand – the signature of a single person, manually coded by the brand’s artisans. 

Kabuki at the opening

Along with the 2018 new releases, including the emblematic Grande Seconde Skelet-One and the delicate and feminine Lady 8 Petite, these two pieces are supposed to mark the 280th anniversary of Jaquet Droz. In honor of the occasion, the brand welcomed a Kabuki performance during the grand opening. The performance was done by Ichikawa Udanji, the famed Kabuki actor from Osaka, thus combining Swiss and local arts to envision a shared future faithful to its origins. 

Today, the brand “Jaquet Droz” is part of the Swatch Group’s luxury division. In November, 2016, the group opened a newly renovated shared boutique especially for its two brands Jaquet Droz and Glashütte Original in the Nicolas G. Hayek Center (SCCIJ reported earlier). The three-floor building completed in 2007 was designed by star architect Shigeru Ban and is located at the heart of Ginza. Hydraulic elevators carry customers directly from the ground floor to the respective showrooms of each brand of the Swatch Group. 

 

Text: SCCIJ mainly with material of Jaquet Droz; Photos: Jaquet Droz

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