There are some traditions that Jaquet Droz always observes; one of the most treasured being a tribute to the Chinese zodiac. The connection to China has been a part of the brand’s DNA for centuries. The Jaquet-Droz family began fostering relations with the imperial court as early as 1774. Over a decade, the Jaquet-Droz family exported over 600 pieces to China, much to the fascination of the Qianlong Emperor and the imperial court mandarins, who could not get enough of their mechanical automaton watches. This qualified Jaquet Droz as the first watchmaking brand imported into the Forbidden City. Numerous Jaquet Droz automatons and pocket watches are still preserved to this day in the imperial Palace Museum.
Nearly 250 years later, the Maison is still headquartered in La Chaux-de-Fonds and is honored to be carrying on this longtime Sino-Swiss friendship with a tribute to the zodiac sign for the 2021 Chinese New Year: the ox. Legend has it that the Jade Emperor chose the animals in the 12-year zodiac cycle based on a race. The ox is portrayed carrying a rat on its back, which is ultimately how the rat won the race.
Jaquet Droz believes gold is the only metal worthy of the ox. There are three pieces in red gold and one in white gold. The Maison selected two distinctive artisanal techniques to represent the new zodiac sign. First, miniature painting, which appears on two 35mm x 41mm timepieces with a majestically peaceful ox against a background of mist-covered mountains. A handpainted and softly serene pastoral scene. The other two feature relief engraving, an artisanal technique cherished by Jaquet Droz. This method is used to create an ox that literally seems to be coming out of the dial as it calmly saunters on to the pitch-black onyx face towards a gold plum tree with red ruby blossoms.