July 10, 2009
by Ariel Adams
This new watch collection from Jaquet Droz simply epitomizes simplistic operation. They are careful not to call it a world time because it only houses 12 time zones, though the buyer can specify what 12 sequential timezones they will be (and Jaquet Droz will presumably indicate appropriate reference cities for the time zone disc). Looking at the watch you see but three functional pieces of information on the dial: an jumping hour window, and minute hand, and a window with the a city name. And really that is all you need. Pressing the pusher at 2 o’clock cycles through the timezones and changes the city name as well as the hour. With just 12 time zones to go through you can only cycle in one direction. More complex multi-time zone watches allow you to cycle in both directions.
Other customizations include white gold and rose gold colored cases as well as various dial treatments. You can see a gallery of a few more interesting Jaquet Droz Les Douze Villes watch dial choices here. In addition to the rose gold with black enamel is a white gold version with a meteorite dial that is pictured. The lower images design is pleasant, but odd to the degree that you have a central round dial that does not seem to serve and purpose as the minute hand actually uses the larger dial, not the smaller one. A minor point, but worth noting. Jaquet Droz’s young looking CEO Manuel Emch takes you through this year’s new creations in the video below. Is he trying to grow a beard or does he just need to shave? I can’t really tell. I swear it is a distraction when he is talking. Still, he seems to know what he is going and the images of the new Jaquet Droz automaton are really cool. Basically it is a very complex machine that just writes down what time it is on a piece of paper. Consider it a very expensive science project that really only serves the purpose of being interesting to watch operate.
I am considering the utility of the Les Douze Villes collection and whether having just 12 timezones enough. I mean it is for the most part. In the US you’d really only need to cycle through four of them – but once you left this continent the watch wouldn’t be ultra useful. Basically you’d have to travel from Europe to part of Asia frequently to take full advantage of the watch – without needing more utility. What I really like is the sheer simplicity of the movement operation and information read out. Jumping hour watches are some of my favorite in terms of legibility and ease of use, and this is a very practical integration of that complication. Prices for the Jaquet Droz Les Douze Villes collection will run from about 20,000 – 30,000 Euros.
See Jaquet Droz watches on eBay here.