February 3, 2015
by Ariel Adams
It is funny how trends develop in the watch world, especially for relatively high-end, obscure complications. Once strange and relatively unique, the dead beat seconds complication is having a veritable renaissance perpetuated first by the more hip independent watch makers and now entering the mainstream of high luxury timepiece creations. For 2015, Jaquet Droz gets on the dead beat seconds hand wagon with a new version of the Grande Seconde called the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Deadbeat.
What is a deadbeat seconds complication? For those who don’t already know, it is simply explained by saying that it is a ticking seconds hand in a mechanical watch. Ticking seconds hands are normally reserved for quartz watches – at least that is how they are known in more modern watches. Historically, however, ticking seconds hands existed on certain high precision clocks sometimes known as regulator clocks. These clocks were used in scientific labs or to help regulate the time of other clocks. Ticking seconds hands make it much easier to count the seconds when that is important. Recently, thanks to brands like Arnold & Son, the dead seconds hand (which has other names as well) has been popping up more frequently, and watching them in action is far more elegant than seeing ticking seconds hands on quartz watches.
The 2015 Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Deadbeat takes the familiar look of the Grande Seconde watch collection and adds a ticking central seconds hand. This is actually an evolution on the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantieme (hands-on here), because it also includes an indicator dial for the date. I have to admit that the balance of the dial, well at least the elegance, is thrown off a bit, given the inclusion of a central seconds hand. The grace of the core Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde watch dial look is the figure eight layout with the hours and minutes on top and the seconds below. While this execution is fine, it would seem to have been a more “pure” Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde with the removal of the date dial and the larger subdial for the seconds being the deadbeat seconds indicator.
Nevertheless, that suggestion may have not resulted in the optimal visual experience to fully appreciate the dead beat seconds hand – which is best experienced when it takes up an entire dial. Inside the watch is the exclusive for Jaquet Droz caliber 2695SMR automatic movement that contains a silicon hairspring and power reserve of 40 hours, operating at 3Hz. The lower-than-anticipated power reserve is likely due to the extra power necessary for the “jumping seconds hand.” The movement further features the newer automatic rotor design and movement decoration we are seeing in more and more Jaquet Droz watches.
For its debut model, the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Deadbeat will come as the reference J008033200 in 18k red gold, with a grand feu enamel dial. The case is 43mm wide and 13.79mm thick. We continue to love the rolled alligator straps that Jaquet Droz pairs with many of their timepieces. For 2015, the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Deadbeat watch will be limited to 88 pieces (surprise, surprise on the number) and will be priced between about $30,000 – $35,000. jaquet-droz.com