Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine Watch Hands-On

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine Watch Hands-On

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine Watch Hands-On Hands-On

My love of aventurine inspired me to write about this particular limited edition version of the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon - which unsurprisingly is known as the Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine ref. J013014270 (as you'll see in a moment, a name that is a bit ironic). Limited to just 28 pieces, this is an interestingly decorative version of one of the most simple and elegant tourbillon watches available.

aBlogtoWatch first covered the Jaquet Droz Grande Second Tourbillon here, back in 2012. Rather than a 43mm wide case, the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine is smaller, at 39mm wide. That makes it sort of "uni-sex," although this style and size is popular in Asia, a region where Jaquet Droz is rather successful. So while the diamonds and mother-of-pearl are a bit feminine for some Western male tastes, I wouldn't go ahead and assume that this is a woman's watch. It is in fact marketed as a men's model, I believe.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine Watch Hands-On Hands-On

So let's get the name part out of the way, since I tend to harp on nomenclature (as you probably already know). While this watch is clearly part of the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde collection, it is mislabeled, as it does not have a "grand second" hand typical of the rest of the collection, but rather a juxtaposed dial, where the hour and minute hands are where the seconds hand would be. Where the hour and minute hands normally are on Grande Seconde models, the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine has an exposed tourbillon - which doubles as a second indicator. I feel like I am repeating myself, since I essentially made the same remarks two years ago.

I've always liked the simplicity of the Grande Seconde Tourbillon, but the story is different here. What you get is a 39mm wide 18k white gold case decorated with diamonds on the bezel and lugs, along with more diamonds outlining the figure eight shape on the dial. The outer part of the face is aventurine, while the inner part is mother-of-pearl. While I am not typically a diamond watch sort of guy, I do think the overall composition of the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine is rather beautiful.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Aventurine is a beautiful semi-precious stone that is actually a form of quartz. It comes in a range of colors with most aventurine rocks being green. Having said that, in watches, I've only ever seen the deep blue form of the mineral.  What makes aventurine special for me is that the deep blue forms of the mineral, when used as a background, offer the look of space. Space, as in the night sky. There are small shiny mineral inclusions in aventurine that sparkle like stars against the deep sky blue. When watches wish to have a background that looks like space, aventurine is often used.

Other examples of aventurine stone used in men's watches are rare, but notable. We first covered Blu watches back in 2009 which made rich use of blue aventurine. More recently, the hit Midnight Planetarium watch by Van Cleef & Arpels also used aventurine as a starry watch face. As you can see, the quartz mineral works really well for that, and while it isn't meant to look like space on the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine, it does make for an excellent frame for the time and tourbillon. More so, there is a piece of aventurine placed on the rotor, visible through the sapphire crystal caseback of the watch over the automatic movement.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Tourbillon Aventurine Watch Hands-On Hands-On

What do you think?
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  • Pretty watch, but (cough) the price is not for the feint of heart. Not sure I pull off wearing this one, just a bit to feminine for me. Killer ladies watch at a kill me dead price. The use of a sapphire disk for the top bridge of the tourbillon is a great idea. I always wondered how much of a stability impact the lack of a top bridge imposes on flying tourbillons.

  • 5803822

    Short production runs exotic prices – I wonder if these type  of productions make commercial sense to a conglomerate such as SWATCH  —- may be just marketing giveaways for wives of potential and or successful retailers.

  • iamcalledryan


  • iamcalledryan

    I don’t think it represents much of a stability risk, so long as they are using the right materials. Take the rear wheel of a Ducati panigale for example which sustains more intense relative stress. Looks sexy as hell and requires a little more production effort and expertise.

  • captaina16

    Let me see……………wretched excess.

  • trj66

    As I’ve
    stated before in this forum I simply detest truncated numbers and (sub)dials. IMHO it is a
    result of a design-process not up to standard. As far as I understand the
    R&D of the movement and the layout of the dial are interlinked in the most
    intimate way – so why not avoid the truncation all together? The sub-dials could be made a wee
    bit smaller and/or the numbers on the (main)dial could be smaller or completely
    absent as well?
    In this
    case why not just (?) design both the dial for the time telling and the cut-out
    for the view of the tourbillon – including the diamond-studded bezels – a
    little smaller: in that way the truncation of the dial for time telling would
    be intact and legibility as well.
    Geo.Graham presented yesterday sported the same problem in that the tourbillon
    truncated the main dial at 6 o’clock – why?
    I’m the
    lucky owner of a pocket-watch in silver from IWC fabricated in 1904 and the
    sub-dial for the running seconds placed at 6 o’clock has resulted in truncated
    “5” and “7” – so the design-tradition has a long history…
    Can any of
    you educated guys in this forum please explain to me the tradition of this way
    of designing?

  • Drop the diamonds and go back to 43mm and I’d be getting the vapors. I really dig everything else about it, and while I might prefer enameling to the MOP, it’s subtle enough to not be a deal breaker.

  • iamcalledryan

    Hi – you are making a statement of your taste. This is not a design flaw, it is a purposeful design element, and is pleasing to the eye for many. JD has an iconic dial layout that includes this.
    I recommend you pick up a Lange Richard Lange Tourbillon – which was designed just for you – look what happens whent he hour hand goes towards 8 o’clock.
    As you have pointed out, this design element goes back through the ages. Your comments are fine for your personal taste, but this is a very intentional and appreciated design element; just like using tourbillons, roman numerals, enamel, etc etc etc. To each his own.

  • trj66

    iamcalledryan You’re absolutely right it is a matter of taste, but I find it a little different from using from the other elements you mention: the truncation reminds me (again, only my opinion) of an afterthought. “Ohh, we forgot to make enough room for the numbers/subdials/tourbillion etc… so we’ll just cut in the original design”.

    And yeah, the Lange RLT is sooo cool – and way out of my price-range!

    Thank you for your reply.

  • bichondaddy

    Well…..now that I have seen this watch…when my wife tells me one of my watches is “over-the-top”….I’ll show her a picture of this watch and tell her…..”This is what over-the-top looks like darlin’!”

  • iamcalledryan

    Ok I get you. Well this is perhaps better compared to cutting off or omitting numerals in favour of a date apeture, or using a concentric automatic winding rotor that blocks the view of the movement, or having large minutes and hours hands that obscure the subdials occassionally. There are indeed ways in which these things can be avoided, but that is typically at the expense of the subdial size or overall diameter of the case. I think historically the overlap was employed so that ANY of the subdial scales could be read. Now that average diameters are a good 5mm larger, you are correct to ask why this space doesn’t lead to cleaner, unhindered subdials. Answer – it does for many watches, but for many others it is a unique design statement or a historical reference – something equally attractive to collectors. There are also some designers that use equations to determine the optimal position of the centre of and size of dials- this overall aesthetic balance is often at the expense of independence of the dials.

  • JoelSchumann

    Hm. Even though I was bottle fed on Scandinavian minimalism … that is actually a attractive watch IF it wasn’t for the fact they decided to go full Liberace with the Jewels. But that, apparently, is what the good people in China and Florida wants. Now, for me the real star of the show is that Aventurine. So I was kind of hoping there is some one out there with ambitions of owning a micro brand who cares to make a 500 piece run of a moon phase watch – that would also be a conceptually more fitting match considering the deep blue sky look of that dial.

  • JoelSchumann You might want to contact Beat Weinmann of Ochs & Junior (who makes a moon phase watch) about doing an aventurine dial for you.



  • WimadS

    SuperStrapper My thoughts exactly!

  • IvanTrajkovic1

    I really love that star=rotor

  • spiceballs

    I imagine that it is no coincidence that the “8” shape of the face happens to be a lucky Chinese number (bah) the sound of which is similar to the Chinese word for gold.

  • ArturoOreilly

    This is one watch where the (three) blue screws on the dial look *really* out of place  – to me, that is.

  • That look (Grande second) on JD watches predates their large popularity in the Chinese market. It’s a bit of a signature for them (that I quite enjoy).

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