There is no secret to the appeal of the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde wristwatch. All there is to it, really, is that figure of ‘8’ motif on the dial. A timepiece that you can recognise from 10 paces away, the Grande Seconde is instantly identifiable by that face, which features two sub-dials: a smaller one at the top showing the hour and minutes, and a larger one at the bottom for the seconds.
But don’t get the wrong idea. The Grande Seconde’s design may be simple, but there is nothing simplistic about its conception and evolution. The watch’s birth and legacy spans centuries, rooted in the spirit of the brand’s namesake founder while traversing vast lands and cultures to become what it is today.
Its inspiration can be traced back to a gold pocket watch from 1785, which features the exact figure of ‘8’ design on a grand feu enamel dial. Legend has it that Pierre Jaquet Droz himself, an entrepreneurial watchmaker back in the day, was exporting his creations to China for its wealthy royals. As much as Droz’s automatons amazed the noblemen and emperors (even today, you’d be able to find his artefacts in the Forbidden City’s Imperial Palace museum), they were just as captivated by the pocket watches with the figure of ‘8’ design, as the number is associated with luck and prosperity in Chinese numerology.
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