Plique-à-jour Jaquet Droz masterpiece


Jaquet Droz is demonstrating its mastery of plique-à-jour enameling for a Petite Heure Minute Smalta Clara Hummingbird timepiece that launches this week.

Only eight of the miniature horological artworks are being made.


The watch is effectively a stained glass window in miniature, with each color making up the picture set in gold partitions.

Jaquet Droz has established itself as one of the rare artisanal ateliers to use the ancestral technique of plique-à-jour enameling which first appeared 1500 years ago.

Unlike cloisonné or champlevé, the technique consists of applying the enamel to bottomless molds.

A gold dial with partitions of different shapes and sizes is created. Each empty space is filled with different colors of enamel before undergoing several successive firings. Each passage in the oven gives the enamel its color and density, yet with the constant risk that only a few degrees hotter will break it.

Just like a miniature stained-glass window, this plique-à-jour process results in a perfectly transparent enamel which plays with light, shadows and reflections, and which gives the motif featured as much volume as it does life.

If the art is not precious enough, the 35mm watch, with a mother-of-pearl dial, is also set with 100 diamonds on the bezel and pallet lugs.

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