Jaquet Droz, black and off-centered

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July 2016

The brand keeps us off balance with its elegant dress watch, the Grande Seconde Off-Centered Onyx

Jaquet Droz, black and off-centered

There’s something about off-center watch dial designs that makes them appealing. Our brains are biologically programmed to find symmetry – that’s why some of the most beautiful people in the world are said to have the most symmetrical faces.

The same reasoning can apply to watches too. But the face of the Grande Seconde Off-Centered is definitely off symmetry, which has been done on purpose and to great effect.

Since the 18th century, Jaquet Droz has been known for having a very elegant and balanced look to its dress watches. Part of that design code is using two barely superimposed dials to form the figure 8, a symbol of balance and wholeness.

Jaquet Droz, black and off-centered

But their craftsmen have given a twist to this motif by shifting the second dial slightly towards the 7 o’clock position. The dial design is clean and elegant to be sure. But it also leaves me wanting more, wanting a sense of completion and symmetry which cannot be had. Ironically, that’s what makes this timepiece all the more appealing.

Following a great tradition of mineral dials, an onyx disc has been painstakingly cut and polished to form the face of this watch. Its deep black harbors an extraordinary intensity; it’s like looking into the abyss.

Jaquet Droz, black and off-centered

This version of the watch also features a new 43mm stainless steel case for the first time, which can also be had in a white option. The dial is offset by the brilliance of the indexes, which are cut directly into 18-carat white gold circles forming the large hours and minutes dial and the smaller seconds dial.

While this elegant watch is definitely asymmetrical, there’s perfect balance between the lightness of the case and indices and the dark depths of the onyx dial. And once again, Jaquet Droz has found the right balance, even if it’s a bit off-center.