This watch by Jaquet Droz is an interesting way of creating a limited edition. Each series, one in red gold and one in white gold with diamonds, consists of eight pieces, like eight frames from a film, showing a butterfly as it flits across the flowers. It recalls the multiple images created by Eadweard Muybridge in the late 19th century. The concept creates a close sense of family. I would guess that the purchaser of one of these watches could not help wondering about who owns the next or the previous “frame,” and this feeling is, curiously, far stronger than if you buy a piece from a limited edition of identical pieces.
There is a lot of time-related symbolism here: the butterfly is a creature with a very limited lifespan, an expression of ephemeral beauty, and we see it at eight instants of its brief existence. The watch reminds us of the perplexing nature of time, which we mortals can never experience as time present, because time flows relentlessly on, and every instant immediately becomes part of the past. Our experience of the present is always a little bit late because of the time needed for impulses to travel from our organs of sensorial perception to our brain. For us, what we call the “present” is always a memory.
The scene is different in the two series, with the version in red gold featuring feijoa flowers painted onto a grand feu enamelled dial, with a butterfly sculpted in red gold, and the white gold version with white bold butterfly and pink peonies. In both, the butterfly is crafted using champlevé enamel for the wings, and placed in a different position on each of the eight watches. The case is 43 mm in diameter, 11.48 mm thick, water resistance 30 metres.
The white gold version has a case set with 264 diamonds, 1.99 carats.
The watch is powered by the automatic Jaquet Droz 2653 movement running at 28,800 vph (4 Hertz), with oscillating weight engraved with the butterfly motif. It has a power reserve of 68 hours, provided by the double mainspring barrel.
The Jaquet Droz Butterfly Journey in red gold is reference J005033283; the white gold version is reference J005034266. Both are limited editions of eight pieces.