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Discerning collectors look to Jaquet Droz for beautiful and complicated watches. Its watchmakers have mastered the art of creating complicated chiming watches and moving automatons, and its artisans are equally skilled in métiers d’art. They work with unique dial materials, like jasper and lapis lazuli, decorate dials and miniature 3D sculptures with paint and enamel, and are master engravers. Its newest release, the Petite Heure Minute Tiger, showcases its painting prowess. A fierce tiger gazes out from the dial, appearing to look directly at you. The work is breathtaking in its detail, and only the most skilled artisans could create this miniature painting. 

There are two versions of the watch, each limited to 28 pieces. The dramatic black Grand Feu enamel dial features a black-and-white tiger with arrestingly blue eyes. The delicate brushwork is on full display here, as you can see individual brushstrokes that recreate the tiger’s fur quite clearly against the black enamel. The detail is particularly impressive in the tiger’s eyes, which appear to follow you. 

An artisan brings the tiger to life on a white Grand Feu enamel dial using a delicate brush.
An artisan brings the tiger to life on a white Grand Feu enamel dial using a delicate brush. Jaquet Droz

The white Grand Feu enamel dial showcases a more traditional tiger with orange-and-black fur and green eyes. The brushwork is beautiful here as well, but the contrast isn’t as sharp as it is on the black dial. Both watches were painted by hand in the Ateliers d’Art in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Artisans spend hours painstakingly bringing the tiger to life using specialized tools, including delicate brushes that are as thin as a single piece of hair. 

Beneath the exquisite dial lies a self-winding mechanical movement with a very long 68-hour power reserve, which you can admire through the open case back. The movement has enlarged bridges decorated with a sunray motif, and it is powered by an 18K red gold oscillating weight, which is partially open to uncover more of the movement. Each piece is individually numbered.