Brand Directory: Jaquet Droz

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Pierre Jaquet-Droz opened his watchmaking workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1738. His reputation soon spread beyond Swiss borders. A trip to Spain to promote his work in 1758 made him extremely wealthy and was able to make a human-looking automaton. Helped by his son, Henri-Louis, and his adoptive son, Jean-Frédéric Leschot, they made four automata: The Draftsman, The Writer, The Musician and The Grotto. Jaquet-Droz showed off his automata in capital cities and at royal courts around Europe, where large crowds were entranced and perplexed. Expansion came in the form of a workshop in London in 1775 a place renowned for its trading links with the Far East, China in particular. A third was opened in Geneva, in 1784. Due to enormous financial problems, the death of both Pierre (1790) and then Henri-Louis (1791) saw the end of their business.

In its new modern form, Jaquet Droz's story starts in 1989 when Investcorp, a Saudi-English company that already owned Breguet, Chaumet and Ebel, bought the rights to the Jaquet Droz brand name. The Jaquet-Droz brand was re-launched at BaselWorld in 1993. François Bodet and Yves Scherrer, who both had worked for the Breguet Group, acquired the rights in 1995 and soon began producing copies of Jaquet-Droz automatons before they launched an exquisite line of Jaquet-Droz branded watches.