Exhibition Of luxury watches from the Jaquet Droz stable. We use the '8' design as base philosophy from the original pocket watch made in 1780 - Manuel Emch

Approximately measures one-and-a-half feet by one foot.

Contains more than 1,200 components, including 84 ball bearings, 50 cams and nine belts. It is housed in an unusual cage, whose aluminium frame is fitted with a liquid crystal glass.

It is equipped with a stylus to mark the time in hours and minutes.

It converts analogue time into mechanical digital time.

Luxury watches are alluring. More so when the brand has a history and has adorned the wrists of kings and dignitaries for many centuries. The brand, of course, is the 271-year-old Jaquet Droz, which, since 2000, has been under the aegis of Swatch.

In Chennai with a collection of 35 watches, Manuel Emch, President of Montres Jaquet Droz SA, highlights the USP of the brand. "Importance to history, the quest for elaborate excellence and unique craftsmanship, constant research for mechanical know-how, and the aesthetic and design form the four pillars of Jaquet Droz," says Emch.

Getting musical

Most of the timepieces on display are in black and white, and inspired by themes ranging from music and interaction to history and crafts. Every year, the company decides on a theme. This year, it revolves around music and songs. "Next year, it will be based on a particular filmmaker, whose films have a texture which can be transposed onto watches," says Emch.

The most striking feature about Jaquet Droz watches are that most of them sport the figure '8' in the form of two circles, one depicting minutes and hours and the other, seconds. The numeral 8 apparently holds great importance and is the philosophy behind the brand. "We use the '8' design as base philosophy from the original pocket watch made in 1780. Also, 8 is a lucky number and the logo of infinity. It's a closed figure, so the energy flow is balanced and 8 is the only figure that can enclose the two stars of the Jaquet Droz logo," explains Emch. Which is why, most of its limited editions are restricted to '8', '28' or '88' watches.

As the watches bask for attention in their black velvet trays, Emch shows the costliest of the lot. It's called Perpetual Calendar and is a limited edition with only eight pieces.

Complex mechanism

Priced at Rs. 29 lakh, this timepiece is made up of 450 components and has a very complex mechanism, and is set till the year 2100. "This is the most high-priced among the watches displayed here. Half a million dollars is how much our most expensive watch actually costs," smiles Emch.

All right then, how much does a basic Jaquet Droz cost? "Rs. four lakh," he says, pointing to L'Origine, the most affordable of the lot on display.

The clientele comprises people looking for a beautiful piece of art that's exclusive, genuine and intimate. "It is important to feel an emotional link with the watch you buy. Of course, aesthetics are important and you have to like it, but if you don't feel an emotional link, there is no use. It's not only a luxury product, but also an emotional one, " Emch adds.

Apart from watches and watch jewellery, Jaquet Droz has yet another inclusion in its stable - the La Machine à Ecrire le Temps (time machine). When you press the button on the machine, time from the watch fixed in it is captured and written down.

Designed by Emch, it took eight years to complete this limited edition piece, only 28 of which are around. Each is priced at Rs. two crore. This piece has not been brought to Chennai, but the other watches are exhibited at The Helvetica for the next two weeks.

More In: Fashion | Metroplus