Interview with Christian Lattmann, CEO of Jaquet Droz
LB: How do Pierre Jaquet-droz’s original automata influence the way the modern brand designs and produces watches today?
CL: It's the spirit we are keeping alive that inspires our creations. There's a deeply emotional value in all our creations. We strive to create astonishment, that feeling we get when we come across something extraordinary. We feel this emotion a lot as children and it sadly dissipates as we grow up. We keep it alive by ensuring artisan workmanship is a big part of each timepiece, that our watches are crafted by hand. Our automata are truly works of art; there is nothing like the feeling you get when they come to life. LB: Does the future of Jaquet Droz rely on its past? Jaquet Droz has claim to a unique part of horological history – how can that be leveraged toward the future growth of the brand?
CL: Jaquet Droz is one of the oldest Swiss watchmaking brands. We are celebrating our 280th anniversary this year. Our motto of future growth depends on the ability to preserve the past. But we are not stuck in the past. We are upholding the defining spirit of Jaquet Droz to build our future. We want to create beauty and emotion. LB: You’ve worked for multiple other brands in the Swatch Group. What challenges does Jaquet Droz offer that differ from other historic brands, such as Breguet and Blancpain? What benefits does it offer?
CL: Each of the three brands our President Marc Hayek oversees has a very distinct identity and he wants to keep it that way. The main difference is Jaquet Droz is less well known than the other brands, but our anniversary this year is a chance to tell everyone about our amazing history while introducing our great new creations, new automata, new timepieces from our Ateliers d’art and a new version of our iconic Grande Seconde. LB: What was your reaction the first time you viewed the Writer, the Musician and the Draughtsman? How did it inspire you? CL: Astonishment. I felt like a little kid witnessing such an incredible technical and aesthetic talent. I realized to what extent Pierre Jaquet-droz and his son were geniuses and we simply must carry on that legacy. LB: In 2011, the film Hugo was released and it featured automata heavily. This is perhaps the largest pop culture moment for the automaton ever. Was there an increase in interest in Jaquet Droz timepieces during that time? CL: When the film came out, we gave a Jaquet Droz watch to the actor Asa Butterfield and the director Martin Scorsese in tribute to the wonderful story. We definitely saw more interest in our watches. We are also introducing a new automaton at Baselworld this year called Le Poète, whose design was inspired by the automaton in Hugo. So it did leave a lasting impression.