Jaquet Droz

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Pierre Jaquet-Droz was born in 1721 on a small farm (La Ferme de Sur le Pont) in La Chaux-de-Fonds. relatives from the Brandt-di-Grieurin, Sandoz and Robert families. It proved to be a true revelation for him.

Firmly established in his profession, he married Marianne Sandoz in 1750. Soon after the birth of his two children, Julie in 1751 and Henri-Louis in 1752, Pierre Jaquet-Droz lost his wife and then his daughter in 1755. He never remarried, devoting himself entirely to clockmaking.

In an encounter that would change the course of his life and prove decisive to his international career, he met George Keith, Lord Marischal, Governor of the principality of Neuchâtel, who advised him to present his creations abroad, especially in Spain where he could help introduce him to the court. With this support, Pierre Jaquet-Droz, his father-in-law and a young hired hand named Jaques Gevril, built a special carriage designed to carry six clocks and left for Spain in 1758.

Upon his return to La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1759, the large sum of money brought back from Spain enabled Pierre Jaquet-Droz to concentrate exclusively on making watches,
clocks and automata destined to become famous. He set to work, assisted by his son Henri-Louis and a neighbor’s son, Jean-Frédéric Leschot, whom he took in after the boy’s mother died
and thought of as his own. This was the beginning of a close and fruitful partnership.