First released in 2013 to celebrate the 275th anniversary of Pierre Jaquet Droz’s first workshop in 1738, this year brings with it this new particularly Swiss, limited edition version of Jaquet Droz’s Charming (in name and execution) Bird mechanical wonder (and winner of the ‘Mechanical Expression’ award at the 2015 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève).
As you can see, the upper part of the dial displays the hour and minutes on a black onyx sub dial whilst the bottom is dominated by the lifelike hand-engraved singing and wing-flapping (Tit) bird, protected by a sapphire crystal dome. Surounding both of these is a hand-painted and engraved mother-of-pearl dial depicting the Swiss countryside, inspired by traditional paper-cutting techniques. This new watch is in either 18 carat red or white gold versions, and today we are showing you the former.
The birdsong is generated by a ‘bellows’ method of air compression and not by vibration, via three minute sapphire crystal tubes that you can see. Air enters the first tube, is stored inside the second and finally pushed into the third, thus regulating the melody according to the volume of air and the speed of the carbon piston.
Powering the time component of the watch is the in-house Calibre 615 with a platinum oscillating weight and which beats at 21,600VPH and has a power reserve of thirty-eight hours. As you can see, the Swiss countryside theme of the dial has been carried through to the back.
The inclusion of the avian automaton necessarily implies that a wristwatch will require a larger case, and this new limited edition measures 47mm x 15.7mm x 22.8mm.
For those who are unfamiliar with Jaquet Droz, in their early days they had a reputation for their automata and also for this in the form of birds. Only last year, a c.1785 singing bird flask was sold for $2.53 million at auction, and for those who find themselves in Geneva, the Patek Philippe Museum has some stunning examples of early Droz automata.
The price is for the latest iteration of the modern day Jaquet Droz bird is 410,000 CHF.