The striking, three-dimensional atmosphere of the dial comes to life when a complex mechanism, operated by a cam system, sets into motion by the push of a button, animates the two birds. One bobs down to give a beakful of food to one of the fledglings, while the other spreads its wings, revealing an array of colored feathers. Simultaneously, the egg in the nest opens up to reveal a chick and the waterfall in the background flows in a continuous cascade. All together, Jaquet Droz has incorporated eight distinct animations that act in synchronization with each other — the movement of the birds’ heads and wings, the movement of the fledglings, the hatching of the egg and the flow of the water. Click on the video below to see the watch in motion.
If the animations aren’t enough for you, the push-button also triggers a minute repeater, which strikes the hours, quarters, and minutes as the birds put on their show. The system uses a cathedral gong whose resonant, mellow tones are generated by two turns around the mechanism. The movement that powers this audio-visual tableau, Jaquet Droz Caliber RMA88, is made up of 508 separate components and has a single-barrel power reserve of 48 hours.
The mother-of-pearl dial and automatons showcase the work of Jaquet Droz’s painters and engravers, most impressively in the yellow, blue, white and deep black hues in the birds’ finely rendered plumage and the detailed work on the waterfall waves and the wisps of grass that make up the nest.
The watch, which required two years of development, is offered in a 47-mm case in 18k rose gold and on a rolled-edge, handmade, black alligator leather strap with a rose-gold folding clasp. Only eight pieces will be made, each with the series number engraved on the caseback, at a price of $472,500. There are also eight in a white-gold case with diamonds, priced at $493,500.
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