The Jaquet Droz Bird Repeater Openwork combines expertise in several arts to create an amazingly detailed and realistic automaton with minute repeater. This new model also features a clear sapphire dial that reveals the complex mechanism behind the moving parts. Here are five things you need to know about this new timepiece.
The namesake of the Jaquet Droz watch brand, Pierre Jaquet-Droz, was an 18th century Swiss watchmaker who was known for creating outstanding examples of what some today might call very early robots. Known as automata, these figures took various forms, including human and animal, and they came in various sizes, from tiny miniatures to life-size. Exceptionally complex machinery caused the figures to perform a variety of tasks, including playing musical instruments, writing, and drawing. Jaquet-Droz was a master of this art, and he often included animatronic birds in famous table clocks, pocketwatches, and music boxes. The Bird Repeater Openwork is a remarkable tribute to Jaquet-Droz from the company that bears his name. Here are five things you should know about it.
1. The Animation
Triggering the mechanism brings the three-dimensional figures to life. One of the adult birds bobs down, offering a beakful of food to a fledgling. The other adult spreads its wings, revealing an array of colored feathers. At the same time, the egg opens to reveal a chick, and the waterfall flows in a continuous cascade. In all, the movement animates eight distinct and synchronized animations: the movement of the birds’ heads and wings, the movement of the fledglings, the hatching of the egg and the waterfall.
2. A Transparent Dial
This new interpretation of the original Bird Repeater, created in 2012, appears to have no dial, but in fact the dial is clear sapphire. This construction has two effects. It naturally opens the complex mechanism behind the automata, allowing the owner to appreciate the movement’s complexity and craftsmanship. Because the movement components are black, anthracite and gray, the colorful animations clearly stand out, again enhancing the viewing pleasure.
3. The Minute Repeater
Standing alone, the animated display is a masterwork sure to impress any aficionado, yet Jaquet Droz does not stop there. The slide also activates a minute repeater, one of the most difficult haute horlogerie complications to master. The mechanism strikes the hours, quarters, and minutes as the birds perform their graceful ballet. The repeater’s chimes are produced by a cathedral gong that circles the movement twice, resulting in pleasing, resonant tones.
4. An Objet d’art
The actions already described are impressive, but a full appreciation of the craftsmanship this piece embodies requires a closer look. The representation of the birds is realistic down to the smallest detail. The birds are anatomically accurate, from the forms of the bodies to the feathers, and even the tiny beaks and eyes. The details and the vivid colors showcase the work of the Jaquet Droz painters and engravers most impressively in the birds’ finely rendered plumage.
5. A Modern Interpretation
The Jaquet Droz Bird Repeater Openwork is presented in a streamlined, contemporary case, fashioned from solid 18k white gold. The overall dimensions are 47 mm in diameter and 18.4 mm in height. The manually wound movement is Caliber RMA 88. It runs at a classic 18,000 vph in 69 jewels for 48 hours on a single wind. The black alligator strap with alligator lining is hand-made with rolled edges and is secured with an 18k-white-gold folding clasp.
The Bird Repeater Openwork will be issued in an individually numbered, limited edition of eight pieces.