Jaquet Droz – The Charming Bird



THE CHARMING BIRDAt the heart of the legend created by Pierre Jaquet-Droz in his manufactory in La Chaux-de-Fonds, birds play an enchanting role in these legendary timepieces. Whether purely decorative or conceived as genuine singing automata, they have been part of the brand’s creative adventure for nearly three centuries and now continue to delight of each of their admirers.


AESTHETICS This ground-breaking timepiece reveals a modern, pared-down aesthetic, in which we find a miniature singing bird ensconced in a 47 mm-diameter case with a determinedly contemporary look featuring black, anthracite and transparent elements. The case combines a sober design with a dome-shaped sapphire crystal specially conceived to enhance the effect of each ray of light that passes through it. The artisans of the Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art spend over twenty hours fashioning each songbird. First the bird’s feathers, head and exquisitely delicate tail are engraved in an exacting stage that demands total accuracy and concentration from the artisan. Then the painter adds a final touch of finesse, contrasting tiny strokes of color with the black and anthracite lines of the dial.


TECHNOLOGY Traditionally made with a bellows system, Jaquet Droz songbirds needed to be miniaturized and adapted to fit into a wristwatch. New technologies were specially developed to achieve this: sapphire for the tube and carbon for the piston. Sapphire is a mineral with strong resistance to wear and tear. Carbon is used to limit friction and increase water resistance.

This miniaturization process (for which a patent has been filed) creates tiny pistons that pump the air, store it and produce the sound. The exact sound it makes is dependent on the speed of the piston and the shape of the bellows opening.


The automaton’s mechanism is based on a system requiring three cams; one to direct the bird’s rotation, a second to control the opening and closing of the beak, the flapping of the wings, and the movement of the tail; and a third that adjusts the note of the whistle.


The mechanism harnesses not vibrations, but air to produce its sound – in this instance, the chirping of a bird. The whistle has been painstakingly perfected to ensure it reproduces the 3 different notes of the melody flawlessly and amplified to the required volume.


The Charming Bird comes in two limited edition versions, each comprising just 28 pieces.



THE LADY 8 FLOWER  An expression of refined femininity enhanced by the astounding automaton and the virtuosity of the Jaquet Droz Ateliers d’Art. 

The Lady 8 Flower, a fusion of all the arts and crafts practiced by Jaquet Droz, is made up of two superimposed circles creating a figure of eight, an emblematic number for the brand and a symbol of harmony, perfection and infinity. The lower circle features a delicate butterfly, its wings outspread. Two versions are available: one with the butterfly’s wings painted and engraved in translucent red enamel on a guilloché background; the other, incorporating jewels, features a butterfly set with blue sapphires and portrayed against snow-set diamonds. The upper circle reveals a lotus flower under a sapphire crystal dome. Representing serenity and poetry, and sacred to many Asian cultures, the flower has been crafted with the utmost care. Each petal is individually enameled or engraved to give its back a perfect satin finish

As a mysterious bud or fully opened jewel-like bloom, this animation is not simply a pure vision of naturalistic and poetic beauty. By pressing a push-button the lotus flower opens, revealing its diamond heart. For Jaquet Droz, the timepiece also presented a new technical challenge: accommodating the two mechanisms, the watch’s and the automaton’s – within a 35 mm diameter case, while ensuring one never interferes with the other. 

The Lady 8 Flower comes in two limited edition versions, each comprising just 8 pieces.


For more information : http://www.jaquet-droz.com

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