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The ultimate tribute to the creativity and historic expertise of the master craftsmenBASELWORLD 2013: The Charming Bird of Jaquet-Droz

At 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.

In line with this long tradition, and to celebrate its 275th anniversary, Jaquet Droz now presents The Charming Bird, the fourth installment of a watchmaking saga that began in 2010 with the introduction of miniature painting, followed by engraving and sculpture in 2011, that linked the following year to the brand’s longstanding association with automata. In 2013, after years of research in order to succeed in an exploit requiring great technical and mechanical prowess, Jaquet Droz has now combined the automata that first made its reputation in the 18th century with Haute Horlogerie to present The Charming Bird. This ground-breaking timepiece, for which a patent has been filed, differs from its historic predecessors in its modern, pared-down esthetic, in which we find a miniature singing bird ensconced in a 47mm-diameter timepiece with a determinedly contemporary look featuring black, charcoal-gray and transparent elements.

Against a background of a transparent sapphire dial that allows the onlooker to admire the complexity of the watch’s geartrain, bridges, and plate, the representation of this songbird is stunningly realistic down to the tiniest detail. Every part of its body, from its feathers to its beak and even its eyes, forms an exact reproduction of the birds’ delicate proportions and magnificent radiance. And Jaquet Droz goes even further: thanks to an amazingly intricate mechanism, the bird turns, flaps its wings, moves its head and tail, and opens its beak to chirp. In The Charming Bird, the Jaquet Droz craftsmen have succeeded creating a singing automaton by developing a piston-driven bellows system and miniaturizing the techniques inherited from the 18th century.

In contrast with the complexity of this model, Jaquet Droz has opted for a case of great simplicity. Made of white gold, it 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. 

A bridge between past and present, The Charming Bird represents the apotheosis of the great watchmaker’s creativity and the longstanding fidelity of the master craftsmen who have followed in his footsteps. This timepiece, produced in a limited edition of 28 pieces, is an ode to the rich creativity of the past and the promises of today that encapsulates the fabulous history of Jaquet Droz. The songbird celebrates the brand’s DNA by reviving the techniques of the automaton and the miniature. By combining them with the artistic skills of the Ateliers d’Art, it pays tribute to the continuity of the exceptional expertise perpetuated by Jaquet Droz.