A modern wonder that combines the avian fantasy with fine Swiss watchmaking is the world's first automated bird wrist watch. The Jaquet Droz Charming Bird is a one of a kind must have for bird lovers who have a flair for the novel if not whimsical. This fully functional time piece is every bit the quality that you'd expect from the Jaquet Droz company with a special touch that brings automation to the fore with this creation.
Pierre Jaquet-Droz first founded the Jaquet Droz watch company in 1738. The Charming Bird was developed in commemoration of the 275th Aniversary of the company's establishment. Jaquet-Droz was well known for his creation of 18th century humanoid automatons which were advanced for the time. He built three of them and it is this technology that inspired the creation of a mechanical watch.
The first prototype was developed in 2013 and announced at the Baselwood fair. Switzerland would yet have another magnificent creation from Jaquet Droz with the assistance of master of automatronics, Francois Junod. The world was awaiting news to find out what the final product would be like. Jaquet Droz watchmakers continued to refine the piece with reworking to improve the imperfections which were first observed in the first draft of the design.
Of great importance were sound qulity and volume , and mechanism durability. The final product had to meet high standards for being aesthetically pleasing to the ear, loud enough to easily hear and long lasting to stand up to the reputation of the still Jaquet Droz quality standards. With the full knowledge that this watch would be the first of its' kind, extra time was taken to produce the most exceptional piece possible. The final version of the Charming bird was finished in 2015. This limited edition called for the production of just 28 pieces of this rare and charming accessory.
The 2015 limited edition Jaquet Droz Charming Bird wrist watch features in-house Jaquet Droz caliber 610 movement which is exclusive to the brand. It features a solid platinum rotator and is self winding with a 41 hour power reserve.
The traditional bellows system that was used to create the sounds that a bird makes were miniaturized to fit into the confines of this wristwatch. The tube is made with sapphire and the piston of carbon. This in fact increased the durability of the internal workings while adding water and wear resistance and a decrease in friction. The Charming Bird is available in red gold or 18 carat white gold case with a 47mm wide band. The price has come down from $500,000 to $402,000 USD.
Attention to fine details
The iny automated bird is housed inside of the crystal and is activated by pushing a button on the watch. The tiny bird itself has been hand sculpted and painted with careful attention to detail. The automata technology is taken from yesteryear yet miniaturized through modern technological advances. The backgound of the watch fce is made of transparent sapphire and shows the 29 jewel movement which runs at 21,600 vibrations per hour.
What does the watch do?
One thing is for certain, the watch is entertaining. It stimulates conversation from lay people and inspires professionals in the watchmaking and automata industries to take a closer look at this marvelous innovation. It is a revolutionary approach to luxury watch making.
When the bird is activated through the push of a button, the wings and beak of the bird move as it sings. The movements are controlled by miniature springs. The sounds are created from the hand bellows replication that has been miniaturized to fit inside of the watch. It produces a sound that is amazingly close to an actual bird.
The sound that this watch emits is piston driven. The micro engineered carbon piston heads make the sound as they come into contact with the sapphire bellow tubes. The entire invention is a work of art that uses antiquated technology. It works quite well. In addition to being a spectacular novelty, the watch also tells time.
Who would wear this watch?
This limited edition masterpiece is built for the entertainment of those who value luxury and don't mind spending up to a half of a million dollars for novel entertainment. With the price tag that is placed on this watch, it's as much a wealthy man's toy as it is a collector's piece. It definitely falls into the category of a modern innovation that combines the past with the present for a one of a kind conversation piece. Anyone who enjoys eighteenth century advanced mechanical toys and particulary aviary mechanicals could easily appreciate the Jaquet Droz Charming Bird wrist watch.
It could be that one of the most significant contributions to the Jaquet Droz Charming Bird is its tie in with the past. Yes, it's an amazing novelty and the mechanical bird is neatly placed in plain view through the crystal, but let's not forget its origin and the reason for its' developent. Marking the 275th anniversary of the Jaquet Droz watchmaking company was the reason why the initial prototype was created.
Gleaning techniques that were used in the times of Pierre Jacquet-Droz and using them to imitate life-like actions of an automatron bird within the watch is much like taking a prief glance back into history. It pays homage to Pierre and his fabulous inventions which were remarkable during the time of their invention. It honors the memory of the man, his accomplishments and what he has contributed to the company as well as to the world through his advances in technology.
When you consider all angles of this watch from the idea behind its inception, the history of the company and the reputation that it has built in circles that appreciate style and luxury, the watch is much more than a novelty. Some my purchase it for its charm and appeal, but most will know that it' value goes much deper than that. We see this easily becoming a valuable collectors' item that will incease with value over time.
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Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker