Born in 1721, Pierre Jaquet-Droz, the founder of the Workshop that was soon to bear his name, was above all a child of the Swiss Jura. In these valleys that are still today the cradle of Swiss watchmaking excellence, there is a sense of life in communion with the natural surroundings. The sound of birdsong accompanies the cycle of the seasons. And the songs of these creatures, a source of fascination during the Enlightenment for naturalist and fashionable aesthete alike, must have sounded sweetly to the young prodigy during his summers beside the waterfall of the Saut du Doubs.
Beautiful, free and fascinating, birds captivated the age, and from the beginning of his career, the young watchmaker was to make this trend his own. For while Pierre Jaquet-Droz made his mark as a virtuoso of horological engineering, he was also an audacious businessman as well as an aesthete, in tune with the tastes of his time. At a time when the Encyclopédie was being compiled, the sciences were winning their spurs and the foundations of the industrial revolution were taking shape, Pierre Jaquet-Droz was taking on a veritable challenge: imitating life. His automata – the Musician, the Writer, the Draughtsman, and others, now exhibited at the Neuchâtel museum of art and history – would go on to astonish the many crowned heads of the time.
But Nature is equally honored in this singular vision, where birds are particularly well represented. Like a scientist dissecting his subject of study to achieve perfect understanding of its secrets, Pierre Jaquet-Droz and his successors made a reputation with their series of long-case clocks. Very quickly abreast of the latest innovations in miniaturization, they soon began to create breathtaking singing watches. At first incorporated in real birdcages, these creations benefited from developments in miniature clock-making, and were soon transformed into pocket watches and table clocks of proportions as small as they were refined. True stars of their period, the "birds" at the famous farm of Sur le Pont at La Chaux-de-Fonds are treasures, not only of mechanics, but also of the decorative arts of the period. Enamels reproducing the finest nuances of plumage; gold, pearls, precious stones – nothing was too good for these exceptional timepieces, which won Jaquet-Droz the international renown that persists to this day.
|Movement||:||Jaquet Droz RMA88, |
minute repeater hand-winding mechanical movement,
|Indications||:||Off-centered hours and minutes|
|Power reserve||:||48 hours|
|Case||:||18-carat red gold|
|Diameter||:||Ø 47 mm|
|Serial number||:||Individual limited engraved on the case-back|
|Dial||:||Hand engraved and painted mother-of-pearl, black onyx center. |
Hand engraved and painted birds
|Hands||:||18-carat red gold|
|Strap||:||Rolled-edge hand made black alligator leather strap|
|Buckle||:||18-carat red gold folding clasp|