Issued in eight pieces to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the founder Pierre Jaquet-Droz, the Bird Repeater, an automaton with a minute repeater, embodies the essence of the House. Its dial in white mother-of-pearl and black onyx features appliqués in 18K red gold.
Multiple bird animations, eggs hatching and the river in the background breathe life into this creation. This weave of elaborate animations, completely engraved and painted by hand, resonates with a minute repeater, which is housed at the heart of its 18K red gold case in 47mm.
In 2012, Jaquet Droz revolutionized wristwatches by creating the Bird Repeater collection. These Haute Horlogerie innovations are the culmination of all the House’s Ateliers d’Art techniques in a single piece, combining traditional watchmaking aesthetic with their one-of-a-kind automaton expertise, in the same movement.
For this anniversary edition, Jaquet Droz returns to the theme of nature to animate its automatons. In the foreground are two robins, one male and one female, like those that can be seen and heard all around the Swiss Valleys. In the background, to the right, is a replica of the farmhouse where Pierre Jaquet-Droz was born exactly 300 years ago.
This historical nod is coupled with a verdant valley and river flowing through it on the left. Again, this is La Ronde, encircling the La Chaux-de-Fonds valley. There is also a Gentian flower in the foreground, whose especially fine wood grain is used by watchmakers for the ultimate polishing of their components. The plant is also used for its medicinal values and alcoholic beverages that have contributed to the region’s success.
Left, right and center, the natural characteristics of La Chaux-de-Fonds are present: red berries and holly leaves, a blue butterfly announcing the arrival of summer and other animals hidden in the scene. A dragonfly and a grasshopper are also featured.
Collection: Automata Collection
Model: Bird Repeater 300th Anniversary Edition
Edition: Numerus Clausus of 8
Jaquet Droz RMA88, minute repeater, hand-winding mechanical movement, single barrel
Mechanical automaton featuring birds, a hatching egg and a river
Jewelling: 69 jewels
Power reserve: 48 hours
Frequency: 18,000 v.p.h
Off-centered hours and minutes
18-karat red gold case and applied ring
Diameter 47 mm
Height 18.70 mm
Individual limited serial number engraved on the case-back
Not water resistant
Hand-engraved and hand-painted white mother-of-pearl and 18-karat red gold dial
Hand-engraved and hand-painted 18-karat red gold decorated appliques
Black onyx subdial
Hands: 18-karat red gold
Rolled-edge hand-made black alligator strap with black alligator lining
Luxury folding clasp in 18-karat red gold
Unveiled in 1993, this exceptional creation from Blancpain is the world’s first Wristwatch Repeater with Automata.
Automata, or moving figure watches have had a checkered past. The techniques for creating them evolved near the end of the 17th century. The subjects for the moving figures were frequently erotic scenes. Their allure was instantly recognized. Watchmakers responded with ingenious fantasies to tempt those with the means to acquire these most rare and expensive creations. This did not long go unnoticed by the Church.
Religious authorities in the Swiss cantons of Geneva and Neuchâtel formed an alliance to strike out against this free libertine exotic expression. Not only was further production of the watches banned, but those in existence were made subject to seizure.
The fate of confiscated watches was both predictable and grim: destruction. What were already rare pieces for reasons of cost became even rarer. In some cases, the ingenuity of the watchmakers came to the rescue. Rather than placing the automata in plain view on the dial or case-back, watchmakers created a separate hinged case-back that would hide the automata from all but the most detailed inspections. With the hinge closed, the watch would appear as an ordinary, unadorned timepiece.
Notwithstanding the clever means for avoiding detection and seizure, the creation of erotic timepieces was effectively suppressed. Most critically, this complication did not pass from pocket watches to wristwatches, as the industry transformed itself at the beginning of the 20th century.
Blancpain brought back this most celebrated – albeit clandestine– complication with the introduction of its Calibre 332 in 1993. This set a milestone for wristwatches: the world’s first minute repeater with automata. Both erotic and non-erotic figures are combined with Blancpain’s famed minute repeater movements.
Combining moving figures with the delicate repeater mechanism is a watchmaking tour de force. It is always difficult to integrate a repeater with automata because the moving figures require so much power from the movement. Compounding the test of watchmaking ingenuity is the fact that the movement of the figures must take place in a way that does not disturb the functioning of the delicate repeater mechanism. When all of this is done in the scale of a wristwatch, as opposed to a clock or large pocket watch, it is doubly difficult.
In Blancpain’s case, the figures were mated with the world’s smallest repeater mechanism, which made the challenge even greater for its craftsmen. As befits the world’s first automata repeater wristwatch, Blancpain decided to make each watch unique, with hand-created and carved figures adorning the back.
Certifying the individuality of its own scene, never to be duplicated, each Calibre 332 watch is engraved with the inscription “pièce unique”, meaning “unique watch – one in a series of one”.
Beyond the individuality of each of the scenes, each represents an artistic achievement. The figures are all painstakingly hand-engraved. The background scenes are created following the techniques developed by Huguenot artisans 300 years ago, but nearly forgotten for the past 150 years. Multiple enamel layers are hand-painted and fired in a process called “grand feu” enamelling.
Unveiled at Baselworld 2018, the Precious Signature by Harry Winston is an automaton and desk clock that redefines the very essence of a luxury accessory.
Equipped with a sophisticated automaton movement provided by Swiss watchmaker and historical automata expert, Jaquet Droz, the Precious Signature can reproduce Harry Winston’s signature in ink on paper. It can also be configured to generate the signature of its owner.
Crafted in 18-karat white gold and Harry Winston’s proprietary Zalium ™, the outer case of the Precious Signature is enveloped in panels of precious blue opal, 542 baguette-cut diamonds, and two blue sapphire cabochons.
Measuring just under 19 cm in length, the case shape recalls the stately arched entrance to Harry Winston’s Fifth Avenue Flagship Salon. Reimagined on both ends of the case, the two rounded arches bear the stylized markings of the original entrance, in diamonds. The baguette-cut diamonds crowning the arched doorways are arranged in ascending order, in horizontal and vertical rows. Just below the diamond arches are two cabochon sapphires designed to recreate the golden rosettes decorating the wrought iron door that guards the entrance to Harry Winston’s New York Salon.
A desk clock, positioned on the left side of the case and framed by a row of 40 baguette-cut diamonds, complements the intense blue opal and diamond color scheme of the Precious Signature by Harry Winston. Set against a silver sunray dial, blue opal accents and rare diamonds highlight the applied gold hour markers at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. The hallmark Harry Winston emerald-shaped gold applique crowns the dial at 12 o’clock. To the right of the quartz-powered clock is another diamond framed arch offering a glimpse of the mechanical automaton movement nestled under the protective cover.
By gently lifting the opal and diamond set white gold cover, the automaton movement is revealed. The owner can activate this automaton in a few simple steps.
The first step is to enter a personal code on the four cylinders. When the code is entered correctly, the emerald-cut diamond gently slides to the left, allowing the owner to activate a pusher on the side of the case. The pusher, in turn, deploys a trap door located on the bottom of the gold case and a mechanical arm extends, inviting the owner to insert the provided pen. Just before operating, check the power reserve indicator – housed in the octagonal-shaped plaque set with 38 diamonds, located above the cylinders – and use the diamond-studded activation key to set the wheels in motion as the automaton performs the signature on paper.
The Precious Signature by Harry Winston boasts lavish attention to detail and luxury finishes on every last component. The cam wheel of the automaton movement is crafted in white gold and set with six rows of 520 brilliant-cut diamonds, with a rosette flower motif at the center. Made from Zalium™, the Precious Signature pen is decorated with an opal insert and the white gold activation key is covered in 344 brilliant-cut diamonds and a blue sapphire cabochon on the top. Even the sides of the case of the Precious Signature are set with baguette-cut diamonds.
The Precious Signature by Harry Winston is presented in a special box with a tray of paper and designated areas to store the pen and the activation key.
Model: Precious Signature by Harry Winston
Diameter: 11.3 mm
Thickness: 2.50 mm
Hours and minutes
Sunray satin-brushed finish, opal, gold Emerald applique, gold indexes at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock, 3 brilliant-cut diamonds at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock
Jaquet Droz automaton reproduces owner’s signature
18K white gold cam wheel set with 520 brilliant-cut diamonds
Exterior –Precious Signature by Harry Winston
Gold, Zalium™, Opal
582 baguette-cut diamonds
38 brilliant-cut diamonds
2 blue sapphire cabochons
1 emerald-cut diamond
Dimensions: 187.6 mm x 75.7 mm
Thickness: 26.0 mm
Activation Key 18K white gold base
344 brilliant-cut diamonds
1 blue sapphire cabochon
Kelys& Chirp is a result of collaboration of Swiss horological lab MB&F with two masters: Reuge, manufacture of premium mechanical music boxes and automaton specialist Nicolas Court.
Kelys& Chirp is a mechanical turtle automata equipped with a singing bird mechanism. Kelys(from the Greek chelone or chelys for tortoise) moves in a realistic tortoise-like gait with his head moving slowly side-to-side, his movements all in synchronicity with Chirp as springing from her nest and pirouetting, her beak opening and closing, wings flapping, and tail wagging, all in time to the melodic bird song.
Turtles have long represented wisdom in many cultures because of their long life spans (up to 190 years). While Kelys is certainly wise enough (an integrated mechanical sensor ensures that he doesn’t walk off table or desk tops), it’s his playful streak that complements Chirp’s musical exuberance.
Turtles move with a very particular push/pull gait; thanks to unconventional gearing and cams, Kelys moves in a very similar fashion. You can also enjoy a concert by Chirp without Kelys moving by pushing his tail up; with his tail down he walks while Chirp sings.
Chirp’s birdsong sounds amazing, both due to the accuracy of the song and for the fact that such a relatively loud sound emits from such a small object. This is thanks to a 230-year-old invention, generally credited to Pierre Jaquet-Droz (1721–1790), who came up with the idea of the modern Singing Bird complication. By 1785, Droz had both miniaturized the mechanically-controlled bird and developed a compact movement: his secret was in recreating a realistic birdsong using just one bellow of variable pitch rather than multiple single-pitch bellows. The quality of the bird’s song and how well it carries always astonishes the first time it is heard.
Kelys& Chirp may look relatively simple compared to a complicated watch, but its 480 components indicate the complexity within. This is where Nicolas Court and his team worked their magic: working around the Singing Bird, which is a complete movement itself, they faced significant challenges when developing the turtle automaton mechanism. These included moving the relatively heavy (1.4 kg) turtle with the little power available from the small mainspring of the Singing Bird movement, while ensuring that the turtle moved realistically. The first was solved by finding the optimal low ratio gearing, the latter by the use of elliptical gearing in the power train, along with cams dictating the movement of the legs.
Court and his team added a friction clutch security system, which detects surface edges and immediately stops the turtle moving forward over the abyss… They also reintroduced a Reuge security system for the bird movement: if Chirp or her cover accidently pushed down while she is singing, she stops and instantly retreats to her nest.
The scales on Kelys’ shell are individually hand made from high quality leather in 4 different colours, creating a warmer and more natural feel than bare metal.
Kelys& Chirp is available in 4 limited editions of 18pieces each in blue, green, yellow or ochre.
Technical details Animation
The tortoise walks, the bird opens from back, moves and sings.
For 10-12 seconds, the bird flaps its wings, moves its tail, opens its beak in time to the bird song, then as if magically disappears.
The tortoise moves its legs in a realistically intermittent gait, its head moves.
Average tortoise speed: 0.03 m/s (0.06 mph).
Generally rhodium plated brass, stainless steel and 18K white gold for the bird.
Tortoise scales: handmade leathering with coloured calfskin.
Number of components: 480
100% hand assembled
Chirp the singing bird
Materials: 18K polished white gold, eyes in sapphire
Number of components (bird alone): 30
Number of components (bellows): 90
Mainspring: twin-cam spring barrel
Power reserve: 3 cycles of turtle walking and bird singing
Bellows: double bellows system (bi-directional air pushing)
Security mechanism: if the bird or cover are pushed down while the bird is singing, the bird automatically retreats
Kelys the automaton tortoise
Material: grained, satin and polish finishing, rhodium-plated brass, eyes in black onyx gems
Shell: 12 leather scales with individual polished edges
Mechanism for turtle automaton is driven by the Singing Bird movement
Number of components: 100, all rhodium or satin finished
Gear train: elliptical gearing with max/min 1.3/0.8 ratio enables the turtle to advance with a realistically non-regular gait.
Table/desk edge detector: turtle automatically stops when reaching the edge of the surface.
Tail switch: world first tail indication; with the turtle’s tail up it rests in place while the bird sings; with the turtle’s tail down it walks and the bird sings.
Security friction clutch
Circular stainless steel winding key located on tortoise’s belly.
Dimensions and weight:
Weight: approx.1.4 kg
Dimensions: 24 cm (length) x 16 cm (width) x 8 cm (height without bird open)
In 2015, MB&F, the Swiss horological concept laboratory renowned for Horological Machines and Legacy Machines, celebrates its 10th anniversary and its founder, Maximilian Büsser, who loves sci-fi machines and movies of 1970s, marks this important milestone in his career by introducing MusicMachine3 (MM3), inspired from the popular Star Wars movie series.
While MusicMachine3 may look as though it is more at home darting around in the silent vacuum of space, it is in the sound-propagating, air-rich atmosphere of Earth in which MM3 really displays its mettle. Those lattice-like vertical wings support and protect the dual music cylinders, each playing three melodies: the theme tunes from Star Wars, Mission Impossible, and James Bondon the right and The Godfather, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, and The Persuaders on the left. Those side wings also play a vital role in propagating sound vibrations down from the combs to the naturally amplifying resonant base, manufactured by JMC Lutherie.
MM3 may appear to come from a galaxy far, far away in the future; however, its origins are much older and much closer to home. MusicMachine3 features all of the traditional elements of a beautifully arranged, high-end mechanical music box. This should come as no surprise as it was developed and crafted according to MB&F’s design by Reuge, the Swiss music box manufacturer with 150 years of expertise and experience.
The music in MusicMachine3 is powered by two independent movements mounted on the two tail sections. Each movement has its own winding key (disguised as thrusters), a mainspring barrel, horizontal cylinder with pins, and comb with hand-tuned teeth sounding each note. The cylinders play three melodies each. An air regulator in the form of a circular fan (resembling a rotating radar dish) governs the unwinding speed/music tempo of each cylinder.
To ensure the lateral symmetry of MM3, Reuge broke with music box convention to configure the two movements as mirror images of one another. This required a complete inversion of the design of the movement components and the movement architecture so that one cylinder rotates clockwise and the other anticlockwise.
MM3 is carefully designed to transmit the musical vibrations from the combs down through the two vertical side wings to its resonance base. This natural timber amplifier was developed by Jeanmichel Capt of JMC Lutherie, based in the Vallée de Joux.
MusicMachine3 is a limited edition of 99 pieces: 33 pieces with white finish; 33 pieces with black finish; and 33 pieces with ‘chrome’ finish.
Dimensions and weight
Dimensions (with soundboard base): 400 mm long x 340 mm wide x 280 mm high
Total weight: Approximately 6 kg
Main Hull – Resonance base
Main body: aluminium with lacquer finish
Matte sections: protective varnishing
Gloss sections: White UV-resistant lacquer; black lacquer or ‘chrome’ anodised finish depending on version
Resonant amplifying base by JMC Lutherie:350-year-old resonance spruce with 21st century composite materials like NomexTM honeycomb Kevlar.
Tail Section – Movement and Finishing
MusicMachine3 features two 3.72 movements (3 refers to number of melodies on each cylinder; 72 refers to number of notes on each comb); one movement is ‘right’ configured; one movement is ‘left’ configured (they rotate in opposite directions)
Main plate: polished brass decorated with Geneva waves. The main plate holds both movements; each movement includes a mainspring, cylinder, comb, and regulator
Mainsprings: wound via conical, grooved winding keys in the form of thrusters, in nickel-plated brass
Barrels: satin stainless steel
Regulator fans: nickel-plated brass
Cylinders: nickel-plated brass
Start/stop and repeat/continue functions
1 melody = 1 revolution of the cylinder
3 melodies per cylinder
Length of each melody: 35 seconds
Power reserve per cylinder: 15 minutes
Pins hand-applied and hand-polished
Length of pins: 1 mm; diameter of pins: 0.3 mm
Pins per right cylinder: 1,279; pins per left cylinder: 1,399
Combs: steel alloy and lead; 72 teeth per comb; each comb attached to nickel-plated brass vibration plate
Winding keys: nickel-plated brass
Right cylinder – extracts from: ‘Star Wars’ (1977) by John Williams; ‘Mission Impossible’ (1960) by T Lalo Schifrin; ‘James Bond’ (1962) by Monty Norman
Left cylinder – extracts from: ‘The Godfather’ (1972) theme by Nino Rota; ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence’ (1983) by Ryuichi Sakamoto; ‘The Persuaders’ (1971) main title by John Barry
Invented in the 17th century, the art of erotic watchmaking represents a lesser-known tradition that gives haute horology an added layer of depth and a discreet, mischievous personality. The 19th century proscription against the taboo discipline only heightened the interest of horological enthusiasts around the globe. The Caligula Tourbillon Baguette revives the whimsical tradition all the while showcasing the fascinating practice of the automaton.
While allusions to the hidden sensual surprise are present at first glance in the form of a suggestive fishnet-stocking motif on the dial and case, the exquisite secret is exposed only upon the desire of the wearer. A turning of the crown at 4 o’clock rotates the dial to reveal the voluptuous erotic scene meticulously hand-painted by miniature artist André Martinez. The crown at 3 o’clock is then used to activate the spectacle and unveil the Caligula Tourbillon Baguette’s hidden gem. When the secret is concealed, the timepiece expresses sensuality in Jacob & Co’s signature voice: the passionate radiance of diamonds.
The 46mm 18K white gold case boasts a textural diamond setting of precious triangular baguette diamonds, while the crowns echo the shimmering effect. Beneath the fishnet design, yet above the hidden scene, a generous additional arrangement of baguette triangle diamonds produces a multidimensional play of light. At 12 o’clock, rising from the heart of the movement to overlook the enthralling exhibition, the timepiece’s tourbillon, hand-engraved and finished with Côtes de Genève, counters the adverse effects of gravity with grace and sophistication. The entire spectacle, including the indication of the hours and minutes via a traditional two-hand design, is driven by the manually wound JCAM08 caliber, equally finished with Côtes de Genève in a demonstration of Jacob & Co.’s immense respect for and command of fine Swiss craftsmanship.
This bold revitalization of a once-prohibited art exemplifies the brand’s unceasing desire to challenge convention and create timepieces both unique and spectacular. The Caligula Tourbillon Baguette ingeniously combines contemporary aesthetic accents with idiosyncratic charm. In doing so, the timepiece honors the past in the most honest of ways: by not merely paying tribute, but rather by integrating the whimsical showmanship of a treasured epoch within a pertinent evolution of modern notions.
Technical details Movement
Exclusive manual-winding Jacob & Co. JCAM08; Tourbillon
48-hour power reserve
Frequency: 28,800 vib/h (4Hz)
Anti-shock, Glucydur balance, 25 jewels
Number of components: 236
Finishing: circular grained, Côtes de Genève, sand-blasted, hand-engraving tourbillon upper bridge set with two diamond baguettes. Back movement finishing: 18K white gold screwed decoration bridges set with 20 triangle & losange baguettes 1.30ct.
Hours, minutes, manually–wound automaton scene
46mm diameter, 16.45mm thickness; polished 18K white gold, baguette triangle diamond set
Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment
18K white gold pierced rounded fishnet design set with baguette triangle diamonds as follows: bezel set with 60 diamonds 7.51ct., case set with 150 diamonds 13.36ct., two crowns set with 32 diamonds each 2.92ct
Case back: sapphire crystal
18K white gold dial set with 91 triangle baguette diamonds 4.90ct
Côtes de Genève, hand-engraved graining
Covered aperture that opens to reveal the concealed erotic scene, hand-painted by miniature artist André Martinez; the scene is revealed by turning the crown at 4 o’clock and is activated by the crown at 3 o’clock
Jacob & Co. logo at 12 o’clock, concealed erotic scene at 6 o’clock
Skeleton leaf blue hands
Hands: Leaf; Gunned Blue
Strap & Clasp
Alligator; 18K white gold deployment buckle set with 26 diamonds 1.36 ct.
Total Carat Weight
381 Baguette Diamonds 31.88 ct.
Almost three centuries have passed since Pierre Jaquet-Droz held the royal courts of Europe spellbound with his trio of renowned and strikingly realistic automata – The Writer, The Draughtsman and The Musician. The most astonishing of these was The Writer, because, even then, it could be programmed to produce a given sentence in a flowing script.
This truly legendary automaton is considered the precursor of the computer and has been the subject of numerous scientific studies, as well as a source of inspiration for Martin Scorsese in the making of the movie “Hugo.” The desire to keep such unique expertise alive has never left the Jaquet Droz artisans.
The incredible Time Writing Machine, shown to the public in 2009, is proof of this, as are more recently, in miniature, the naturalistic animations featured on the dials of two exceptional watches – The Bird Repeater and The Charming Bird.
This year, Jaquet Droz has gone a step further with “The Signing Machine,” an amazing automaton that is profound for its time. A true marvel,it uses historic cam technology but in miniature size, while its dimensions are inspired by the most emblematic object of the new millennium – the smartphone.
The Signing Machine has a 4-digit security code and can be manually wound with a mechanism activated by a lever positioned on the side of the gray and black case. This entirely mechanical, technological gem, with its contemporary, uncluttered design, is manufactured as a bespoke piece for its owner. Simply pressing twice with your finger releases a hinged arm and pen.
By means of highly complex movements, driven by a set of cams that are handmade in order to produce a fluid, natural script, The Signing Machine duplicates its owner’s signature. This operation can be admired through the transparent window that reveals the internal workings. In an age dominated by digital technology, it is a testament to the unique and magical beauty of the exceptional mechanisms bearing the Jaquet Droz hallmark.
Both contemporary and poetic, The Charming Bird takes the theme of the songbird to form this ultimate tribute to the creativity and historic expertise of the master craftsmen at 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.
Model: THE CHARMING BIRD
Collection: LES ATELIERS D’ART
Numerus Clausus of 28
Jaquet Droz 610, hand-winding mechanical movement, single barrel
Jewelling: 21 jewels
Automaton Movement: Singing bird automaton movement, hand-winding mechanical movement and push button automaton triggering mechanism. Sapphire crystal whistle system
Jewelling: 8 jewels
Indications: Off-centered hours and minutes
Power reserve: 40 hours
Frequency: 21,600 v.p.h
18-carat white gold, diameter Ø 47 mm
Height 1: 15.65 mm
Height 2: 22.80 mm
The award winning Swiss luxury watch brand MB&F, in association with premium mechanical music box brand REUGE, has developed MusicMachine: a high-end mechanical music box, but designed and configured in a totally unconventional way. Based in Switzerland, REUGE is a premier manufacturer of exclusive mechanical music boxes on the planet, with nearly 150 years of expertise and experience. And MB&F, the award-winning artistic and micro-engineering laboratory acclaimed for its avant-garde, three-dimensional Horological Machines.
With its dual propellers and twin silver cylinders mounted on sleek outrigger landing gear, MusicMachine looks like a futuristic spaceship. Each of the cylinders on MusicMachine plays three tunes, all personally selected by MB&F founder and creative director, Maximilian Büsser. On the left, “may the Force be with you” with the ‘Star Wars’ theme, ‘Imperial March’ from ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, and the theme from ‘Star Trek’. Back on earth, the right cylinder plays Pink Floyd’s‘Another Brick in the Wall’, Deep Purple’s‘Smoke on the Water’ and ’John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ – all tunes synonymous with MB&F’s radical, nonconformist attitude.
One of the biggest challenges for REUGE was respecting the mechanical symmetry of MB&F’s design, and it meant breaking with a few music box conventions to achieve it. MusicMachine actually has two independent movements, each comprising: winding propeller; mainspring barrel (looking like a piston under the propeller); horizontal cylinder with pins creating three melodies; and vertical comb with individual hand-tuned teeth sounding each note. When music is playing, the speed that the cylinder unwinds at is governed by an air regulator in the form of a circular fan outside each propeller-topped, piston-shaped mainspring barrel.
While it would have been much easier to duplicate the two movements and just change the melodies, MB&F’s original concept called for perfect symmetry and if the movements were identical, the comb on one cylinder would not be on the outside. So REUGE took the unprecedented step of configuring the two movements as mirror images of one another, which meant completely inverting the design of the movement components and architecture.
MusicMachine is a limited edition of 66 pieces: 33 pieces in white and 33 pieces in black.
Mechanical Music boxes produce melodies by way of tuned teeth on a steel comb being plucked by pins on a revolving cylinder. Music box movements share many similarities with their horological counterparts, both technically and aesthetically: Energy derived from a coiled spring is transferred by a gear train and the unwinding speed is carefully regulated. High-end music box components are even finely finished similar to high-end watch movements.
No wonder, then, that since music boxes first appeared in the early 19th century, Switzerland, the home of fine watchmaking, became the hub of high-quality music box production. In 1865, Charles Reuge was a pioneer of the genre when he set up his first musical pocket-watch shop in Sainte-Croix, Switzerland. Nearly 150 years on, and REUGE is the premier manufacturer of high-end music boxes on the planet and is still based in Sainte-Croix.
While REUGE’s collection has since grown to offer both quintessentially classical pieces and contemporary designs – including a service for specially-commissioned bespoke pieces – with MusicMachine, REUGE has pushed the frontiers of music box design.
REUGE created MusicMachine based on a futuristic spaceship design proposed by MB&F whose founder, Maximilian Büsser, is a keen fan of all the great sci-fi film and TV series. In collaboration with ECAL design graduate Xin Wang, MB&F developed a concept that cleverly incorporated all the essential music box features – musically-tuned combs, pinned cylinders, winding mechanisms, mainspring barrels, regulators and acoustically-optimised case – while still managing to make it look like a streamlined, hypersonic spaceship.
MusicMachine doesn’t just look like something from a science fiction film; three of the melodies have been beamed directly from sci-fi classics.
On the left cylinder, MusicMachine is armed with the theme from ‘Star Trek’ by Jerry Goldsmith, the theme from ‘Star Wars’ by John Williams and ‘Imperial March’ from ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, also by cinematic music maestro John Williams. While the first two are stirring anthems evoking heroism and adventure, the latter will have you battening down the hatches and raising the shields as it signals the imminent arrival of the villainous Darth Vader.
But MB&F is much more than sci-fi, their creations are edgy and iconoclastic – certainly relative to the rest of the high-end watch world – and this rock ‘n’ roll attitude is neatly conjured in the three melodies contained on the right cylinder: John Lennon’s classic anti-war anthem ‘Imagine’,Deep Purple’s riff-tastic ‘Smoke on the Water’ and Pink Floyd’s memorable social commentary tune ‘Another Brick in the Wall’.
Once MB&F had confirmed the melodies, it was over to REUGE to create them mechanically, a challenge that REUGE took in its stride. Firstly, a REUGE musician examined the pieces of music and identified the most recognisable passages from each. The musician then set about recreating these passages for the music box, keeping in mind that one cylinder would contain the three rock melodies, and the other cylinder would have the three sci-fi inspired melodies, and that each cylinder’s pins would pluck one 72-note comb.
Working out these two groups of three arrangements, each one limited to between 25 and 45 seconds, and the multitude of notes that these entail (some notes are used by all three melodies; some notes are exclusive to just one melody) represents a considerable technical and artistic achievement in which the musician’s brain, sense of expression and emotional dexterity top any computer.
The two vertical combs look like air- vent grills on either side of the vessel’s main body. Each comb contains the bespoke selection of 72 notes chosen by the REUGE musician in accordance with the three melodies that cylinder will play. Each comb forms a unique pair with its corresponding cylinder; neither can play properly without the other.
The combs are hand-tuned from a unique steel alloy specifically selected for its acoustic impact. For bass notes, the weight of the tooth is extended at the back by the traditional method of adding lead. A machine then tests the frequency of each tooth and minute amounts of material are removed to accurately tune each note. The hand-operated tools that REUGE uses in this process have all been developed in-house.
Tiny transparent, synthetic feathers are added behind the bass note teeth, acting as dampers so that the note resonates optimally. The comb is finally attached to a brass ‘vibration plate’ passing through the main hull, with six heat-blued screws. The vibration plate transfers the sound to the case, which in turn amplifies the sound even more. Once the comb is fitted, the musician’s ear is required again for the final fine-tune.
The beautifully hand-finished cylinders gleam like a pair of imposing reactors atop MusicMachine’s main hull. The cylinders essentially contain ‘the scores’ of the melodies, with as many as 1,400 precision-placed pins that pluck the teeth of the comb as the cylinder revolves. The REUGE musician determines precisely where to place every single pin. The pins are shaved then polished to ensure uniformity of length. Finally a special hot resin is applied inside the cylinder, which, when hardened, rigidly fixes the pins to maximise sound quality.
Once one melody is played, the cylinder moves slightly along its long axis, and this change of position aligns the right pins with the right teeth to play the next melody. Each melody lasts approximately 35 seconds and corresponds to one complete revolution of the cylinder. The cylinders are linked via visible gear trains to MusicMachine’s rear engine-room.
Either side of the propeller-like winding levers, are distinctive vertical circular panels. While these look as though they may be radar dishes to navigate an asteroid field or force field generating devices to repel enemy proton torpedoes, they are actually the cylinder speed regulators. When fully wound, the main springs tend to turn the cylinders faster than when nearly unwound. To compensate, these circular fan air regulators provide exponentially more resistance when rotating faster than slower, allowing for a constant revolution (a similar system is found in many minute repeater watches).
Fuselage, struts, landing pods and landing platform
Crafted in white or black lacquered walnut, MusicMachine’s sleek fuselage amplifies sound transmitted from the brass vibration plate centrally housed within the case. This plate also conducts the vibrations along the curved, lateral struts and outrigger-style landing pods – in bead-blasted, anodised aluminium (black matte-anodised for the black version) – which in turn carry the vibrations down to MusicMachine’s landing platform. This lacquered timber platform not only further amplifies the enchanting melodies, but also showcases the spacecraft’s aesthetic beauty.
MusicMachine is a limited edition of 66 pieces: 33 pieces in white and 33 pieces in black.
Case and frame
Main body: Walnut sound amplification chamber; white or black piano lacquered (white lacquer UV resistant)
Outriggers: Bead-blasted and anodised aluminium; black matte-anodised for black version
Dimensions: 395mm wide x 475mm long x 165mm high; total weight: 2.97kg
Acoustically-enhancing platform: white or black lacquered
Movement and finishing
MusicMachine features two 3.72 movements (3 refers to number of melodies on each cylinder; 72 refers to number of notes on each comb); one movement is ‘right’ configured; one movement is ‘left’ configured (they rotate in opposite directions)
Mainplate: nickel-plated brass, decorated with Côtes de Genève. The mainplate holds both movements; each movement includes a mainspring, cylinder, comb and regulator
Mainsprings: Wound via propellers
Barrels: Stainless steel; each with 6 heat-blued screws on top; grooved ‘piston’ sides Regulator: fan in stainless steel
Start/stop and continue functions
Cylinder supports: Nickel-plated brass
One melody = one revolution of the cylinder
Three melodies per cylinder
Length of each melody: 35 seconds
Power reserve per cylinder: 15 minutes
Pins hand-applied and hand-polished
Length of pins: 1mm; diameter of pins: 0.3mm
Pins per right cylinder: 1,279; pins per left cylinder: 1,399
Combs: steel alloy and lead; 72 teeth per comb; each comb attached to brass vibration plate by six heat-blued steel screws
Right cylinder – extracts from: ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ (1979) by Roger Waters and originally performed by Pink Floyd ‘Smoke on the Water’ (1973) written and originally performed by Deep Purple ‘Imagine’ (1971) written and originally performed by John Lennon
Left cylinder – extracts from: ‘Star Wars’ (1977) main title by John Williams ‘Imperial March’ (1980) by John Williams ‘Star Trek’ (1979) main title by Jerry Goldsmith
Christophe Claret Manufacture has been active in high-end watchmaking sector for more than two decades, mostly serving some of the world’s prestigious watch brands.
Founded in 2001 by Christophe Claret, the Manufacture introduced first watch bearing the Christophe Claret brand name, the DualTow in 2009.
Following the success of the DualTow and Adagio, Christophe Claret plays another card with its third creation, the 21 Blackjack. A real miniature casino, it matches grand complications with the world of gaming, in the process creating a new watchmaking paradigm: the interactive watch.
The DualTow already offered a fabulous 3D effect; with the 21 Blackjack, Christophe Claret has propelled informed enthusiasts into the fourth dimension. In addition to transparency, relief, and the passage of time, here he adds the sensory effects of blackjack, roulette and dice. An unprecedented upmarket toy for aficionados, expressing a kind of watchmaking that has cast off its inhibitions.
For over 20 years, the Christophe Claret company has been designing, developing and producing fine watch movements for the most prestigious brands. Of course, the founder will continue this activity, but now at the head of a company renamed La Manufacture Claret for enhanced clarity. The Christophe Claret brand itself is gathering an experienced and dynamic team dedicated entirely to its strategy’s success: to go where no one has ever ventured before, into the territory of playful and complex Fine Watchmaking.
Connoisseurs of fine mechanics are thoroughly impressed, and certainly not by vain promises. If they are speechless, it is in the face of Christophe Claret’s acknowledged inventiveness in offering them no less than three casino games. To start there is Dice.
This game features a pair of miniature dice, 1.5 mm on each side – and incidentally, perfectly legible – which are located in a cage at the 4 o’clock position on the side of the case and, visible through a sapphire crystal, offering the oldest game of chance. When shaken in their tiny capsule, the dice can be used by one or more players, for a game of craps, for example.
On the back of the watch the winding rotor, which is visible through a glare-proofed sapphire crystal, serves as the roulette wheel. Once set in motion by one or two undulatory movements, the wheel turns for a few moments before stopping.
“Place your bets! The bets are down! No more bets!” Here there is no ball, however, but an arrow inlaid into the winding rotor that stops at one of the 37 numbers (from 0 to 36) applied to an internal flange. “Eight, black, even and low!” Your lucky number? If it were, a special key would have been used to place it opposite a green emerald set into the back – a rather extraordinary custom feature for those who believe in their lucky number.
But these games are only a playful warm-up for the king of all card games, Blackjack. Blackjack appeared in France in the 18th century under the name of “21,” and consists of drawing cards to equal or to come as close as possible to 21 points. If the player goes over 21, he “busts” (loses). Across the table, the dealer follows the same rules. The winner takes the stakes. Introduced later in the United States, “21” did not initially see much success there. To make the game more attractive, bonuses were invented. For example, the black jack paid 10 to 1! Today, the bonus has disappeared, but the name remains.
The dealer deals one card face up to the player; then draws a card, face up; then deals a second card face up to the player. The player then decides to either ask for a third card (“hit”) or stop (“stand”). He can ask for as many cards as he likes before stopping, but of course he risks going over 21. Once the player’s cards have been dealt, the dealer plays, using one simple codified rule: “Dealer must draw on 16 and stand on 17.” Of course, the dealer also runs the risk of going over 21.
Until now, no one has ever had the idea and the ability to adapt this complex Blackjack card game to an automaton watch. On the lower part of the dial, between 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, the player’s four cards appear in windows. Two are visible, the other two hidden by shutters. On the upper part of the dial are three additional windows for the dealer’s cards, one of which is visible, the other two also hidden by shutters.
A push-piece at 9 o’clock arms a spring that triggers, all at once, the seven discs on which the cards are printed. Made of solid gold to impart the ideal weight and inertia, these discs each rest on a double set of ceramic ball bearings.
After a few seconds, they are randomly stopped by a jumper spring. The extremely delicate symbols and numbers on each card are made with successive transfers, requiring that they be fired in a dedicated oven once for each colour.
At this stage of the game, three cards are face up: two of the player’s cards and one of the dealer’s. The next step is delightful. If the player is going to hit, he presses the push-piece at 8 o’clock, engraved with the word “player.”
One of the shutters then opens, revealing his card, and at the same time, in a supremely refined touch, a bell rings to indicate “hit.” Each time a shutter opens, whether for the player or the dealer, the note will sound. The striking mechanism’s hammer and bell are visible through a side window at 2 o’clock.
When the player’s turn is over, the dealer can take a turn, always following the strict rule “Dealer must draw on 16 and stand on 17” – a rule which is even written out on a small plaque affixed to the dial in one version of the 21 Blackjack. The dealer operates the push-piece marked “dealer” at 10 o’clock to open one of the two shutters.
Now all that remains is to count up the points and determine the winner. The dealer has some 216 different card combinations; the player no less than 4096; for a total of 884,736 ways to win or lose.
Such a complex automaton watch was bound to house an exceptional movement. This Manufacture Calibre BLJ08 is a self-winding COSC chronometer-certified movement comprising 501 parts and two barrels ensuring a power reserve of about 72 hours. In addition to the casino games and chime, it displays hours and minutes. To ensure extreme accuracy, it operates at a frequency of 4 hertz, or 28,800 vibrations per hour.
Model: Christophe Claret 21 Blackjack
Mechanical self-winding movement, Calibre BLJ08, twin barrel, 501 components, 40 jewels and 7 double sets of ceramic ball bearings, frequency 28,800 v/h (4 Hz), power reserve of about 72 hours
Hour, minute, three games: blackjack with bell, roulette and dice
White gold and grade 5 black PVD titanium; pink gold and grade 5 black PVD titanium; platinum and grade 5 black PVD titanium; grade 5 black PVD titanium, or grade 5 grey titanium. Diameter: 45 mm
Two side windows, one revealing the striking mechanism hammer and bell, the other a pair of dice
Titanium or titanium/gold crowns
Watertight to 3 atm
Titanium and grey sapphire with a plaque decorated with casino-related motifs (card games, Las Vegas or Joker), or black onyx
Black PVD/ruby or gold/ceramic hands Front:
• Three “dealer” windows, two of which are activated by a button push-piece at 10 o’clock with bell
• Four “player” windows, three of which are activated by a button push-piece at 8 o’clock with bell Back:
• 3D roulette wheel that rotates as the watch rotor moves
Black alligator with a two-screw attachment system that avoids damaging the case
Limited Edition: Each version will be limited to a maximum of 21 pieces
Suggested retail price in Swiss Francs
CHF. 178,000 to CHF. 210,000 (Swiss francs) depending on version and case material
Daniel Roth “Il Giocatore Veneziano” is an entirely handmade and hand painted automaton, depicting a richly robed 16th century Venetian dice player. Half standing, half sitting on a stool, he leans across a carpet-covered table as he juggles the dice in two handheld leather goblets. Set in the plinth of the table is a unique clock, which sounds the hours and triggers a command to set the automaton in motion.
The dice player turns his body, hands, and head, and blinks his eyes as he periodically lifts his arms to reveal, beneath the goblets, the black and white dice as they turn and fall independently – achieving an infinite number of possible results.
Of all the exceptional pieces created by Daniel Roth, the totally handmade, one-of a-kind “Il Giocatore Veneziano” automaton is among the most audacious. While automata of the 1880s to 1920s were typically powered by a spring motor and many incorporated a cylinder music box or small mechanical organ, in visualizing “Il Giocatore Veneziano” Gerald Roden, CEO of Daniel Roth, had a more challenging concept in mind.
His concept was to create a totally original automaton in conjunction with the world famous automaton specialist, François Junod. Inspired by the Italian painter Caravaggio’s work of genius “The Card Players”, what Gerald Roden visualized was an automaton in the form of a 16th century Venetian dice player juggling his dice and lifting his arms to enable the viewer to see the ever changing dice beneath. Sounds simple – well not quite, there was a catch – he wanted the dice to be able to fall independently in an infinite number of variations. Leaving the viewer’s chance of guessing the correct fall of the dice to genuine luck – a real gamble – much as the game would have been played in the affluent bars of 16th century Venice and in today’s gaming rooms of Las Vegas.
The result – an exquisite handmade automaton made up of more than 1,500 parts, depicting a richly clothed 16th century Venetian dice. Half standing, half sitting on a stool, he leans across a carpet-covered table deep in thought as he juggles the dice in his two handheld leather goblets. His hand painted face has a look of deep concentration as he turns his body, hands, head, blinks his eyes and lifts his arms at intervals to reveal the lucky black and white dice beneath the goblets as they fall non-sequentially – achieving an infinite number of possible results.
The secret to the limitless possibilities of the fall of the automaton dice is that below “Il Giocatore Veneziano’s” carpet covered table is a turning plate on which randomly spinning dice disks are attached, ensuring that each time the dice player reveals his dice the combination is never repeated. Set in the plinth of the automaton is a unique Daniel Roth clock with dial indicating the hours and minutes that has been specially developed for “Il Giocatore Veneziano”.
Its manually wound mechanical movement has a striking mechanism that strikes on the hour. This triggers a command that sets “Il Giocatore Veneziano” in motion (alternatively, there is a push-piece to activate “Il Giocatore Veneziano” on demand). The clock’s movement has an 8-day power reserve.
The moving body, hands, head and the blinking of the eyes are controlled by a specially created François Junod miniature nine-cam mechanism, which contains more than 80 ball bearings.“Il Giocatore Veneziano’s” rich silk robes and accessories have been carefully researched by Daniel Roth and the 16th century Venetian detailing recreated by a specialist couturier of miniature clothing. Taking many years to research and develop – the Daniel Roth “Il Giocatore Veneziano” is a unique, one-of-a-kind automaton. Entirely handmade, it embodies the remarkable genius of Daniel Roth. Technical details Automaton
Total height: 550 mm approx.
Base: width: 260 mm, depth: 380 mm, height: 90 mm
Automaton movement: The action of the automaton is controlled by a specially created, totally independent François Junod miniature nine-cam mechanism. The automaton can function six times without need to rewind and incorporates an indicator showing the number of times it has been activated. The automaton movement has three push-pieces: one is a clutch release to activate the automaton, the second a manual release, and the third lifts the arms so that you can see the dice. The mechanism contains more than 80 ball bearings
Set in the plinth of the automaton is a unique Daniel Roth clock, which sounds the hours and triggers a command to set the automaton in motion.
A manual mechanical clock movement with 8-day power reserve. The striking mechanism sounds the hours and on the hour triggers a command to set the automaton in motion. The functioning parts of the movement are Daniel Roth gilded, and Côte de Genève and circular grained finished. A push-piece can be used to activate the automaton.
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