The Charming Bird first launched in 2015 after a long and frantic R&D period. With its simple appearance, this innovative timepiece managed to get all the attention focused on the magnificently finished songbird which can actually ‘’ sing ‘’beneath its sapphire crystal cage. The timepiece was a immediate success soon to be approved by the prize of Mechanical Exception category of the 2015 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
That little bird with vivid colors and fascinatingly detailed art work posed beautifully over the contemporary and modest theme dial accompanied with a simple case and an elegantly plain movement.
Sporting a songbird in a today’s Jaquet Droz design can easily be related to the brand’s nature inspired as Jaquet Droz used similar design tricks at its several previous models. Being the inventor of the sliding piston, Pierre Jaquet-Droz (1721–1790) used the same principal to make his automaton birds to sing a melody using just one pipe.
Surely this technology went thru some refinements to get to the stage that we have here today but inspirationally speaking, they both share the same passion. Pierre Jaquet-Droz used vibration to create the song, while the modern engineers have used three sapphire crystal tubes with a carbon fiber piston as bellows to create air compression.
Air enters the first tube, is stored inside the second, and is eventually pushed into the third; this regulates the bird’s song according to the volume of air and the speed of the piston.
Beside this innovative feature, the movement sports a silicone balance spring to withstand the possible magnetism occurred due to the contact between metal components and to prevent auditory interference with the bird’s melody from within the case.
The main focus of the Charming Bird is, of course, the colorful little bird, a miniaturized sculpture in hand-engraved platinum or gold depending on the case material.
The movement, which can be seen through the sapphire case back, features a hand engraved pattern which illustrates a typical Swiss scene including a bird, a Swiss mountain, and plant life.
When we get to the new Métiers d’Art Version , the most obvious difference is the entirely hand-decorated dial background, which constitutes hand-painted and engraved mother-of-pearl illustrating a Swiss countryside landscape which is considered to be a historic Jaquet Droz motif.
The traditional technique of paper cutting inspired this representation, which combines the elevated level of expertise in hand engraving and miniature painting arts.
On the first version of Charming Bird, the songbird was the true attention grabber due to the modern designed 47 mm case with its smooth and modest lines. That focus is now shared with the new dial style which shows an impeccable example of craftsmanship. For sure, there is no certain answer to the possible question of ‘’ Which one to get..? ‘’ as both timepieces are magnificent examples of superior craftsmanship came together with traditional watch making.
Jaquet Droz Charming Bird ‘’ Métiers d’Art Version ‘’ is offered with 18K white or red gold case options. Both versions are limited to 8 pieces only and the MSRP is announced as 410.000 CHF.