The Swiss watchmaking firm Jaquet Droz has short-circuited the 18th and 21st centuries with the Charming Bird. It's a wristwatch that includes a tiny automaton bird inside the crystal, that sings and dances at the press of a button.
The mechanical watch was introduced at the April 2013 Baselword fair in Basel, Switzerland to commemorate the 275th anniversary of Jaquet Droz, which was founded in 1738 by Pierre Jaquet-Droz, who created three of the most advanced humanoid automatons of the 18th century.
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According to Jaquet Droz, the Charming Bird is the first singing bird automaton wristwatch ever made and the fourth step in the company’s revival of 18th century miniature painting, engraving, sculpture, automata technology, and miniaturization. The 47-mm 18-carat white gold case not only includes the painstakingly detailed bird, but also uses a background of a transparent sapphire to reveal the hand-wound, 29-jewel Jaquet Droz 610 movement, which runs for 40 hours at 21,600 vibrations per hour.
Piston-driven bellows provide the singing, and the bird is finely detailed down to the eyes. It dances, opens and closes its beak, and flaps its wings as it sings. The dial is off-center above the blister containing the bird, and sports blue steel hands. The watch also includes an alligator leather strap with an 18-carat white gold folding clasp.
The Charming Bird may be charming, but it’s not cheap at an asking price of US$500,000. Production is limited to only 28 units.
The video below shows the mechanism of the Charming Bird in action.