Jaquet Droz blurs the line between fine art, automata, and horology.
Pierre Jaquet-Droz was a luminary, an artisan mechanic whose creations fascinated and perplexed collectors during the 18th century. He famously built animated wind-up dolls, which were intricate enough to draw allegations of witchcraft, and effectively invented the singing bird box.
Today, the man’s eponymous Swiss watch company champions those same sensibilities; you don’t purchase a Jaquet Droz timepiece so much as commission one, like an oil painting or marble bust. Consider the Tropical Bird Repeater, which has a mother-of-pearl dial and boasts seven hand-carved, fully-automated elements. The hummingbird even flaps its wings. Be still, my heart.
Jaquet Droz Tropical Bird Repeater, jaquet-droz.com; price upon request (limited to eight pieces)