Objects with musical mechanism and automaton

Singing bird box with miniature watch insert

    Singing bird box with miniature watch insert

    Switzerland, Geneve


    Freres Rochat, Jean-Geoge Remond

    Gold, brass, steel, glass, feathers; engraving, chasing, champlevé enamel, repousse

    8.7 x 6.2 x 2.8 cm

    Mark FR in oval on the watch board and bird's movement


    Golden rectangular box with rounded corners is decorated with chased and engraved ornaments with a hinged lid. Rectangular fields in the form of regular guilloche wavy grid in a narrow smooth frame, surrounded by the engraved dark blue enamel flower border over the repousse background are in the center of each side. Images of antique urns with ribbons are placed on the rounded corners. An oval window surrounded by a chain of half-pearls is in the central part of the upper lid. An oval medallion decorated with a bouquet of engraved and chased flowers with the insets of small pearls and turquoise cabochons over repousse background is inside the window. The medallion serves as a second lid, under which a bird is hidden. When the movement is activated, the oval lid automatically opens, and a miniature bird in bright feathers appears. It swirls in place, flaps its wings and tail, twists its head, opens and closes the beak. The sound movement imitates the bird’s chirping. When the program is finished, the bird is hidden under a gold engraved lattice and the lid is closed. The inner sides of the lid and medallion are mirror-polished. A gold panel that covers the bird’s movement and music movement is under the large lid. There is a fine engraved floral ornament on the polished surface of the panel. There are two apertures for the winding key for separate winding of the bird movement and musical movement. The music movement with a programmed drum and a set of 16 oscillating lamellas has an original design - the engine spring is located inside the programmed drum, and, the lamellas look like steel plates of complex shape, assembled into two piles and tightened with screws. A spring motor with a fuse and chain drives the bird's movement with one whistle and eight programmed cams. White enamel watch dial with black Roman numerals, minutes' graduation and three central hands is in the center of the front panel. Hours' and minutes' hands are black spear-shaped;  seconds' hand is golden. The dial is covered with flat glass with a facet and is surrounded by a chain of half-pears. The front panel is removable. It gives access to the watch with a cylinder escapement, quarter stroke and repeater. Rods for winding the watch and hands setting are located behind the front panel. The left side wall is hinged, revealing the key storage compartment. This extremely rare box, combining a mechanical singing bird, a music automaton and a miniature watch with three hands and a quarter strike was created for the Chinese market.