Objects with musical mechanism and automaton

Singing bird box table clock

    Singing bird box table clock

    Switzerland, Geneve

    circa 1920


    Silver, brass, steel, feathers, enamel, glass, leather, velvet, satin; engraving, guilloche, gilding, painted enamel, enamel over guilloche, champlevé enamel

    8 x 10.2 x 6.5 cm, 1002 gr

    On the bottom panel and movement: “642”, on the movement: “Raymy’s”, on paper sheets: “S is Silent R is Reverie wind alarm w. winding stem move lever to R to set alarm to go off”, “Hold this lever in to set alarm hand – runs counter – clock wise.”


    Singing bird box with clock in silver gilded rectangular case, with ornately shaped vertical ribs, on four feet in the form of acanthus leaves, decorated with guilloche, with engraved deciduous ornament and enamel images. Transparent blue enamel and polychrome champlevé enamel branches with flowers and leaves in the engraved frame with ornament on blue enamel over guilloche surface is on the top panel. Oval aperture bordered with the engraved frame of laurel leaves on blue enamel and closed with a hinged lid in the frame with foliage ornament is in the center. Painted enamel Alpine landscape with a castle and trees on the lakeshore is on the lid. The lid inner side is matt-finished. Side panels are guilloche, with blue transparent enamel and lambrequins with polychrome champlevé bows, flowers and leaves.

    The clock bordered with frame with deciduous ornament on the blue enamel field with white enamel dial, Arabic numerals, minutes’ graduations and two gold-plated hands in Louis XVI style is on the front panel. A winding crown is below, an alarm on / off switch is on the right bottom side. A guilloche field with an aperture for the movement winding, screw heads, the item number, onlay with a slot, alarm clock setting lever, and the letters "R” and “S" are on the bottom panel of the case. A shifting lever for activating the bird’s movement is on the front side, to the right. When the movement is turned on, the lid automatically opens; a miniature bird in bright plumage appears on the gilded lattice. It swings in place, flaps its wings, opens and closes the beak. The sound movement simulates sonorous bird’s singing. At the end of the program, the bird hides in the groove in the openwork lattice and the lid is lowered.

    The clock movement with a spring motor, lever escarpment, a monometallic balance, a self-compensating flat balance spring and a regulator indicator. The box is stored in a leather case of dark brown colour with two doors and onlay lock.

    Two pieces of paper with handwritten instructions for setting the alarm clock are enclosed in the box.