Jaquet Droz’s Charming Bird Deconstruction By The Naked Watchmaker (Plus Video)
by Ian Skellern
I still remember the sense of awe I felt many years ago when I had the opportunity to watch and listen to a recently restored centuries-old Jaquet Droz singing bird. The animation was compelling, and the quality of the birdsong sound was incredible (see The Incredible Restoration Of An Authentic Jaquet Droz Clock).
But as impressive a feat I thought that full-sized eighteenth-century Jaquet Droz singing bird clock was, shrinking that mechanical technology to wristwatch size is just mind-blowing.
If you are interested in how the Jaquet Droz Charming Bird works, I highly recommend checking out Peter Speake-Marin’s Jaquet Droz The Charming Bird Deconstruction on The Naked Watchmaker.
The Naked Watchmaker explains that Jaquet Droz’s Charming Bird is a modern interpretation of an early automaton singing bird. Its is manufactured using micro-mechanics, watchmaking skills, and modern materials to achieve the miniaturization of what were previously larger and static machines made in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
This fantastic watch was developed over a three-year period; the first prototype was finished in 2013, and the first watches launched into the market in 2014.
Air is allowed into the case for the bird mechanism to function as well as to allow the sound to be easily heard through a perforated titanium grill, seen on the 9 o’clock side of the case, covering two milled slots traversing the thickness of the case (the watch is not water-resistant).
The pinion on the lower section of the bird assembly links to the rack, which turns the bird’s body. The steel rod below it is pushed vertically by an additional lever found in the movement under the rod. When the lever pushes the rod it causes the beak to open as well as the wings and tail to move in sync with the birdsong.
For more information, please visit www.jaquet-droz.com/the-charming-bird.
For much more on this Naked Watchmaker deconstruction, please visit www.thenakedwatchmaker.com/decon-jaquet-droz-charming-bird.
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