— Pierre Jaquet-droz made scores of clocks, watches and music boxes that featured singing bird automata and his eponymous brand, now owned by the Swatch Group, has paid tribute to this history in recent years with its Bird Repeater wristwatches. The Parrot Repeater, the first of the so-called Automata Collection to use a pocketwatch case (which would have been the preferred style of Pierre Jaquet-droz), is the most complex and most limited to date – a literal one-of-a-kind timepiece with five animations on the dial and a host of decorative techniques and gem-setting adorning its 56-mm, 18k rose-gold case. Perched on the mother-of-pearl dial are a family of macaws. Positioned in front of the white motherof-pearl subdial, on which the offcenter hours and minutes are displayed by gold hands, each of the family of birds is animated: the parrot on the left moves its body while the larger one on the right wiggles its head. One of the chicks emerges from its egg while the other hops back and forth. Other details emerge such as a tiger pausing for a drink at an animated waterfall in the background and another tiger crouching below the macaws’ nest at 6 o’clock.
The whole tableau involves miniature painting for the dazzling colors of the jungle and miniature relief engraving for the 3-D depth of the elements; the tree trunks, birds and nest are solid gold appliqués, hand-painted and hand-applied to the dial. e complexity in both construction and decorative embellishment extends to the rose-gold case, whose rim boasts a rainbow of colors achieved by gem-setting. It uses two covers to protect the dial. One is on the back, with a grand
feu enamel painting of a macaw, enhanced with spangles and executed in a special technique that mixes hand-ground enamel powder with oil, adding the spangles by hand, then adding a protective layer of translucent enamel before a final firing in the kiln and a final hand-polish. On the front is a dial cover, offering a peek at the dial’s scenery through its sculpted vines and tropical foliage, which are set with multicolored gemstones. The manual-wound, minute repeater movement inside is composed of 668 components and stores a power reserve of 48 hours. The slider at 9 o’clock simultaneously activates the automata and the minute repeater, whose cathedral gongs chime the hours, quarter hours and minutes. Price is available upon request.