Pierre Jaquet-Droz: Singing Bird Pendulum Clock Lovingly Restored

  1. Jeremy
  2. February 12, 2018 12:50 pm

Pierre Jaquet-Droz: Singing Bird Pendulum Clock Lovingly Restored


The Watch Museum of Le Locle (MHL) together with the International Museum of Horology in La Chaux-de-Fonds (MIH) collaborated to restore the beautiful Pierre Jaquet-Droz pendulum clock to working order under the benefaction of Jacquet-Droz.

This classic timepiece boasts an incredibly interesting history, and was a present from Napoleon to a Princess of Württemberg. The clock has a singing bird automaton housed in a cage, fixed to a mahogany French cabinet and embellished with bronze Empire-style motifs.

Originally attained in 1984 by the Watch Museum of Le Locle, it is now a treasure of Neuchâtel watchmaking heritage.
The exceptionally gifted craftsmen utilised all of their talent to revise the mechanisms and restore the bird, the cabinet and the gilded appliques. The piece will be unveiled in 2018 after two exacting years of restoration work.

The bird motif has been part of Jaquet-Droz since the brand’s beginning. Pierre-André Grimm has restored the bird’s plumage while carefully respecting the original feathers. A spacing investigation discovered a lack of mobility in this area, in contrast to the restored beak, tail and throat of the bird.

Originally the serin’s lovely song could be heard on demand, or automatically on the hour.

The six melodies in its catalogue were played by a pin-barrel serinette, a mechanical feat that produced sounds by air intake to its flutes. The serinette has now been restored, owed to Walter Dahler’s long-term undertaking of measuring, checking and reassembling, plus some 75 hours of studying the movement.

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