Some brands have a reputation to uphold but don’t. Instead, they take great pleasure in exceeding them, like Jaquet Droz recently did with their Tropical Bird Repeater.
During his lifetime Jaquet Droz made quite a few remarkable automatons. These lifelike figures moved very organically yet where powered by a mechanical mechanism. Today Jaquet Droz, the brand, takes great pleasure in doing exactly the same yet now on a wristwatch scale. In the past, this let to dancing flowers and singing birds, but with the Tropical Bird Repeater, we are entering paradise.
The scene on the dial of this 47mm large watch is quite serene. A leopard is laying lazily in a tree, a hummingbird drinks nectar from a flower and two peacocks flank a tranquil lake. They are meticulously crafted and/or painted, in vibrant colors with an exceptional eye for detail, on a background of white mother-of-pearl.
This would make for a beautiful timepiece, but this is only half of it, as the slide on the left side of the watch activates the minute repeater. While chiming the hours and minutes, the waterfall starts to run, the peacock shows its tailfeathers, the hummingbird sips its nectar while its wings move at rapid speed, the dragonflies dart above the flowers with their wings coated in super luminova, and a toucan appears from behind the leaves. The whole watch comes to live, not only with sound but also with movement.
This is all thanks to a remarkable movement: calibre RMA89. This manual wind calibre has only a single mainspring barrel, which not only has to power its timekeeping displayed on the onyx dial at the front of the watch but also powers the minute repeater and automata. Despite all this, Jaquet Droz is still able to realize a generous power reserve of 60 hours. That makes the Tropical Bird Repeater not only an incredible aesthetical achievement but a mechanical one as well, not to mention one of which Jaquet Droz himself would have been proud!