The Dh1.5 million watch with its own nest egg

The Life: The Bird Repeater watch is made up of 508 separate components and took three years to make. But that is not even the most surprising thing about the accessory.

This slot has featured an array of luxury watches in its time, but none of them looked anything like Jaquet Droz's latest creation.

Sure, it has a clock face, as you would expect. But it also features two birds perched on top of a nest harbouring an egg and chicks.

Yet the three-dimensional picture is not even the most surprising thing about the timepiece.

At the push of a button, it springs to life. One of the birds bobs to feed its offspring, while its companion spreads its wings and the egg in the centre opens up to reveal a chick. Wavy lines also cascade down the side, mimicking the motions of a waterfall.

The watch costs 400,000 Swiss francs (Dh1.5 million), minus taxes. But you may struggle to buy one even if you have the means.

Only a small number of the Bird Repeater timepieces have been produced and most of them have already been snapped up.

"It's limited to eight pieces in red gold, eight pieces in white gold," says Nayla Hayek, the chief executive of Swatch Group, which owns the luxury watch brand behind the creation.

"I think they [have been] mostly ordered from our clients."

The watch, which was on display in Abu Dhabi last week before setting off on a tour around Asia, was made to pay homage to the man who gave his name to the watch brand.

Born in 1721, Pierre Jaquet-Droz made his name making watches and novelty gadgets, including clocks with mechanical "singing birds".

At first, they included real birdcages. But the mechanical birds became smaller as a result of developments in miniature clockmaking and were soon transformed into pocket watches and table clocks.

While it doesn't sing, the Bird Repeater chimes to mark the start of the movement of the mechanism.

The complex timepiece includes 508 separate pieces and took three years to make.

"Jacquet Droz has 275 years, so it's a very long history so three years is very short to develop [a watch]," says Christian Lattmann, the vice president of Jaquet Droz.

gduncan@thenational.ae

Published: November 22, 2012 04:00 AM

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