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The Amazing Frères Rochat Singing Bird Automaton

By Brody Patterson


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Frères Rochat (Rochat Brothers) has over three hundred years of history in the art of watchmaking, and is particularly famous a legendary automaton created in the early 19th century. Now, the Swiss company has attempted to recreate the astounding work, with really interesting results.

The piece took three years to design and develop, a project which involved an entire team of skilled craftsmen to bring to fruition. The intricate mechanism basically works like a trombone slide, using a bellows-whistle to produce the beautiful chirping, as well an ingenious fuse barrel to move all the complications. Meanwhile, the bird’s head can turn both ways, and it sings a tune which you might recognize as Mozart.

Not satisfied to simply resurrect an old design, the team also tried to improve the piece wherever possible. The music box features an increased power reserve and a more mellow sequence of tunes, while the level of finish is truly incredible.

Entirely made in Switzerland, this automaton comprises 1,227 components exquisitely put together, resulting in 20 complications, 74 jewels, 14 cams, 12 semitones, and four tunes. This level of complexity means only a few Frères Rochat Singing Birds can be produced every year, each a true masterpiece in its own right.


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About Brody Patterson

Brody has worked as a full time staff writer for Luxatic for over five years, covering luxury news, product releases and in-depth reviews, and specializing in verticals on the website alongside the tech & leisure section, as well as men's fashion, watches and travel. Learn more about Luxatic's Editorial Process.

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