Published: October 17, 2018
NEW YORK CITY — A rare Nineteenth Century bird box is among the most intriguing lots at Heritage Auctions’ watches and fine timepieces auction October 24 at the Warwick Suite in the Warwick New York Hotel, 65 West 54th Street.
The rarity of Charles Bruguier á Geneva’s fine and important gold singing automaton bird box, no. 24, circa 1850 ($100/150,000) can be traced to the fact that Bruguier produced an average of just 27 such singing bird boxes during his career.
“Charles Bruguier is known for his singular combinations of elite artistic ability and extraordinary mechanical craftsmanship,” Heritage Auctions Watches and Fine Timepieces Director Jim Wolf said. “The artistry and engineering that went into making these boxes, coupled with the fact that so few ever were produced makes them the kind of item that can be the centerpiece of any collection.”
Impressive in both appearance and mechanics, the bird box works with sophisticated motion to the bird wings, body and beak and the bird “song” with realistic trills, chirps and cadences. The 18K gold case, with swirling leaves and flowers on a finely stippled ground, features a gold floral form slide lever to activate the sound and motion. The oval top, over a pierced and engraved bird form grid, is mounted by a hinged back panel with a recess for the winding key; when lifted, it reveals a small “singing” bird, made with real feathers, whose wings, head and beak move during its song, which lasts between 20 and 30 seconds.
The movement is brass and steel fusée and chain – a system of mechanics known to allow the box to play/sing longer and more clearly than any other type. The chain mechanism in boxes like this one include hundreds of delicate moving parts.
For further information, www.ha.com or 877-437-4824.
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