A very exclusive contempary sterling silver, gold and diamond singing bird box with skeletonised timepiece, by Reuge,
late 20th century
First edition diamond bird series, serial movement 75
The bird with the diamond-studded performance, keeping perfect time, from Switzerland with love...
When wound and the start button to right-hand side pressed, the movement actuates and the bird lid gently and smoothly lifts and the magnificent bird emerges through the radially pierced and chased pansy-head grille. The bird with moving polished beak, flaps both wings and moves his whole body from side-to-side to continuous birdsong.
The bird of finest polished gold, with the wings beautifully mounted in full with five rows of 78 brilliant-cut diamonds for its arched plumage; open mounted backs to each for stunning bright clarity, dark hardstone eyes and integral feet moulding to the circular perch. The bird is reflected in its entirety in the sumptuous highly-polished gold plated lid interior.
The pressed egg frieze raised border, with the slight-domed bird lid and entire main lid of mirror-polished silver reflects the light beautifully. The front and all sides with the matching expert finish.
The front centre with the highlight of the multiple-jewelled timepiece movement with wheel escapement, and full skeletal plates, tooled and fretted with swag trails, ruby cam terminals and open-sided spring barrel. The face has deep blued tapering hands, a black chapter ring with gold baulle hour markers, gold basal and domed glass front and a collapsible crown for winding and setting to the underside.
On the base is the bird movement captive folding winding key, while the base edge is finished with bolder egg frieze detail and the classic Reuge Music maker's stamp front-left.
The soft roundel start-press button to the right-hand side front corner.
This box offered in near-pristine condition, this first edition model of their diamond, gold and silver box is a real masterpiece born in one of only two Swiss workshops capable of this level of work.
size 4.1/2in. wide, 2.3/4in. deep, 1.5/8in. high, (11.5 x 7 x 4.2cm)
Point of interest -
Post-1960 singing birds are not always to be placed in a lesser category. Far from it. This example underlines a very clear rule that Reuge certainly know what they are doing when it comes to enlightening the eyes and ears of those who expect the contempary to be as amazing as the antique, but with a new twist.
Their first edition run of this model within the last 15 years were made to order, at huge cost, due to the time involved and the quality of the materials used.
Capturing the light with perfection, the diamonds are not tiny but as generous as the wing size permitted for each side. The gold wings used as the mounting cushions enhance the colour further and the birdsong is as crisp and real as a box made a full 100 years before. Reuge continue to make and delight clients today, their standard range may not be of the quality of earlier boxes from the 18th and 19th century and will not be reflected in their resale value but we are proud to offer this exceptional piece as a sign of showing the full range of objects which make up this subject to its full.
The genius touch with this piece is the skeletal timepiece window - looking in to a wonderful sight of working moving parts which would have otherwise not be seen. The beauty here is the working life of the workmanship and long may this continue.