A Vintage silver-gilt, guilloche and pictorial enamel timepiece alarm-actuated singing bird, by C. H. Marguerat
Serial number 430
Start the day to natural birdsong...
When eight-day timepiece is wound and set, 24-hour subsidiary dial set for alarm time and the actuation lever slid to automatic position, this piece will perform at the desired moment, with the alarm bell first heard for a few seconds, before the bird lid pops up as the bird appears, flapping both wings, opening and closing metal beak, bobbing tailfeather and turning whole body from side-to-side, synchronised to the birdsong, before coming to an end when the lid closes once more.
Manual start/stop for on-demand bird performance to front-right of base.
Eight-day Swiss movement of superb accuracy, separate wind/set spindles and twin movement and alarm winding spindles each with hinged captive keys, the dial in dual tone gilding with polished raised Western Arabic numerals and dot chapter points, blued hands, alarm subsidiary 24-hour dial with gilt hand, 8 Days and Swiss legends in black.
In silver-gilt enclosure with slight wave-line weave incised decoration, supported on tall fluted columns each with boulle ring and open leaf domed-top caps. Dial surround with superb light blue guilloche enamel with lined turning, pink roseheads, green leaves and white line tracery accompaniments.
On the matching enamelled bird box base with every side and top in the most outstanding translucent guilloche enamel, with radial wave-line turning beneath each field, the front and back fields with circular centres, the sides focussing from a sharp point, masterfully setting the backdrop for the pictorial enamel bird lid with a study of a stark rocky cliff towering high above the lapping waters of a lake with tall autumnal trees capturing the fading light as the clouds cast violet shadows on the mountainous ridge beyond. Plain silver-gilt surround, flanked by twin trio pink rose posies with green leaf trails, looped by four white enamel tracery arcs.
On slender micro-stepped base, underside with course wave-line design, silver stamps and the serial number window bearing full marks.
size - 6in. high, 4.1/4in. wide, 2.1/4in. deep - (15.2 x 11 x 5.7cm)
Point of Interest -
A sky-blue clear version, lighter on the eye perhaps than the cobalt blue, but with any masterpiece by Marguerat, the sheer quality of workmanship is enviably impressive. This warm colour really sets out the turning underneath and when moved through the light, comes to life instantly. The function of a fully automatic, 24-hour setting alarm goes to show one can indeed have practicality, beauty and desire all wrapped up in one convenient and incredibly attractive package.