An extremely fine vintage richly-hued silver-gilt, guilloche yellow enamel and pictorial enamel timepiece alarm-actuated singing bird box, by C. H. Marguerat
Serial number 346,
Awake from your dreams the Swiss way...
When 8-day clock movement wound and set to the correct time, the alarm train wound and desired actuation hour selected, separate singing bird movement wound from underside, the magic starts with the fast-paced gong running for approximately 5 seconds before the bird lid opens as the bird appears, singing magnificently and opening and closing metal beak, bobbing tailfeather, flapping both wings and turning whole body from side-to-side in perfect synchronicity, ending when the bird drops back down as the bird lid closes. Manual override achieved for singing bird feature by sliding front start/stop button to the right.
The 2-train multiple jewelled 8-day movement with soft gilt matt finished dial, raised polished Western Arabic numerals with chapter dots, lower 24-hour alarm subsidiary dial with polished current time hand and 8 Days legend as arc just above, dark blued pierced alarm and time hands, all behind domed glass front, surrounded by the luxurious yellow enamel band which accompanies the complex engine-turned circular timepiece barrel with intertwining helix decoration. Mounted on twin deep fluted columns, each with chrysanthemum tooled capitol tops and slight plinths, taking the eye to the singing bird base which is fully enrobed in the guilloche yellow enamel of the finest degree of tone, with full-frame radial pattern to top, embellished by the exceptional soft white fired floral swag crescents which surround the centre, setting the scene of the oval bird lid with slight domed profile bearing pictorial enamel study of Chateau Chillon, on its small peninsula in the shadow of the snowcapped mountain ridge bordering Lake Geneva, in bold hues with bright blue used for the water.
The grille surround of chased silver and the lid interior highly polished silver-gilt for full bird reflection during performance. Edge running the round of the movement case with a slightly more generous margin to accommodate the delicate ball-cluster decoration. Corners with ribbon and angular stepped crowns engraved to the two planes of each.
Front, sides and back with loose and tightly engine chased work to provide the eye with a diametric basket-weave pattern as the box is turned through the light. This is complimented beautifully by the use of painted enamel of pink/red roses with blue tints on their green stems, seen to main panels and as five poses to timepiece surround.
Start/stop button of stepped profile, tooled with double laurel leaf indent and the underside with full Marguerat stamp marks for silver content, Swiss made marks and the serial number within plain rectangle to one corner, all set off on the multi-wave line ground.
size - 5.3/4in. high, 2in. deep, 4.1/4in. wide - (14.5 x 5cm x 11cm)
Point of Interest -
The joy of seeing a singing bird box by C. H. Marguerat,is the overwhelming power of quality they possess.
This model is the very first commercially successful alarm-actuated singing bird box made. The timepiece is advanced, with the 24-hour alarm dial providing an obvious benefit on setting margins, and the ease of use of a complex device.
You will notice that the scene on the bird lid you may have seen before on a Douglas Fisher stock item. On number 1338, this gorgeous castle, on the banks of Lake Geneva, is the ultimate add-on through the course of time building, romantically positioned by the mountains since the 1100's.
The yellow enamel used is one of the finest hues ever to be fired on a box in Switzerland. Light in colour, this shows the viewer the engine chasing beneath without hindrance under any type of illumination levels. The silver-gilt tone works perfectly with yellow used for this piece - a soft mustard yellow, not garish, but kind to both the eye and taste.
The silverwork tooled with particular attention given to the edges and corners, seen here with little clusters of dot-trails to front edge and ribbon lipped corners.
This is a very special prize in the world of singing bird automata. Made with total dedication, at a time when the skills and determination to achieve the best was not only planned, but executed. And above all, it has survived.
Most probably the finest and best examples of this model to be offered today, Douglas Fisher are very proud to bring this survivor to your attention.