We started the visit with a viewing of the vintage automata pieces made by Pierre Jaquet Droz.
Jaquet Droz is famous for automata. On entering the room we were startled by this figurine which looked amazingly realistic.
First a Singing Bird Clock. 3 day power reserve with automata having the same power reserve. The birds sing each hour but can be silenced by pulling a string. Three melodies which change with each activation.
Next we visited the Design Studio. No photographs in this room. We saw how the designs come to live. All watches are drawn in this department, including technical, design and craftsmanship. We saw the design of the tiger on the Petit Heuer Minute being drawn by hand using colour pencils of many shades. This is a special commission. The craftsman proposes several tiger drawings based on the request for a tiger on the watch.
On the wall, the inspiration wall of pictures and drawings pinned up. The designers work directly with the craftsman as a team. For example, the technical design for the bridges on a movement is provided by the technicians to the craftsman add their designs by free hand. This is then selected to be worked on.
Next haute horlogerie department where each watch is assembled. Movements are by Blancpain.
The watchmakers work in a positive pressure laminar box to ensure a dust free environment.
We then move to the QC department. Quality of the work done in the previous department and suppliers are controlled here.
Automata assembly is next. Two watchmakers are working in this room assembling the automaton.
The sound of the repeaters and bird Sonics are recorded in this sound proof box.
The mechanism of the bird singing to demonstrate the movement to produce the sound.
And next the Metier d’art atelier. The room had 8 stations with artists practicing various crafts.
The first station is the hand engraving by hand but using a drill like tool.
The materials showing the colours for enameling.
The enamel colours are applied by hand.
Live from La Chaux du Fonds