A Mechanical Toy – an automaton tortoise with a singing bird who lives in, and pops out, of its shell
The MB&F Kelys & Chirp Mechanical Toy is a co-creation between Reuge and Nicolas Court. Reuge, founded in 1865, is a Swiss musical pocket watch specialist. Court is an independent micro-mechanic who has worked for Techniques Horlogères Appliquées. Court as an automaton specialist has created the tortoise’s mechanism for the MB&F Kelys & Chirp Mechanical Toy, while Reuge created the Singing Bird complication.
Kelys (adopted from Greek ‘chelys’ for tortoise), when wound by its circular stainless steel winding key located in its belly, moves asymmetrically in true tortoise-like fashion, its head moving slowly from side to side. A clever ‘friction clutch security system’ detects surface edges and ensures that the tortoise doesn’t fall off table tops. It also features a ‘tail switch’ to stop the tortoise from moving if you only want to see and hear the singing bird. The mechanical tortoise with its eyes of black onyx gems and a shell of hand-made leather scales, is mainly composed of rhodium-plated brass, with a mixture of grained, satin brushed and polished finishing.
When activated, the Chirp too emerges from its nest underneath Kelys’ topmost scale, flaps its wings, moves its tail, spins around and opens and closes its beak in time with the birdsong. Chirp is made of 18k polished white gold with sapphire eyes. It also features a security mechanism to prevent damage if the bird or cover is pushed down while singing. The mechanism will safely retract the Chirp to its nest if either of the above happens.
All together, the MB&F Kelys & Chirp Mechanical Toy includes 480 components, all hand-assembled, weighing approximately 1.4kg. Both mechanisms share the same twin-cam spring barrel which provides a power reserve of 3 cycles of turtle walking and bird singing.
At a price of $50,000 you can definitely say that this is a piece meant for those with a penchant for unique collectibles. Visit MB&F to check this interesting piece out or place your order.