Automata with verge watch and Berthoud clock

An automata birdcage with verge watch. This is a quite unusual clock: the bird inside the cage turns on itself, open his wings, moves the beak and sings, all moved by a mechanism located inside the base of the clock.

Automata birdcage

The movement is quite interesting, being a typical French verge of very small diameter.

French verge movement

Handling a balance staff and escape wheel like these is always a little breathtaking. We have confronted them with a coin which is 1" in diameter to give an idea of their size. More than 250 years ago craftsmen were able to produce such parts on very primitive machines, like the first watchmaker's lathes.

Balance and escape wheel

This quarter chiming movement was housed in a large wooden clock signed by Berthoud, one of the most famous French clockmakers. Unfortunately, we do not have pictures of the case, because we only took the movement apart to repair it in our workshop. Barrels and strike levers, racks and snails are located in unusual places on the plates. Luckily, this clock is very well preserved. There are no signs of wrong interventions or misuse by the owner, so a merely conservative work was enough to keep the mechanism in good order.

Berthoud, front plate


Berthoud, back plate