From Roost to Wrist: Boucheron and MB&F’s Bird-Inspired JwlryMachine

It takes about 30 days for the average owl to hatch from an egg. This, however, is no average owl: The Jwlry­Machine—Boucheron’s haute-joaillerie take on MB&F’s Horological Machine Nº 3 (HM3)—took 14 months to create. Some 40 designers, engineers, and specialists from both companies collaborated on this $215,000 amethyst-, sapphire-, and diamond-studded watch. (They also made a pink Jwlry­Machine with rose quartz, pink tourmaline, diamonds, and pink sapphires.) “We wanted to create a piece which would not only magnify our respective competencies, but which would also make people smile,” says Maximilian Büsser, founder of MB&F, the 5-year-old Swiss brand that’s carved out a niche in avant-garde haute horlogerie (see: the HM4 Thunderbolt, fueled by Büsser’s childhood passion for model planes). Boucheron dreamed up more than 50 designs based on MB&F’s HM2 and HM3. When Büsser saw the owl, “it immediately clicked.” Of all the proposed ideas, it was both companies’ favorite.

Big Bird Brain

Beneath the bejeweled surface lies an extremely technical timepiece. (The engine alone contains 305 parts.) A 22k gold “battle-ax rotator”—located under the hand-cut amethyst—powers the engine, says Büsser. “As the rotor swishes under the stone, the owl seems to come alive.”

Heart of Stone

Designers hand-carved a 35-plus carat amethyst for the owl’s feathered breast—a feat even for the 152-year-old House of Boucheron: “The stone had to be clear enough for the rotor to be seen, as this gives the impression of a beating heart. The ‘breast’ had to be engraved from one single block.”

Purple Majesty

Nearly 50 cts. t.w. of gems adorn the JwlryMachine: The owl’s face is flecked with blue and purple sapphires, his cabochon-amethyst eyes rimmed with diamonds. “Each stone was precisely selected and positioned to give life to the beast,” explains the House of Boucheron.

The Eye of Time

Don’t even bother looking for the big hand and the little hand. “We display the time around two cones on the side of the ‘owl’s eyes,’ thanks to double-sided hands rotating at the top,” says Büsser. “Through the cabochon on the right, you also discover the Night/Day indicator.”