Chefs-d'œuvre de luxe et de miniaturisation
Musée d'horlogerie du Locle,
Rte des Monts 65, 2400 Le Locle
Du mardi au dimanche, de 10h00 à 17h00


Automates & merveilles au Locle :
Chefs-d’œuvre de luxe et de miniaturisation

Pistolet à parfum, coll. MIH
Montre signée Jaquet-Droz, London, coll. MHL

Automata and marvels
Masterpieces of luxury and miniaturisation

From the second half of the 18th century, the miniaturisation of mechanical and musical movements gave birth to a new industry. Pierre Jaquet-Droz and his son Henri-Louis occupied a privileged position in this field.

The exhibition at the Musée d'horlogerie du Locle (MHL) will be built around the theme of miniaturisation and very precious decorations.

Le Dessinateur (The Draughtsman) by Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz is used as the basis for the theme of miniaturisation. We present the master clockmakers associated with Jaquet-Droz, father and son, and the heirs of this tradition by revealing the relations that exist between them. The miniaturisation of mechanisms allowed the clockmakers to include singing birds, music boxes or animated scenes in all sorts of objects (watches, pistol, cages, snuff boxes). They also excelled in creating android automata and small mechanical animals.

On the threshold of the 19th century, these luxury items were regarded the same as jewellery. These miniature masterpieces made of gold, enamel, pearls, precious stones were widely distributed in Europe and in the Orient.

In Geneva there was an outstanding community of craftsmen called “La Fabrique” (the Factory). In this exhibition can be appreciated the talent of the Geneva goldsmiths, enamellers and miniaturists, who expressed themselves with virtuosity in this area.

The last part of the exhibition focusses on work produced in the 20th and 21st century. It will introduce creations which continue this tradition.