The result of a collaboration between Reuge —the mechanical music box and singing birds specialists— and Nicolas Court, one of Switzerland’s most talented automaton experts comes a set of two automatons —a first for MB&F— named ‘Kelys & Chirp’. The first, a walking turtle and the latter his singing bird companion, are both fully mechanical creatures. By pressing Kelys’ tail, this turtle will start to gently walk across the table in an amazingly realistic turtle-like gait. After a few seconds, another surprise is revealed when one of the scales on his back opens up and his friend Chirp pops out, flapping her wings vigorously and singing loudly. As Chirps' melody finishes, she dives back into the shelter provided by Kelys’ shell and he continues to walk, unfazed. While Kelys name comes from the Greek 'chelone or chelys' for tortoise, Chirp's name comes from the chirping sound made by this automated bird. Below the image you will find a video produced by MB&F showing this automaton in action.
Founded in 1865, Reuge is the last remaining high-end music box and singing bird manufacture in the world and a company that MB&F has partnered with in three other occasions with the release of different Music Machines. On the other end, Nicolas Court is perhaps lesser-known, but an absolute mechanical genius. Running on the modest power supplied by the Singing Bird mechanism, Nicolas and his team managed to create a system that puts the 1.4kg —approximately three pounds— in motion thanks to low ratio gearing, while the turtle-like walk is achieved via elliptical gears and a complex cam system.
As if this was not enough, there is also a friction clutch security system that detects the edge of a table or desk, stopping Kelys before he drops. Lastly, there is yet another security system designed to protect Chirp in case someone accidentally pushes her or her cover down while she is singing and one that will stop her and instantly retreats her inside the turtles back.
Made of rhodium plated brass, stainless steel and 18K white gold with eyes in sapphire for the bird inside, the scales on Kelys’ shell are individually hand made from high quality leather creating a warmer and more natural feel than bare metal. Composed of a total of 480 components that are 100% hand assembled, Kelys & Chirp are available in four limited editions of just 18 pieces each in blue, yellow, green and orange. This gorgeous turtle and bird automaton measures 24 cm in length —about 9.5"— × 16 cm wide —6"— × 8 cm —3"— tall with Chirp nested inside.
Sticker Price CHF 49,000 Swiss Francs —approximately $49,500 USD. For more info on MB&F click here.