Auction - rare enamel singing bird pistols coming up at Christies

On May 30, Christie’s HK will auction a rare pair of matching gold and enamel Singing Bird Pistols, as the highlight of its watch sale. With an estimate of $2.5 million to $5 million, the matching mirror-image pistols set with diamonds, agate and pearls, are attributed to world-renowned craftsmen Frères Rochat and they are is the only publicly known pair of singing bird pistols in the world. One single pistol is found in the Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem which houses the Sir David Salomons Magnificent Collection of Clocks and Watches. Another single pistol is recorded in the Maurice Sandoz Collection in Switzerland. The Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, Switzerland owns two single pistols, one of which was purchased at Christie’s in 1989. This pair on offer is the most advanced version of this type of singing bird pistols attributed to Frères Rochat and the only publicly known examples of the kind in a matching pair.
The Frères Rochat were three brothers who worked in Geneva, Switzerland from 1800 to 1835. They are most famous for perfecting the highly complex singing bird mechanism and placing it in cages, mirrors and even pistols. The ingenuity of these pistols is beyond description: each pistol features a bird that shots out of the double barrels, pivots, moves its wings and tail, and opens its beak to sing and then disappears again. With the combination of sumptuously decorated cases and intricate movements, these matching pistols are the perfect example of such coveted decorative objects made for discerning dignitaries and royalty in China and Europe. In advance of the sale, the pair of Singing Bird Pistols will be exhibited from 2 – 7 April at Christie’s Hong Kong office; 23-24 April in Shanghai; and 30 April – 1 May in Singapore