The Time for a Dance | Jaquet Droz
11 June 2014

The Time for a Dance

June, 1775. Henri Louis Jaquet-Droz, the son of Pierre Jaquet-Droz, is given an audience with Louis XVI, the King of France. There in his court, he presents his three automata. The King, however, has one demand: he wishes to examine the androids' different mechanisms once the presentation is complete. Robed in gray and gold and wearing a white peruke and black ribbon, the King appears overjoyed. He marvels at The Writer's three sets of cams and asks a myriad of questions. Once again, the magic of Jaquet Droz has cast its spell.

Through the art of movement, showcased through the choreography of the Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Jaquet Droz pays tribute to the virtuosity of their founder, tracing its origins to Versailles and that fateful meeting with Louis XVI. 

Its clocks, musical watches, objets d'art and humanoid automata would go on to fascinate the royal courts of Europe just like the shows by the Béjart Ballet Lausanne. The extraordinary Sacre du printemps (1959), Symphonie pour un homme seul, l’Oiseau de feu,... to this day, these ballets grace the stages of the greatest capitals around the world. The exceptional artistry of Maurice Béjart and the avant-garde passion of Jaquet-Droz bring us the Art of Astonishment: "the amazement of the encounter with uniqueness and harmony." 

A veritable magician of the human form, Maurice Béjart expressed a lifelong sensitivity that is never far from the unique poetry of The Musician, The Draughtsman and The Writer, these three automata designed by Pierre Jaquet-Droz that capture with astonishing realism each movement of the hands, eyes and arms. This technical challenge is accompanied by remarkable subtlety, like all the timepieces that bear the two-star stamp of Jaquet Droz, like the famous automaton timepieces, "The Bird Repeater" and "The Charming Bird," where the birds actually seem to come to life.


To astonish and surprise – words that cut to the essence of Jaquet Droz. The vision of Marc A. Hayek, President of Jaquet Droz, revives not only its own illustrious past, but also a quest that has been ever-present since its creation: the quest for excellence at every moment, where the watchmaker's ability to surpass limitations is aligned with the best of the decorative arts.

The Time for a Dance: Jaquet Droz and the Béjart Ballet Lausanne invite you into the heart of two worlds which seem to have been destined to come together.