The history of automata is intimately linked to the emergence and development of clock making through the centuries, to the mastery of time, and to mechanical science.
Wondrous objects that are at once scientific and magical, these clocks testify to the technical research and inventiveness of their designers. Doctors, thespians, and thinkers of the modern world all saw these increasingly lifelike automata: wonderful simulacra of life.
Continuing this tradition, Van Cleef & Arpels has brought together the talents of the most expert craftsmen to create its first Extraordinary Object, the Automate Fée Ondine.
The highly complex mechanism – which animates various elements and also tells the time – gives pride of place to an ephemeral poetry: movement and lightness, the beauty of nature, the grace of a fairy waking from sleep.
To mark the creation of the Automate Fée Ondine, the Maison has collaborated with Nicholas Foulkes, writer and journalist, to produce the book Automata, published by Éditions Xavier Barral.
Illustrated with etchings, manuscripts, and old documents, the book retraces the epic tale of the automaton from ancient times up to the present day.
Automata is available in two versions, French and English, on Amazon but also in several libraries across the world.