Pierre Jaquet-Droz

Montres Jaquet Droz S.A.

Swatch group
Allée du Tourbillon
CH-2300 La Chaux-de-Fonds
Switzerland

Pierre Jaquet-Droz, 1721-1790) was a Swiss born watchmaker of the late eighteenth century. He lived in Paris, London and Geneva, where he designed and built animated dolls and machines.

Built between 1768 and 1774 by Pierre Jaquet-Droz, his son Henri-Louis (1752-1791) and Jean-Frédéric Leschot (1746-1824) are the automatons of the writers (from 6000 pieces), the musician (2500 pieces) And the draftsman (2000 pieces).

His amazing mechanisms fascinated the kings and emperors of Europe, China, India and Japan.

Some consider these devices to be the oldest examples of the computer. The writer, a mechanical boy who writes with a feather keg on paper with real ink, has an input device to put tabs and define single letters written by the boy, which form a programmable memory. 40 cams representing the read-only program. The work of Pierre Jaquet-Droz was decades before Charles Babbage.

Three particularly complex and still functional ones are found in the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Pierre Jaquet-Droz Swiss Watches website