With Breguet, 28, Place Vendôme, Paris original fitted presentation box containing a key.
The Archives of Montres Breguet confirm that the present "Boîte à cigarettes à tiroir métal doré avec oiseau chanteur" no. B4408 was made in 1940 and sold on 10 October 1940 to M. Senen, price not known.
According to family tradition, the uncle of the present owner acquired the box to a later date from his acquaintance Mr. Senen.
The present lot is a fine example of one of the exceedingly rare singing bird boxes signed Breguet to appear in public. According to researches, less than 30 examples of these fine pieces were made by the celebrated house, often to special order for their distinguished clientele.
These boxes were produced in two series, the first from the mid-1930s until the 1940s, the second from the mid-1950s until the 1960s, and were available in two sizes. The larger version, such as the present box, was fitted with a double mechanism activating the singing bird by sliding a lever in the band while simultaneously the drawer to the bottom part would open. Once the bird's song finished, it vanishes into the box again, the cover is closing while, again simultaneously, the drawer is closing as well.
The movements were supplied by the celebrated house Bontems of Paris, renowned for their mastery, both in the authenticity of the bird song and for the mechanical skill. The superb pieces made by the different members of the Bontems family participated at the world's most renowned exhibitions where they were often awarded prizes. For an extensive biography of Bontems and various illustrations of their work see Flights of Fancy - Mechanical Singing Birds by Sharon & Christian Bailly, pp. 305 - 347.
Consigned by a descendant of the second owner, the rarity of the present box is further enhanced by its very good, original overall condition, the perfect functioning of the bird, the melodious sound of the chirping and the presence of the original box and key.
For the small version of a Breguet singing bird box, from the private collection, see lot 174 in this auction.