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The red birdies in the Reuge cage are the Crimson Sunbirds, Singapore’s unofficial national birds.

Celebrating the big 5-0 sounds like a mid-life crisis for most, but when it comes to a nation’s jubilee it means good news, especially if you’re into retail. To mark the occasion, luxury watch retailer The Hour Glass has commissioned renowned Swiss musical birdbox maker Reuge to create a singing bird cage – featuring two red Crimson Sunbird, the de facto national bird of Singapore – the most collectible piece ever to mark this occasion. (Here’s another collectible timepiece you should read about).

At first glance, a cage with two chirping birds is a clever nod to the local pastime of uncles who love bird watching, but it is also harks to a royal tradition in horology. Back in the 18th century, watchmakers like Pierre Jacquet-Droz and Blaise Bontems were revered for their ability to replicate the natural sounds of birds – using mechanical parts – to mimic the singing birds in the courts of European kings. Today, one of the top names for making birdboxes is Reuge Manufacture from the Sainte-Croix region in western Switzerland.

The process of crafting the Singapore Singing Bird, which is limited to just five pieces worldwide, is pure artisanal. A total of 250 parts make up the design, with the birds made up of real feathers and taking two hours to fix. The birds can move their heads, beak and tail, and chirp two songs just like the real deal, in a cage made of brass and burr walnut.

Price upon application, The Hour Glass.

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