Around 1815 the Geneva workshop of Frères Rochat created a handful of “pistols” that actually concealed an extremely complicated music box and an automaton bird that pops out of the barrels.
In the above video posted this year by Swiss watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier, one of these double-barrel songbird pistols is shown in all of its detail. Part of the Sandoz Family Collection, the faux handgun had been repaired six times over the past three centuries and no longer worked, resulting in a one-year restoration by PF to its original condition.
It is believed that just a half dozen or so of these ornate works of are are around and most are in institutions such as the Patek Philippe Museum.
If you need more singing bird pistols from the 19th Century, check out the video from Christie’s below of the only pair of Frères Rochats known in circulation.