Songbirds were always a favorite with automaton-makers. Since the Age of Enlightenment, skilled artisans have faithfully rendered their movements and songs. But the horse is a whole new level of difficulty. Combining force with grace, power, and agility, the kinematics of trot and gallop summon up hundreds of muscles and movements synchronized in perfect harmony and fluidity. The association of perfect stability on the hind legs with an asynchronous mobility of the two forelegs required for
John-Mikaël Flaux has been designing and handcrafting automatons for over ten years. A watchmaking graduate, who was awarded a gold medal at the French Best Apprentice competition, he opened his own workshop in 2008. In 2012, he was recruited by the Swiss brand Ulysse Nardin as a designer. He became an independent designer and watchmaker in 2018 and settled in France where he creates exceptional automatons – the Duel, the Car Clock and the Cheetah being among the most notable.
Next came the mechanical conception. John-Mikaël Flaux's Rearing Horse hides several automatons blended into one: each part has its own, dissociated movement – the body, the left and right front legs, the mane, and the head. All pieces work together in perfect gestural harmony, without the slightest jolt – as would be the case with automatons of a lesser craftsmanship. Knowing full well that real connoisseurs can automatically pick up the slightest mechanical defect, John-Mikaël Flaux worked with several horse riders who
Last but not least, there is this imperceptible element of poetry that John-Mikaël Flaux breathed into each movement of the Rearing Horse, until the animal truly took on a life of its own. This translates into the fluid movements of its legs, mane, and head, as well as into its delicate finishing touches. John-Mikaël used all the finishing techniques available in clockmaking – chamfering, satin finish, and polishing.