Breguet (watch)

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Breguet SA
Type Member of the Swatch Group
Industry Watch manufacturing
Founded 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet
Headquarters Vallée de Joux, Switzerland
Key people Abraham-Louis Breguet, founder
Parent The Swatch Group
Website breguet.ch
A Breguet squelette watch 2933 with tourbillon (2007)
Breguet No. 627 watch (2007)

Breguet is a Swiss manufacturer of luxury watches, founded by Abraham-Louis Breguet in Paris in 1775. Currently part of The Swatch Group, its timepieces are now (since 1976) produced in the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland. It is one of the oldest surviving watch-making establishments and is the pioneer of numerous watch-making technologies, the most notable being the tourbillon, invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet. It also produced the first wrist watch in 1810.[1]

Breguet introduced a line of writing instruments as a tribute to writers who mention or feature Breguet watches in their works.

Breguet watches are often easily recognized for their coin-edge cases, guilloché dials and blue pomme hands (often now referred to as 'Breguet hands').

History[edit]

Breguet was founded in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet. His first known address was at 51 Quai de l'Horloge on the Île de la Cité in Paris. Thanks to his marriage to the daughter of a prosperous French bourgeois, her dowry provided the backing which allowed him to open his own workshop. The connections Breguet had made with scholarly people during his apprenticeship as a watchmaker and as a student of mathematics soon paid off. Following his introduction to the court, Queen Marie Antoinette grew fascinated by Breguet's unique self-winding watch; Louis XVI bought several of his watches and legend has it that Marie Antoinette commissioned the watch that was to contain every watch function known at that time – Breguet's masterpiece, the Marie Antoinette (No. 160).

The business grew from strength to strength, and around 1807 he took on his son Louis Antoine as his partner, and the firm then became known as Breguet et Fils. After Abraham-Louis Breguet died in 1823 the firm carried on under his son Louis-Antoine. After Louis-Antoine retired in 1833 (he died in 1858) the business continued under Abraham-Louis' grandson Louis Clément Francois (1804–1883). Abraham-Louis' great-grandson Louis Antoine (1851–1882) was the last of the Breguet family to run the business. Although he had two sons and a daughter, they did not enter the business, so Breguet took on noted English watchmaker Edward Brown of Clerkenwell to look after the Paris factory. Brown eventually became a partner and, after Breguet's death, the owner and head of the company. When Brown died in 1895 the firm was taken over by his sons Edward and Henry. On Edward's retirement in the early 1900s, Henry Brown became the head of the firm.[2]

Contemporary production[edit]

Gentlemen's:

  • Classique: Simple, Grandes Complications – popular round pieces, usually with reeded casebands and soldered lugs;
  • Marine – water-resistant, distinguished by the presence of crown guards;
  • Heritage – tonneau-shaped cases;
  • Type XX, XXI, XXII – sports chronographs, based on World War II-era pilots' watches;
  • La Tradition – similar to the long gone Souscription by Breguet, open-faced watches with the movement on the front, along with a small face.

Women's: (mainly distinguished by diamonds)

  • Classique;
  • Marine;
  • Heritage;
  • Type XX;
  • Reine de Naples – oval bezels.

Breguet's distinguished patrons[edit]


Fictional owners[edit]

Trivia[edit]

References[edit]

  • Breguet 1747–1823 – online edition of the seminal 1921 biography by Sir David Salomons, hosted by Archive.org
  1. ^ "Histoire de la Maison Breguet", Tendance Horologie, 16 April 2009 (French)
  2. ^ Salomons, 1921, pp.7–8

External links[edit]