Breguet (brand)

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Breguet SA
Subsidiary
IndustryLuxury watchmaking
Founded1775
FounderAbraham-Louis Breguet
Headquarters,
Switzerland
Key people
Nicolas G. Hayek
ProductsWatches, jewelry
ParentThe Swatch Group
Websitebreguet.ch
A Breguet squelette watch 2933 with tourbillon
Breguet No. 627 watch

Breguet is a Swatch-owned brand of luxury watches founded by Abraham-Louis Breguet in Paris in 1775. The brand, along with Vacheron Constantin, is one of the oldest surviving watchmaking brands and a pioneer of numerous watchmaking technologies, such as the tourbillon, which was invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet. Breguet watches are often easily recognized for their coin-edge cases, guilloché dials and blue pomme hands (often now referred to as 'Breguet hands'). In addition to watches, Breguet also manufactures writing instruments, women's jewelry, and cufflinks.[1]

From 1870 to 1970, Breguet was owned by the English Brown family. In 1976, its then owner Chaumet closed the French factory, and moved production to the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland. In 1991 the brand's Bahraini owner Investcorp created Groupe Horloger Breguet (GHB) including Valdar SA and Nouvelle Lemania S.A. Breguet brand watches are now made at the Nouvelle Lemania factory. The Breguet group has been part of The Swatch Group since 1999, and Breguet is regarded as the premier Swatch brand.[2]

Breguet produced the first wristwatch in 1810.[3] The Breguet & Fils, Paris No. 2667 (1814) pocket watch, the most expensive Breguet timepiece, ranks as one of the world's most expensive watch ever sold at auction with a final price of 4.69 million US dollars (4,339,000 CHF) in Geneva on May 14th 2012.[4][5]

History[edit]

Breguet was founded in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet, a Swiss watchmaker born to Huguenot parents in Neuchâtel. He studied watchmaking for ten years under Ferdinand Berthoud and Jean-Antoine Lépine before setting up his own watchmaking business in Paris at 51 Quai de l'Horloge on the Île de la Cité in Paris. The dowry that came with his marriage to the daughter of a prosperous French bourgeois provided the backing which allowed him to open his own workshop. Breguet's connections made during his apprenticeship as a watchmaker and as a student of mathematics helped him to establish his business. 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. In 1783 the Swedish count Axel Von Fersen, who was the queen's friend and reputed lover, commissioned a watch from Breguet that was to contain every watch complication known at that time as a gift to Marie Antoinette, – Breguet's masterpiece, the Marie Antoinette (No. 160).[citation needed]

The business was a success, and around 1807 he took on his son Louis-Antoine as his partner, renaming the firm "Breguet et Fils" (Breguet and Sons). Louis-Antoine took over the firm upon the death of his father in 1823. After Louis-Antoine retired in 1833 (he died in 1858) the business was passed to 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 the Breguet company hired noted English watchmaker Edward Brown of Clerkenwell to manage the Paris factory. Brown eventually became a partner and, after Breguet's grandson'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.[6]

In 1992, Breguet acquired Lemania.

Breguet changed hands several times in the 1970s and 1980s before being acquired by its current owner, the Swatch Group, in 1999.[7]

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.

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. ^ "Breguet Collecstions". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  2. ^ http://www.timeandwatches.com/p/the-history-of-breguet-part-ii.html?m=1
  3. ^ "Histoire de la Maison Breguet" Archived 13 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine., Tendance Horologie, 16 April 2009 (French)
  4. ^ "Christie's - Record Price For Any Breguet Watch - Business - WorldTempus". en.worldtempus.com. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  5. ^ "Important Watches". Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  6. ^ Salomons, 1921, pp.7–8
  7. ^ "The Swatch Group Ltd. acquires Groupe Horloger Breguet from Investcorp S.A." Retrieved 3 October 2014.

External links[edit]