Thursday, September 15, 2011

Breguet (watch)

Breguet is a 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. Breguet 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. Breguet has recently 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').

A Breguet squelette watch with tourbillon


Breguet was founded in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet at the Quai de l'Horloge on the Île de la Cité in Paris following his marriage to the daughter of a prosperous French bourgeois. Her dowry provided the "financing" 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, whereupon Queen Marie Antoinette grew fascinated by Breguet's unique self-winding watch, Louis XVI bought several of his watches. Marie Antoinette commissioned the watch that was to contain every watch function known at that time; the Marie Antoinette.

  • Classique: Simple, Grandes Complications - popular round pieces, usually with reeded bezels and soldered lugs
  • Marine - water-resistant, distinguished by the presence of crown guards.
  • Heritage - tonneau-shaped cases
  • Type XX,XXI - sturdy 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:
  • Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orléans (1780)
  • Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France (1782)
  • Louis XVI, King of France (1783)
  • Charles de Choiseul-Praslin, Duc de Choiseul-Praslin
  • Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, 1st Sovereign Prince of Beneventum (1787)
  • Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas de Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet (1792)
  • Joséphine de Beauharnais, French Empress (1798)
  • Napoleon Bonaparte, French Emperor (1798)
  • General Charles Victor Emmanuel Leclerc, (1801)
  • George Augustus Frederick, Prince of Wales, later George IV (1803)
  • Giovanni Paisiello, Italian composer (1804)
  • William, Prince of Wurttemberg, later William I of Württemberg (1805)
  • Louis Antoine de Bougainville, French explorer
  • Selim III, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1806)
  • Caroline Murate, Queen of Naples (1807)
  • Tsar Alexander I of Russia (1809)
  • George III, King of England (1810)
  • Duke of Infantado, General and main Spanish opponent of Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • Prince Alexey Fyodorovich Orlov (1810)
  • Prince Stanisław Poniatowski (1754–1833), Polish Prince (1811)
  • Prince Ferdinand of Spain, later Ferdinand VII of Spain (1812)
  • Infante Carlos, Count of Molina, Prince of Spain (1812)
  • Baron Jean-Conrad Hottinguer, swiss banker (1812)
  • Michel Ney, Marshal of France (1813)
  • Archduchess Maria Luisa of Austria, Empress of France (1813)
  • Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1814)
  • George Spencer-Churchill, 6th Duke of Marlborough (1818)
  • Henry Howard, 13th Duke of Norfolk (1821)
  • Louis XVIII, King of France (1821)
  • Count Axel von Fersen, Swedish diplomat (1835)
  • Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom (1838)
  • George Washington, 1st American President
  • Charles Auguste Louis Joseph, Duc de Morny (1841)
  • Gioachino Rossini, italian composer (1843)
  • Horace Vernet, french painter (1855)
  • Philippe, Comte de Paris (1863)
  • Sir Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister (1901)
  • Fuad I, was the Sultan and later King of Egypt and Sudan, Sovereign of Nubia, Kordofan, and Darfur. (1924)
  • Arthur Rubinstein, Master pianist (1930)
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff, Composer (1931)
  • Ettore Arco Isidoro Bugatti, founder of the automobile company (1932)
  • Prince George of Greece and Denmark (1934)
  • Edward VIII, later The Duke of Windsor (1950)
  • Lola Astanova, Virtuoso pianist
  • Nicolas Sarkozy, French president
  • Dmitry Medvedev, Russian president
  • Leo Tolstoy, Russian author
  • Aristotle Onassis, Greek shipping magnate
  • Victor Hugo, writer
  • Charles, Prince of Wales, English heir to the throne
  • Maestro Valery Gergiev, Russia
  • Kirill I of Moscow, Russian Orthodox bishop who has been Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus.
  • Olek Boyko, investor, Kiev
  • Ainārs Šlesers, Vice-Mayor of Riga, Latvia
Fictional owners:
  • Dr. Lorrain, famous Petersburg doctor, in Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace
  • Hadji Murad, in Leo Tolstoy's Hadji Murad
  • Dr. Stephen Maturin in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey–Maturin series
  • Baron Danglars from Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Viscount Albert de Morcerf from Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Eugene Onegin in Alexander Pushkin's Eugene Onegin
  • Gerald Duncan in Jeffery Deaver's "The Cold Moon"
  • Nicholas Fandorin in Boris Akunin's series of adventure novels. The watch was a gift from the Czar (King).
  • Eugène de Rastignac in Honoré de Balzac's Le Père Goriot. The watch was a gift from Goriot's daughter, Delphine.
  • Monique Lamont in the Win Garano series by Patricia Cornwell