Tags: Abraham-Louis Breguet, Baselworld 2016, Breguet, Exhibition, La Musicale, Marie-Antoinette, Reine de Naples
Many consider this watchmaker to be the godfather of modern watchmaking. And his name is still today one of the most prestigious names – if not the most prestigious – in high-end watchmaking. Breguet was a scientific watchmaker who invented crucial systems for timepieces that are still used today. Just think about the tourbillon or the pare-chute (anti shock) system, for instance. Breguet was a close friend of John Arnold, the London-based watchmaker who is said to have the privilege of testing the first tourbillon system in one of his movements. Breguet was not only an inventor, he was also a very demanding craftsman in terms of putting demands on himself and his coworkers. The quality and perfection of his pieces speak for themselves. His designs were balanced, legible, and very pure – as was the morphology of their movements.
Breguet also had a great artistic touch. Focusing on rather simple decoration, he emphasized the quality of the execution, looking first for subtle details that show off ornamentation. Born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, in 1747, he opened his Parisian workshop in 1775. Very soon, Breguet became the watchmaker of French aristocrats and monarchs. Queen Marie-Antoinette, who already had a few of his watches, ordered the most complicated watch ever made to that point. She was not able to see it before her untimely demise, but this masterpiece marked time before it was stolen from a museum – and reappeared in 2007. But before it was recovered, the modern Breguet brand had taken the decision to create an exact reproduction of it. Abraham-Louis Breguet also created an oval-shaped wristwatch upon request of the Queen of Naples, Caroline Murat. It now forms the basis of a strong ladies’ collection in brand’s current catalogue. Napoleon Bonaparte, Sultan Selim from the Ottoman Empire, Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, and eminences from Russia were also Breguet’s customers.
Abraham-Louis Breguet died in 1823 in Paris. The Swatch Group bought the brand in 1999 from Investcorp and made it into one the four most prestigious and exclusive names of the holding that also includes Blancpain, Harry Winston, and Jaquet Droz.