For more than two centuries, numerous references in French and other literature have borne witness to the scope and depth of Breguet’s international influence. Breguet has become such an intrinsic part of European culture, that his name inevitably springs to mind when one is seeking to depict the aristocracy, the bourgeoisie, or simply a luxurious, refined environment characterized by high standards. What greater proof of his reputation – and what more truly unsolicited and spontaneous publicity – could one imagine than an allusion to Breguet watches in literary works by Balzac, Alexandre Dumas, Stendhal, Jules Verne, or even the great Pushkin!
Breguet was founded in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet, a technical genius, a prolific inventor and a mathematician; widely acknowledged even to this day, as the greatest watchmaker that ever lived!
The craftsmanship and style of Breguet watches prompted Breguet to become a favorite among even the royal court. King Louis XVI ended up buying several Breguet watches. So impressed was Queen Marie Antoinette with the brand, the technical genius and his inventions, she commissioned a watch that took 34 years to build! She did not live to see the completed project, which contained every single watch function known to man at the time, including a clock, a perpetual calendar, a repeater, a thermometer, a chronograph, a power reserve indicator and a pare-chute shock protection device. Others among thousands of famous wearers of Breguet watches include Napoleon Bonaparte, Arthur Rubinstein, George Washington, Sir Winston Churchill, and Leo Tolstoy.
Perhaps the invention Breguet is most famous for is the tourbillon. Even with today’s advanced technology, a true tourbillon can only be built by the most skilled watchmakers. The multiple inventions of Breguet ensured the success of his firm under the rule of two Bourbon kings, three governments of the First Republic and the reign of Emperor Napoleon. In fact, Napoleon was one of Breguet’s most loyal customers.
No matter who was in power in Europe, he wore a Breguet. The master, who built the first watches with perpetual calendar and moonphase indication as early as 1795, was not only a technical visionary, but a pioneer in the business world as well, executing special requests from royalty and wealthy patrons.
While a Breguet may not be in everyone’s price range, collectors with the means to acquire one of these mechanical masterpieces should not hesitate. The history, romance, high quality, and exclusivity of this brand ensure that it will be a worthwhile investment indeed.