“'Marie-Antoinette' watch. Automatic (perpétuelle) minute-repeating watch." Complete automatic date, equation of time, power reserve, metallic thermometer, platinum oscillating weight, sapphire bearings and rollers, large independent seconds hand and small direct-drive seconds, gold case, enamel dial, rock crystaldial, gold and steel hands; diameter 2 1⁄2 in.(6.4 cm). Replica made by Montres Breguet S.A., 2005–2008. B1160. Collection Montres Breguet S.A.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco announce Breguet: Art and Innovation in Watchmaking, an exhibition that explores the history of the watch and clock maker, on view at the Legion of Honor beginning September 19, 2015. The company’s cutting-edge innovations transformed the nature of personal timekeeping, and the exhibition includes displays describing the technology that exemplify Abraham-Louis Breguet’s reputation as “the father of modern horology.”
"Subscription watch." Silver case with gold fillets, back decorated with engine-turned decoration and monogram JB in center, enamel dial, ruby cylinder escapement; diameter 2 3⁄8 in. (6 cm). Sold November 26, 1798, to Mr. Bergeront for 600 francs. B383. Collection Montres Breguet S.A.
From its beginnings in Paris in 1775, Breguet advanced great technical developments such as the self-winding watch, the first wristwatch, the repeating mechanism and most notably, the tourbillon—a revolutionary movement that neutralizes the negative effects of gravity on pocket watches. Breguet played a key role in the history of watchmaking, elevating the craft to its zenith by producing finely made watches that were a pleasure to handle and use.
"Small (médaillon) subscription watch." Goldcase with engine-turned sunbeam decoration on back, gold dial with engine-turned sunbeam decoration, ruby cylinder escapement; diameter 1 1⁄2 in. (3.8 cm). Sold November 12, 1806, to PrinceGrassalkowics for 1,320 francs. B2008. Collection Montres Breguet S.A.
“I am enormously proud of the association between our prestigious institutions: Breguet and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. With our longstanding tradition of preserving arts and culture around the world, we are thrilled to bring this history-making exhibition to the city of San Francisco,” said Marc A. Hayek, president and CEO of Breguet.
"Small (médaillon) touch (à tact) watch." Blue-enameled gold case, diamond-set pointer, touch studs of large round diamonds, silver dial, ruby cylinder escapement; diameter of case 1 9⁄16 in. (3.9 cm); diameter overall, with diamonds, 2 1⁄16 in. (5.2 cm). Sold February 18, 1800, to Mrs. Bonaparte, later Empress Josephine,for 3,000 francs. B611. Collection Montres Breguet S.A.
The company's reputation for ingenuity, as well as the reliability and portability of its watches, led to Breguet’s watches being considered objects of great prestige, worn by the powerful and elite in Europe, including Napoleon Bonaparte, Tsar Alexander I and Queen Victoria. The most famous Breguet timepiece linked to a European monarch is the world-renowned “Marie-Antoinette” pocket watch, No. 160. This extraordinary piece took 44 years to make and was the most complicated watch of its time.
"Automatic (perpétuelle) quarter-repeating watch with dumb (à toc) repeater." Sixty-hour power reserve, gold case with engine-turned decoration, silver engine-turned dial with Roman numerals, seconds subdial at numeral VI, window for phases of moon and power reserve indicator, Breguet hands of blued steel, twin-barrel movement, lever escapement, compensating balance wheel, platinum oscillating weight; diameter 2 1⁄8 in. (5.4 cm). Sold March 14, 1794, to Count Journiac-Saint-Méard for 3,600 francs. B5 Collection Montres Breguet S.A.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to experience the elegant designs and technical refinement of Breguet watches from the firm’s beginnings in the late 18th century up to the 1930s,” said Martin Chapman, curator in charge of European decorative arts and sculpture at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
"Half-quarter-repeating travel clock." With alarm; solid silver case, silver engine-turned dial, day and date indicator, platform lever escapement, compensating balance wheel; 4 3⁄8 × 3 3⁄8 × 2 1⁄2 in. (11.1 × 8.6 × 6.4 cm). Sold March 31, 1826, to Prince Serge Galitzin for 3,600 francs. B3358. Collection Montres Breguet S.A.
During the 19th century, Breguet expanded its business into countries beyond France, supplying elegant timepieces to customers in Europe, Russia and the United States. Today Breguet is a name known throughout the world.
"Marine chronometer." Twin barrels, mahogany outer case with brass hinges andhandles, brass clock case and Cardan suspension, silver-plated dial with subdial for hours/minutes above subdial for seconds, Earnshaw spring detent platform escapement (porte-échappement); 8 1⁄2 × 7 1⁄2 × 6 1⁄2 in. (21.6 × 19.1 × 16.5 cm). Sold January 14, 1822, to French Ministry of the Navy for 2,400 francs. B3196. Collection Montres Breguet S.A.
"Small gold ring-watch." Alarm function, winding and time-set crown on right, smaller alarm-set knob on left (alarm triggers small needle that pricks the wearer’s finger); gold dial with off-center chapter ring of Roman numerals, seconds subdial at numeral XII, Breguet hands of blued steel, ruby cylinder escapement; diameter 1 in. (2.5 cm). Sold October 18, 1836, to Count Paul Demidov for5,500 francs. B180. Collection Montres Breguet S.A.
"Precision clock." With patinated bronzes by Pierre-Philippe Thomire representing Genius and Experience on black marble base, enamel dial with Breguet numerals, twin-barrel movement, constant-force escapement visible above dial, and rotating disc for seconds; 24 3⁄4 × 13 3⁄8 × 8 1⁄4 in. (62.9 × 34 × 21 cm). Sold October 22, 1806, to Mr. de Pourtalès for 3,000 francs. B453. Collection Montres Breguet S.A.
"Gold pocket watch with tourbillon." Engraved gold case; gold dial with Roman numerals for hours; three subdials for running seconds (on left), for seconds on demand (on right), and for power reserve (below); gilt metal 24-lignes half-plate movement with inverted fusée; natural escapement fitted in two-armed carriage performing one turn every four minutes; diameter 2 1⁄2 in. (6.4 cm). Sold February 12, 1809, to Count Stanislas Potocki for 4,600 francs. B1176. Collection Montres Breguet S.A.