Abraham-Louis Breguet: pioneer and innovator

During his life, Abraham-Louis Breguet held the position of Clockmaker to the French Navy and became a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur. He was a member of the French Board of Longitude, a body set up to assess the quality of timekeepers made to find longitude, and was also a member of the French Royal Academy.

In his time, Breguet was a pioneer in the design and making of watches. He is one of the early makers of self-winding watches (perpetuelles) and did much work in perfecting the lever escapement for watches. He invented the first form of resilient shock-absorbing bearings for watch balances and a revolving escapement carriage known as a tourbillon. This was a device intended to remove errors in timekeeping caused by changes in position of the watch in use. By constantly changing the position of the escapement mechanism, the influence of positional errors was evened out.

Apart from a series of marine chronometers, Breguet's finest achievements in the area of clocks were a group of silver-cased hump-back carriage clocks, and clocks known as pendules sympathiques, designed to automatically wind and set the owner's watch to time at night.

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