Marine chronometer no. 2741 by Breguet et Fils

Paris, 1813

Presented to Monseigneur Belmas, Bishop of Cambrai

Towards the end of the eighteenth century improvements in the timekeepers used for finding longitude at sea were, to a large extent, achieved by English chronometer makers, particularly John Arnold and Thomas Earnshaw. Nevertheless, the great French clockmakers were also striving for the same goal and makers such as Ferdinand Berthoud, Pierre Le Roy and Henri Motel all played their part. One of the most celebrated of French clock and watch makers was Abraham-Louis Breguet and although his workshops were primarily concerned with the making of watches, he also made a number of marine chronometers.

This example was completed in 1813 and used as an experimental piece by Breguet himself until 1822. It was presented to his friend Monseigneur Belmas, Bishop of Cambrai to whom it was inscribed:

'Premiere Piece ou la Comunication du Rouage au Régulateur S'Opère Sans Frotement. Executée en 1813 par Breguet No 2741 Pour Mr Belmas ami de l'auteur.'

The machine itself has a lever escapement and as well as being a precision timekeeper, it also has an independent timer for minutes and seconds. The silver dial shows the hours and minutes on the left-hand chapter ring with seconds in the top centre. In addition, there are dials on the right for independent minute and seconds timing and two sectors at the bottom which show the state of wind of the two mainsprings.

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More information


E. Breguet, Breguet: watchmakers since 177 (Paris, Alain de Gourcuff, 1997)

G. Daniels, The art of Breguet (London, Sotheby, Parke, Burnett, 1975)

A.G. Randall (revised by R. Good), Catalogue of watches in the -1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)


Width: 17.400 cm (box)
Depth: 17.400 cm (box)
Height: 12.550 cm (box)

Museum number

M&ME CAI 2066



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