Diameter: 50.800 mm
M&ME CAI 3132
Room 38-39: Clocks and Watches
Repeat and calendar watch by Abraham Louis Breguet, no. 65
Paris, France, AD 1787
Abraham Louis Breguet was the most celebrated of all French clock and watch makers. A man of great inventive genius and immense business acumen who, although born in Switzerland, set up business in Paris. He became clockmaker to Louis XVI (reigned 1774-92) and later, following the French Revolution (1789-1792), supplied many magnificent pieces to the Emperor Napoleon and the royal courts of Europe.
This watch perhaps embodies the essential qualities of the work of this most eminent of makers. It is one of a series of watches with Breguet’s own automatic winding system. This is known generally as the 'perpetuelle': an oscillating silver-filled platinum weight keeps the watch mainspring wound up by the movement of the wearer keeping the weight in motion.
The watch also has a pendant-operated quarter-repeat mechanism, which sounds the hours and quarters on two wire gongs when the pendant is depressed. The silver engine-turned dial, as well as showing the hours minutes and seconds, has a smaller sector dial to indicate the watch's state of wind. The gold case is decorated with fine engine-turning.
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)