Breguet and the genius watchmaking inventions
Would automatic winding have even come into being without Abraham-Louis Breguet? Indeed, the young Swiss watchmaker, then based in Paris, is credited with the invention of the perpetual watch in 1780. His watch with an oscillating weight, equipped with a spring to react to the movement of the body and which winds two barrels, also constitutes the first great success of the Breguet watchmaking House. The first buyer of the "Perpétuelle" was the Duke of Orleans.
The genius of the young watchmaker brought him to fame, and to the court of Versailles, as it allowed him other inventions, perpetual calendar, tourbillon regulator, marine chronometer with double barrel ... We will not forget, of course, the Breguet hands known as eccentric knob or crescent moon, which are distinguished by their extreme finesse.
Between France and Switzerland (where Abraham-Louis Breguet had taken refuge during the Revolution), watchmaking still owes him the Breguet spring, a small spring that ensures the oscillations of the balance and regulates the march of time. Invented in 1795, it is still used today by the great Houses when they work on high-precision timepieces.
On commission, in this case from the Queen of Naples, Abraham-Louis Breguet would again design the first woman's wristwatch in 1812. Oblong in shape and with its guilloche silver dial, it accommodates several complications (repeater, moon phase...) and is worn on a hair and gold thread bracelet.
High precision, innovation, are values that the House of Breguet always nurtures, to which its founder will add style and aesthetics, including the introduction of off-center dials in watches, a novelty in which his son successor, Antoine-Louis Breguet, will himself achieve prowess.
A brand of the Swatch group, letters of nobility regained
On the Quai de l'horloge, in Paris, the House of Breguet will continue its journey without the founding family. As the heirs lost interest in watchmaking, the company was transferred, at least its watchmaking branch, to the workshop manager Edward Brown. The latter's family would hold the reins for a century, before Breguet joined the fold of another great House, this time a jeweler, Chaumet. The brand would then be taken over by Investcorp, in 1987, its production relocated to Switzerland, in the Joux Valley, before the Swatch Group bought Breguet in 1999 with one ambition: to give it back the prestige it deserves.
Thus, Breguet's recent collections are inspired by the House's exceptional heritage. In the haute horlogerie manufacture, the crafts of art are placed at the service of horological precision and international awards follow one another, from the Passion, Tradition 7067 or Héritage 8860 watches to the Reine de Naples Jour/Nuit Grande complication and the Classique Chronomètre 7727.
All pieces refer to Breguet's prestigious history, its inventions and their evolutions. The Breguet balance spring, now made of silicon insensitive to magnetic fields, thus equips the Tradition line, while the Marine line recalls that Abraham-Louis Breguet had been appointed watchmaker to the Royal Navy in 1815 and the Type XX, XXI, XXII line refers to a self-winding watch designed in the 1950s for the Air Force.