ALL ABOUT BREGUET WATCHES
In 1775, Abraham-Louis Breguet founded the watch brand Breguet. He was celebrated as one of the best watchmakers of his generation. Breguet is credited with many innovations in the watch industry. The brand introduced the guilloche feature on its watches’ dials. It also launched the world’s first Tourbillon. The Tourbillon technology revolutionized the world of watches.
In the late 18th century, the growth of science and technology was slow to say the least. Despite the limitations in the sphere of gadgets, the founder of Breguet challenged the norms. As a result, Breguet introduced the most complicated watch known to humans at that point. This watch was specifically made for the then queen of France Marie Antoinette. Unlike the other watches of that time, this watch had cutting edge features like a perpetual calendar, a minute repeater and equation of time.
Breguet continued to experiment in the field of watchmaking. His mastery over the subject earned him the moniker “Leonardo Da Vinci” of Horology. Inventions aside, Breguet established himself as a successful entrepreneur as well. His brand specializes in luxury watches for the sophisticated elite which are still in the market after more than two centuries.
After its inception in the year 1775, Breguet ventured into many adventures over a span of centuries. Needless to say these experiences have established Breguet among the top players in watchmaking to this day. Here is a brief history of the premium watch brand:
· Year 1783 –
The Queen of France Marie Antoinette challenged the watchmaking maestro Breguet with her wish for an advanced watch. The amount of detailing and features Breguet put into this watch was completely unimaginable at that point in time. Breguet succeeded in creating the complicated watch which the Queen of France approved of. This consolidated Breguet’s reputation among the elites of France.
· Year 1798 –
After Napoleon Bonaparte became a General in the French Army, he decided to shop at Breguet. After the Queen, Napoleon Bonaparte is another historically relevant character now associated with the brand. According to some accounts, Napoleon had purchased a carriage clock. This clock is assumed to be the predecessor of the modern day travel clock. In 1798, the carriage clock was already ahead of its time with features like an overcoil, a moon phase indicator and a quarter-repeating clock.
· Year 1800 –
To honor the French Empress Joséphine Bonaparte, Breguet invented the ‘Touch Watch’. This handy watch allowed the Empress to tell the time with the gentle touch of a finger.
· Year 1812 –
Breguet was given another challenge. Accomplishing this task would change the world for the better, but Breguet would not have known of it back then. You see, the idea of a wrist watch came from the Queen of Naples. She suggested Breguet make a watch that can be worn around the wrist. To meet this challenge, however, Breguet took two years, with the assistance of seventeen workers. Once he finished the invention, the Queen of Naples was so impressed that she bought 34 clocks from him.
When you see the modern clock or wrist watch, it is hard to imagine the various versions that came before it. These past clocks or watches inspired the invention of the newer generation. Breguet too experimented on its journey to reach where it is today. Breguet type XX is a good example for this.
Some features which were typical to a Breguet watch included – moon phase indicators, flyback chronograph functions and perpetual calendars. But with many new inventions, Breguet actually contributed to the field of horology by pioneering new technologies. Some of these great inventions are listed below –
· The Self-Winding Watch
Invented in 1780, the self-winding watch became Breguet’s major breakthrough. Using the concept of a pendulum, Breguet created a pocket watch which used the same pendulum mechanics to power itself. Thanks to this invention people of royal heritage and other important positions did not have to manually wind the time often. The tiny weight fitted inside the watch kept it rolling and winding on its own.
· Minute Repeater Gong
This may be a common feature now, but centuries ago Breguet revolutionized the way minute repeaters work. Before 1783, minute repeaters did exist. The only difference was that the older minute repeaters put actual bells inside the watch. As you can imagine, these minute repeaters were very heavy and inconvenient to carry around. Breguet invented a way around this. He carefully attached a coil to the gong inside the watch. The sound that came out of Breguet’s watch was lighter and sweeter. Till this date, manufacturers use this technology in wrist watches.
· The Para-Chute
Breguet came up with the para-chute watches in 1790. Just like the name suggests, para-chute watches were meant to withstand the trauma of a fall. It is not really a matter of being clumsy. Accidents can happen anywhere and anytime. By inventing this shockproof watch, Breguet created a time-telling machine which now also had value for money. To achieve this feat Breguet attached the delicate parts of the watch towards the end of the spring.
· The Tourbillon
Breguet was familiar with the theory and concept of gravity. He began to wonder if gravity had any influence on his watch’s ability to tell the time accurately. The reason it intrigued him so much was due to the wide use of pocket watches. Since pocket watches were placed in the pocket, they remained stationary in one position. This often led to the hands hanging in one direction. Breguet tackled this problem with the invention of the Tourbillon.
· The Wristwatches
Inspired by the desire of the Queen of Naples, Breguet invented the wrist watch. The first wrist watch was oval in shape. The queen used a bracelet to tie the watch around her wrist.
Owning a classic Breguet watch like the Breguet Marine or the Breguet Classique is a status symbol. Some vintage historical Breguet watches have been auctioned for exorbitant amounts. You can choose to purchase newer entries. When you wrap a Breguet around your wrist, be proud of wearing a true masterpiece of horology.