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Breguet Watches: Accuracy of Kings

Thursday, 17 December 2009

breguet watchesThe history of horology in XVIII century would not be full without the greatest genius of watch making that ever lived, Abraham Louis Breguet. He was awarded this title not thanks to the exterior details of his watches but for the amazing accuracy.

Among his works, the well-known is the Breguet spiral, found until today in every quality watch and wristwatch, and the tourbillon, the whirlwind - an ingenious device that Breguet invented to reimburse for gravity influences on the balance spring in pocket watches. Later on, he invented new striking mechanism for repeaters, a new escapement, the so-called echappement naturel, similar to the chronometer escapement in 1790.

Watches invented by Abraham Louis Breguet as if existed beyond the basic mechanics laws and they are still demanded. Breguet is not the brand name now; this is the symbol of the quality for all watches. When people want to accentuate how accurate their watches are, they mention Breguet.

Breguet Company was established in 1775 when the young master Бреге Breguet (he was only 28) opened his firs watch shop in Paris.  Five years later, in 1780, Abraham Louis Breguet launched his first watches with automated winding, inertial load and two wind-up barrels, the  surprising achievement in the watch making industry.

Three year later, in 1783, Abraham Louis Breguet invented the construction of the impulse gong and the first pare-chuté shock protection system invented in 1790.

When observing watches, one can think that all services provided by watches are all invented by great Abraham Louis Breguet, in particular free second hand, mechanism of eternal calendar that is able to consider the length of February in the leap year, «a-tact» watches that allow to blindly determine the time (without taking them out of pocket), the winder, cylinder escapement with a ruby cylinder, automatic winding mechanism, implemented in his around forty Perpetuelles, and many other this still appreciated in our times, including guilloche dial plate, isochronous balance spiral with the winder and many others.

Among the charming inventions by Abraham Louis Breguet is pocket «Sympatique» watches with automated correction of time by the «parental» chronometer in 1795. The watches with 60-hour run are worth to mention specially, they are the great achievement of that time, yet presently there are few mechanic watches with similar operating run. Many modern watches replicated some design elements of Breguet's inventions, like hands of «Breguet apple», the dial plate with ticks or dots to symbolize minutes, seconds, etc.

And tourbillon was the finalizing element in creation if ideal Breguet watches and the patent for invention of this mechanism was received in 1801.

Breguet manufactured watches fall into the class of luxury items. Moreover, it is the elite luxury. Breguet watches were appreciated by the Queen Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI, Napoleon Bonaparte, Prince of Wales, King Aleksandr I, the Queen Aleksandra Fedorovna, Sir Winston Churchill, Queen Victoria; marshal Nay, Selim III, the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord and many other historical celebrities. By the way, Breguet watches are respected and worn by Vladimir Putin (Breguet Marine), Svetlana Medvedeva (Breguet Reine de Naples - jewel watches for women encrusted with diamonds in the golden case) and the Patriarch Kirill (Breguet Classique).

Breguet watches were mentioned in works by the great writes like Balzac, Stendhal, Jul Verne, Dumas, Hugo and Prosper Merimee. And Evgeniy Onegin by Pushkin clearly depicts the iconic significance of Breguet of that time.  

When the Breguet Representation appeared in Petersburg in 1808 («Russian Breguet House»), the fashion to have these watches was followed by all noble families like Trubetskoy and the Yusupovs, the Golitsyns and the Gagarins, and all of them find the Breguet watches as ‘must have' after Napoleon. That was in fashion since the watches were fabulous and equipped with wonderful unique technical inventions that differed in the stunning accuracy of the run, and they were assigned to become legendary and iconic watches.

Today Breguet Company belongs to the Swatch Group, though the traditions of quality of one of the oldest Watch Houses in the world, established by the famous watchmaker Abraham Louis Breguet, are still kept and observed. Breguet has always launched various models in limited batches, keeping them exclusive as real luxury goods. Now Breguet launches three lines of watches - Classique, Marine and Type XX Aeronavale.

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Joseph  - Interesting History   |2010-02-27 22:31:38
I enjoyed your article on the history of Breguet watches and those who have worn them. The article is well written and creates an intrigue for those in obtaining a Breguet Watch.
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