Breguet - investing in its own watches

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21 May 2012

The Breguet Museum in Paris, and the brand's President and CEO Marc A. Hayek, have acquired two Breguet watches for a record price of nearly 7 million Swiss francs. They were purchased at an auction in Geneva on 14 May 2012. The purchases demonstrate Hayek's commitment to preserving the brand's legacy. The two watches were recently discovered, and were found to be previously unrecorded antique watches created by Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823). They were sold from the private collection of a European noble family.

The first watch is the Breguet & Fils, Paris, No. 2667 "Montre plate à deux mouvements, sur le principe des chronomètres," a rare gold precision watch with two movements. It was sold for € 3,601,370. This thin pocket watch with two movements was designed by A.-L. Breguet based on the resonance principle, in other words the idea that two oscillating bodies in close proximity will have an effect on each other and improve accuracy. The watch has two separate dials, the first numbered with Arabic numerals, the second with Roman numerals.

The second watch is reference n° 4111, a Grand Complication gold and silver equation of time watch with annual calendar, manual perpetual calendar, mean and true solar time, and half-quarter repeating. It was made in 1827, and at auction it sold for € 2,114,010. Built on the chronometer principle, it repeats hours, half-hours, quarter-hours, and half-quarters. It was designed to be extremely thin.

Breguet are wisely utilizing their heritage to forge a path into the future of fine watch design. Abraham-Louis Breguet created some unique visual and mechanical innovations that became a part of French watch design, such as Arabic, and sometimes Roman, numerals used on a white enamel dial, and the guilloche dial. He invdented the tourbillon regulator, but didn't make watches that displayed it visibly. He developed his trade in Paris, and acquired a penchant for deceptive simplicity and thinness, both features that became a trademark of French watchmaking.

Since those days, the company has gone through some momentous changes. The principal factor is that the brand is no longer perceived as French, but as Swiss-made, with a manufacturing base in Switzerland. Its marketing policy conducted under the leadership of Hayek includes the repurchase of some early Breguet timepieces.

The Breguet Museum in Paris currently comprises over 100 timepieces, which demonstrate A.-L. Breguet's creative approach. The exhibits include perpétuelles (automatic), souscription, tact, simple or repeating watches, as well as some of the oldest keyless watches, several travel clocks, marine chronometers and military watches. It was opened in September 2000, and it is now located on the first floor of the Breguet Boutique at 6 Place Vendôme, Paris.

The Breguet Museum is open on Tuesdays and can be visited by appointment.
Musée Breguet, 6, Place Vendôme, F-75001 Paris
Tel.: +33 1 4703 6500
Curator: Mr. Emmanuel Breguet