One of the most famous watches in the world was stolen this day in 1983. Ironically, it was the theft of this watch that made it so famous. This, and the fact that in 1783, Abraham-Louis Breguet himself received the order to make the watch as a gift for for none other than France’s Marie-Antoinette. Alas, the Queen never got to admire her present, as it was not completed until 1827, 34 years after Marie-Antoinette’s death (by the guillotine) and 44 years after A.L. Breguet accepted the order. Now known as the Breguet “Marie-Antoinette” No. 160, the watch has had an inimitable aura ever since.
And then of course there was the miraculous recovery of the watch in 2007, prior to which Montres Breguet had already began working on a reproduction of the watch, fearing the original lost forever. The Breguet No 160 has had a fascinating life no doubt!!
The Nicolas G. Hayek (1928 – 2010) with the reproduction of the Marie-Antoinette, circa 2008
The fortunes, misfortunes and general adventures of the “Marie-Antoinette” are, thankfully, well chronicled. In fact, noted tech blogger John Biggs just last week announced the availability of his book about this very watch (after several years in the works, I believe — congrats John!). I have not yet read the book (still holding out for a review copy ;-)), but John is a talented guy and so I’ll make an educated guess that it is an enchanting read. It is available in e-book format for $9.99 and can be purchased here (click image below):
For those interested in an abbreviated version of the story, I recommend this article over at Wired.com (also by John Biggs).
And of course lots more over at Breguet.com>>>