While most of the attention in the auction market last week went to the $24 million Patek “Graves Supercomplication”, there were a couple of neat Breguet pocket watches that sold last week at the Christie’s “Important Watches” auction in Geneva last Monday (November 10th, 2014). Both pieces were acquired by Marc A. Hayek (President and CEO of Breguet) on behalf of the house of Breguet. Most notable among the two historic gold pocket watches is this rare quarter repeating watch equipped with the first free escapement with natural lift ever made by Breguet. The Breguet N° 1135 (circa 1806) sold for a tidy sum of 605,000 Swiss Frances, or about $630,000, including premiums. This piece, in the present owner’s collection since 1983, fetched more than 2x its pre-auction estimate. As a fan of Montres Breguet (in fact the name of this blog was directly inspired by A.L. Breguet’s perpétuelles of the late 1700s), the No. 1135 strikes me (sorry for the pun) as a particularly noteworthy piece and a wonderful example of the talent of A.L. Breguet.
This past Friday, October 31st, 2014, at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, GPHG (Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix), Breguet won the most prestigious prize of “Aiguille d’Or” (“Golden Hand”) for its Classique Chronométrie. The GPHG is an annual awards ceremony held in Geneva, essentially a watch industry event for watch industry folks, though its popularity has broadened somewhat in recent years. In any case, it is one the watch industry’s prime opportunities to earn bragging rights amongst peers, and this year it was Breguet who came away with top honors. As a Breguet fan, I was happy to see the Classique Chronométrie 7727, a 10hz high frequency watch with magnetic pivot (among other fine attributes) get the recognition it deserved. See for yourself:
Abraham-Louis Breguet sought constantly to improve the accuracy and reliability of his watches through numerous inventions, ranging from the perpétuelle selfwinding watch (yes, the name of this blog was inspired directly by A.L. Breguet’s work!) to the tourbillon.
Today’s The Classique Chronométrie 7727 is the culmination of several years of research into high frequency (it operates at 10Hz), magnetism (the magnetic pivot was patented by Manufacture Breguet in 2010), and new materials (silicon). At the same time, the watch honors more than two centuries of Breguet’s stylistic tradition with the fluted caseband, welded lugs, engine turned dial, “Breguet hands”, secret signature and unique number, all of which are the identifying features that express the essence of a Breguet timepiece.
Hands-on with Breguet’s Thinnest Ever Tourbillon…
On June 26, 1801, Abraham-Louis Breguet patented the Tourbillon, changing watchmaking forever. As a testament to the complexity of his invention, Breguet sold only 35 timepieces in his lifetime. Just recently, Breguet’s third ever tourbillon, the No. 1176, sold for almost $1 million (purchased by Breguet, for its archives). Over two centuries later, the Breguet watch brand carries on A.L. Breguet’s legacy by producing 32 different tourbillon models, more than any other watch brand.
To mark today’s anniversary of the heralded tourbillon, I thought we should take a look at one of Breguet’s more recent tourbillon models, the 5377. The 5377 is in fact Breguet’s thinnest tourbillon watch ever produced, a mere 7mm thin. The 5377BR in gold case was introduced in 2013; a platinum reference, the 5377PT, debuted this year.
What was until now essentially an unknown dive watch made by Breguet in the 1960s, a rare Breguet Ref 1646, has been discovered. The authenticity of the watch initially unknown, an inquiry directly to Montres Breguet revelaed the No. 1646 was indeed authentic, and furthermore, was just one of 60 pieces made. What a find! In today’s highly canvassed vintage watch market, we don’t often see stories like this. The remarkable story of this Breguet No. 1646 dive watch, with lots of pictures, can be read at Passion Horloger>>>