The Breguet Museum and its President and CEO, Marc A. Hayek, have acquired an exceptional dashboard chronograph that the maison originally created and sold to Bugatti in 1932. The exceptionally beautiful and well maintained Breguet No. 2023 was acquired from Artcurial during the closing auction of the Rétromobile Exhibition, an popular Paris event for classic car enthusiasts (the auction had a loads of great classic car memorabilia, by the way). Breguet paid 76,200 € for the piece, which looks to have been maintained in exceptional condition.
The piece belongs to a series of nine car timepieces that Breguet designed specifically for the brand. They were originally intended to be fitted to the center of the steering wheel of the Bugatti Royale, a monumental car more than 21 ft long (252 inches) that once held the record as the most expensive ever sold.
Its chrome-plated metal case measures 67 mm in diameter and houses complications apropos of its use in the automotive realm: a tachymeter scale on the periphery, and a cumulative minutes counter which is visible in an aperture at 6 o’clock.
The beautiful cream dial bears the words “Spécial pour Bugatti” and has the famous blued-steel Breguet hands to mark the hours and minutes. The mechanical movement has a power reserve of eight days, and is wound using a crown located at 6 o’clock.
This piece was sold in its original box, further enhancing its appeal as a museum-quality piece.
Breguet further notes:
the dashboard chronograph No. 2023 was produced during the interwar years and demonstrates the highly diverse range of activities carried out by the watch Manufacture. In addition to creating pieces for the navy and the aeronautic industry, Breguet also supplied automotive brands throughout its history. Brilliant car manufacturer Ettore Bugatti, who was a faithful friend of the Maison, placed his order at the beginning of the 1930s. He wanted to fit his luxurious “Royale” cars with a chronograph featuring a tachymeter function, intended to be placed in the middle of the steering wheel. The Manufacture responded to his request by offering a range of timepieces that incorporated all the expertise acquired by the Maison since its foundation in 1775.
What a great piece of horological history!!!